For the past year, sporadic posts in the miscellany section of this newspaper have debated what makes a real local.

With the influx of new people into the valley during the pandemic, the habits locals share are worth reviewing. No list is comprehensive, but here are our two cents.

Locals value the outdoors and leave only footprints behind them.

Locals don’t ride single-track downhill at blazing speed toward blind corners. They know that the hiker they crash into and injure might be their neighbor—or their neighbor’s dog.

Locals don’t rip vegetation off stream banks that front their homes. They know that riparian areas keep the Big Wood River and its creeks from washing the furniture from their living rooms during flood season. They know that healthy streams support healthy fish.

Locals don’t put the garbage out the night before the garbage truck comes. They know that it attracts bears and dogs. They know that nuisance bears become dead bears. They like bears.

Locals don’t walk into a fishing hole when someone else is already in it.

Locals tip well. They’ve all had those jobs at one time or another.

Locals recycle everything possible.

Locals don’t push their luck with moose. They know the animals can run 35 mph and don’t like dogs.

Locals watch for big game when driving state Highway 75. They know that collisions are costly and gruesome.

Locals don’t change lanes with just inches to spare in front of other vehicles.

Locals know the area’s history.

Locals show up. They volunteer. They help neighbors. They do not embrace the motto of entitlement, “All for me and you for me.” Just the opposite.

Locals don’t hurry. They think having a 15-minute conversation at the grocery store is a fine and friendly thing to do.

Locals know how tough it is to make a living here. So, they try to support local businesses by shopping and dining there.

Locals have flashlights stashed around the house. They know that winter storms, car accidents, wildfires or the occasional squirrel can knock out electrical power.

Locals know their limits. They know how high they can climb and how far they can hike, ski or boat safely.

Locals know that calling out Search and Rescue is for real emergencies.

Locals don’t take high-backed chairs to outdoor concerts.

Locals are friendly. They make eye contact and say hello to others on trails. They do the Idaho steering-wheel wave on backcountry roads

Locals love mountain life. They show it.


“Our View” represents the opinion of the newspaper editorial board, which is made up of members of its board of directors. Remarks may be directed to editorialboard@mtexpress.com.

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