Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is smart growth?
A. “Smart Growth” is a term that is difficult to define but easy to see. In practice, it creates communities in which people have increased choice and a higher quality of life. In general, smart growth invests time, attention, and resources in restoring community and vitality to downtowns and older suburbs. New smart growth is more town-centered, pedestrian-friendly, and cost-effective. It has a greater mix of housing, commercial and retail uses. It also preserves open space, clean water, clean air and wide open vistas. Successful communities tend to have one thing in common — a vision of where they want to go and of what things they value in their community — and their plans for development reflect these values.

Q. How is Citizens funded?
A. We receive approximately half of our funding from local individuals and small local foundations. Citizens for a Better Flathead is a federally recognized not-for-profit corporation so donations to our organization are tax deductible.
Our remaining funding is sourced through our earned income programs and events: The WasteNot Project, Go Local Flathead Valley, and the Great Place Raffle.

Q. Why should I join Citizens For A Better Flathead?
A. Because you want to join with others who care about the valley as much as you do and realize that the choices we make today will shape our children’s tomorrows. When decisions are made, we ask:
• Is the process fair and open?
• Are the decision-makers considering innovative smart growth solutions to the problems we face?
• Is the growth paying its way?

When you donate to support the work of CBF, you can receive up-to-date information and action alerts about the issues that are taking place in your community. Your support allows us to continue our ongoing projects and programs, including:

• Go Local Flathead: Each fall and spring we need volunteers to help us publish and promote the Go Local Flathead Guide that exclusively promotes local businesses and the benefits of keeping our dollars in the local economy.
• WasteNot Project: We taught 3,726 Flathead County students about the latest trends in reuse, recycling, and composting in 2017. We provide recycling and waste reduction information for the larger community with our WasteNot website and printed brochures. We are helping reduce waste by providing recycling bins and organizing tips for community events large and small. Our bins are used for large annual events like the NW Montana Fair and the Dragon Boat Races, as well as smaller scale events like weddings and local non-profit fundraisers.
• Fix It Local: Rather than tossing broken stuff, you can repair it. We have a new guide that lists over 50 local repair shops and DIY resources.
• Celebrate Earth Day: We organize an annual family-friendly, fun-filled community event with around 50 hands-on activity booths hosted by local environmental non-profits, green businesses, and outdoor groups, to celebrate all things green in the Flathead. 
• Promote Complete Streets: Complete streets provide for pedestrians and bikes as well as cars. Help us advocate for walkable and bikeable cities and towns, recreational trails and parks, and public access to public lands.
• Keep Business Downtown and Protect Local Agriculture: Speak up with us for planning that limits highway sprawl by directing growth towards town centers and provides incentives to direct growth away from productive farmlands.
• Re-Power the Flathead: Flathead Electric built the first landfill Gas-to-Energy facility in Montana in 2009. They have pioneered both the first Community Solar Project and Electric Car Charging Station in the state. Join us in advocacy for energy conservation and expanded use of alternative energy sources.

Q. Does CBF respect the privacy of its supporters?
A. Absolutely. We do not share our mailing list with other organizations without your permission. We do not publish, sell, or rent our donor list and use it for no other purpose than to keep in touch with you about the issues you care about.

Q. What is CBF focusing on now in the area of land use policy?
A. For the most up-to-date list of our recent policy work, click here.
Our top priority is to focus on the broken county planning process and the need for a strong and fair Flathead County Growth Policy. We will be providing increased public outreach on this issue in 2018. We are serving as an advisor and fiscal sponsor of Water for Flathead’s Future, a grassroots group advocating for sustainable use of the Flathead’s water resources for all users. We work on an ongoing basis on issues to promote smart growth planning in our cities and towns and frequently attend and provide comments at city council meetings. We also work to assist neighborhoods who are concerned about development issues in their area.

Q. Are you still working on recycling and composting?
A. Yes! Our WasteNot Project has been actively working to encourage recycling and composting, as well as the disposal of hazardous wastes since 1992. We work in collaboration with the county Solid Waste District and the Service Learning program at Flathead Valley Community College to promote waste reduction. On the WasteNot webpage, you can find guides to How to Recycle in the Flathead, a Fix It Local guide, and tips for how to properly dispose of pharmaceutical waste in the Flathead to better protect water quality and prevent drug abuse. You can also find information on our recycling bin loan program for community events.


Please, support the work of Citizens For A Better Flathead and
join us in working together for smart growth solutions.