Posts tagged with "montana"

Illustration for 360 Magazine by Rita Azar

Montana’s Anti-Transgender Bills’ Negative Impact

On Thursday, Leader Kim Abbott, the ACLU of Montana, the Free and Fair Coalition, local Montanans, and the Human Rights Campaign detailed their opposition to two anti-transgender bills (HB 112, a bill that would ban the participation of transgender women in women’s sports, and HB 113 which would restrict transgender access to medical care) being rushed through the legislative process in Montana.

HB 112 passed the House Judiciary Committee and HB 113 is expected to see the same result, with both likely to be voted on by the full House within the week after preliminary hearings were held on the federal holiday of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Opponents of the bills on today’s press call discussed the discriminatory nature of both bills and the adverse personal, social, economic, legal, and medical impacts the passage of these bills have had in other states. Those opposed include local legislative voices and those that would be personally impacted by the legislation in question.

“Montana is the first state this year to be giving serious consideration to anti-transgender legislation and unfortunately we don’t expect it will be the last,” said Cathryn Oakley, Human Rights Campaign State Legislative Director. “Last year was historic for anti-transgender bills and we expect this year will be as well. These bills went through a rushed legislative process. Why the rush? These are made up issues. As a federal court has already recognized, bills like these are unconstitutional and motivated by anti-transgender animus. This — not COVID or economic relief legislation — is their priority and their motivations are 100% political.”

“This bill would harm pediatricians and other medical professionals by levying steep fines,” said Dr. Lauren Wilson, from the Montana Chapter of the American Association of Pediatrics. “House Bill 113 represents one of the most extreme political attacks on transgender kids in history. Transgender kids are kids. They don’t deserve a ban against participation in sports. We know that transgender kids who can  live with gender they identify with have a lower rate of suicide. These bills undermine the work and rules that schools already have. It would also violate federal law and threaten federal funding. Transgender kids have the best chance to thrive if they can get the care they need and are allowed to be an active part of their community.”

“I am the proud daughter of two kids. My son is transgender. Being transgender is not a choice, and being transgender is not negotiable,” said Jaime Gabrielli, the parent of a transgender child in Montana. “Impulsivity is not part of the equation of transgender affirming health care. These are necessary, planned, informed, thoughtful processes that do not happen quickly. It’s a choice that often comes as one of two remaining options: end your life or transition. When suicide is an option, you do everything you can as a parent to help. I see him beginning to thrive because he’s finally able to be who he is. Making necessary medical care that transgender kids rely on illegal does not make them more safe. My plea to lawmakers is to protect trans youth in Montana by voting ‘no’ to HB 112 and HB 113.”

“I am among the more than 160 businesses in Montana that stand against these bills,” said Chelsie Rice, Owner of the Montana Book Company. “It’s projected that the loss from the North Carolina bathroom bills was upwards of $3 billion. Montana businesses do not support these bills. We face a loss of revenue that we can’t afford. More than that, we want to be businesses that are welcome to all in our state.”

Public policy polling by the Human Rights Campaign in partnership with the Hart Research Group across swing states in the 2020 election showed that support for transgender access to medical care had more than 90% support, including significant support among conservative voters. Idaho, which was the first and so far only state to pass  legislation banning transgender women from participation in sports, has been enjoined from implementing that law pending the final determination of the case as a federal district court found the transgender athlete challenging the law has a significant likelihood of winning her case.

Analyses conducted in the aftermath of previous divisive anti-transgender bills like the bathroom bills introduced in Texas and South Carolina show that there would be devastating economic fallout. The Associated Press projected that the North Carolina bathroom bill would have lost the state $3.76 billion over 10 years. During a fight over an anti-transgender bathroom bill in 2017, the Texas Association of Business estimated $8.5 billion in economic losses, risking 185,000 jobs in the process due to National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and professional sporting event cancellations, a ban on taxpayer funded travel to those states, cancellation of movie productions, and businesses moving projects out of state. Together, these real-life previous implications of attacking transgender people put Montana’s economy and reputation at risk.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organizations working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

“Nature Vacations” Surge During Pandemic

Public lands saw a record number of visits in 2020 and interest in “nature vacations” surged.

TripAdvisor says more than 50% of its consumers are more likely to take a nature trip than they were before the pandemic. Booking.com‘s data shows that 56% of its travelers are searching for “off-the-beaten-track escapes”. Pitchup.com, a lodges, cabins, and campsites booking engine, reports that reservations for 2021 are more than six times higher than last year. RVshare says 73% of millennials indicated they are likely to rent an RV in 2021.

In the race to lure back travelers, vacations in nature are leading the pack. We have assembled a list of nature-focused vacations, ranging from touring Canyonlands National Park by mountain bike to wrangling cattle on a remote ranch in Wyoming.

1. Ride the Rockies and More

With maps and other resources from Adventure Cycling Association, plan a ride on the remote Great Divide Mountain Bike Route crisscrossing the crest of the Rocky Mountains through the U.S. and Canada. Or visit Yellowstone National Park, Devils Tower National Monument, the Black Hills, Mount Rushmore National Memorial and Badlands National Park on the Parks, Peaks, and Prairies route between Montana and Minneapolis. https://www.adventurecycling.org/

2. Channel Your Inner Cowboy

Red Reflet Ranch is a 28,000-acre luxury resort and working ranch on the west slope of the Bighorn Mountains, just three hours from Yellowstone National Park. Guests stay in private chalets and enjoy family-friendly activities like horseback riding, cattle wrangling, ATVing, ziplining, swimming, hiking, fishing, shooting and feasting on farm-to-table cuisine. http://redrefletranch.com/

3. Explore National Parks by RV

Blacksford is a new recreational vehicle rental business with an all-inclusive pricing model that includes unlimited miles, no generator fees, bedding, bath, and kitchen supplies, free Wi-Fi, a free annual national parks pass, and 24-hour roadside assistance. Blacksford also curates road trip experiences by connecting travelers with vetted campsites, guides, and other hand-picked attractions. https://www.blacksford.com

4. Teton Tiny House Retreat 

Just minutes from Jackson Hole, WY, Fireside Resort offers 25 pint-size, luxuriously outfitted tiny house rental units designed by Wheelhaus. Each has its own outdoor fire pit and deck. And the resort is located just a stone’s throw from Grand Teton National Park. https://www.firesidejacksonhole.com

5. Camp & MTB Canyonlands

Utah’s 100-mile White Rim Trail loops in and out of a multi-colored array of spires, arches, buttes, and mesas carved by the Green and Colorado Rivers. On this tour with Escape Adventures, guests ride the famous off-road route, while detouring to admire secret passages, hidden slot canyons, natural rock arches, and ancient Puebloan ruins. https://escapeadventures.com/tour/utah-white-rim-mountain-bike-tour/ 

6. Hike, Bike or Ski Big Sky

Find active adventures on the trails around Big Sky, Montana, when staying at The Wilson Hotel. On the edge of town, hike to the glacial cirque surrounding Beehive Basin or through the forest to Ousel Falls, or trek to natural wonders and wildlife in nearby Yellowstone National Park. Mountain biking abounds as well, with over 20 miles of lift-served riding. And in winter, 5,850 acres of ski terrain spreads out from the summit of 11,166-foot Lone Peak. https://thewilsonhotel.com/

Skye Drynan illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 MAGAZINE cover.

Skye Drynan

Skye Drynan has everything anyone could ever dream of. Surrounded by glitz and glamour and sparkle to whatever occupation she holds, there is more than meets the eye. Behind the physical observation, there is a powerful tour de force that the world will soon recognize as a household name, simply, Skye. From climbing the echelons of Wall Street, to researching mysteries in scientific labs, philanthropic pursuits, struggling with the pen-to-paper tasks of an author and budding song writer, to sharing her life in front of a live camera, and now designing and creating a fashion empire, Skye Drynan tells us exactly why “The Beast in You is the Best in You.”

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Kaelen Felix Illustrates a Drug Article for 360 MAGAZINE

Oregon Decriminalizes Drugs

By Justin Lyons

This year’s election will go down as a legendary one in the history of the United States of America, and for some of the bigger fights, the country still doesn’t have an answer.

Where answers do exist seem to be in propositions and measures, and the big winners are those hoping for the decriminalization of drugs. Mississippi, New Jersey, South Dakota, Montana and Arizona all approved the legalization of recreational marijuana.

The biggest victory for those in favor of drug decriminalization probably came in Oregon, where the penalty for small amounts of heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and other drugs was lessened.

According to Ballotpedia, Oregon’s Measure 110 would reclassify the possession of controlled substances such as those listed above from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class E violation, which would result in a $100 fine or the necessity of a “completed health assessment.”

The Oregon Criminal Justice Commission estimated that convictions for possession would decrease by 90.7%.

Addiction recovery centers conduct the health assessments, which will include a screening from a certified alcohol and drug counselor and must be completed within 45 days of the Class E violation.

The funds for the assessments and the recovery programs will come from the Oregon Marijuana Account and money the state of Oregon saves from reductions in arrests, incarceration and official supervision. The recovery centers will provide treatment 24 hours per day along with health assessments, intervention plans, case management services and peer support and outreach.

The possession quantity of the now decriminalized drugs to be classified as a Class E violation are as follows: one gram of heroin or less, two grams of cocaine or less, two grams of methamphetamine or less, one gram or five pills of MDMA or less, 40 or fewer user units of LSD, less than 12 grams of psilocybin, fewer than 40 user units of methadone and fewer than 40 pills, tables or capsules of oxycodone.

A person carrying more than the specified amounts may face a misdemeanor with less than a year imprisonment, a $6,250 fine or both.

According to Yes on Measure 110, more than 125 Oregon-based organizations endorsed the measure, including Oregon Chapter of the American College of Physicians, Oregon Nurses Association, Oregon School Psychologists’ Association and Law Enforcement Action Partnership.

Ballotpedia also said the Democratic Party of Oregon, Multnomah Democrats and Working Families Party of Oregon support the bill, right alongside 11-time-GRAMMY-Award-Winning artist John Legend.

The measure is to be implemented no later than Feb. 1 of 2021.

Austin Adventures: Family Appreciation Month

Through hard work and dedication to the details, Austin Adventures has grown to be the #1 Family Adventure company in the country. For over 35 years they have been taking families to the national parks of the West as well as special places around the globe. As a two-generation, owned and operated active travel company, family travel is in their DNA.

For the second year in a row, Austin Adventures is dedicating the entire month of March to “Family Appreciation,” with special incentives and giveaways, plus an interactive child & parent “Take a National Park Vacation” webinar that all ages will want to attend.

“Between work, school, athletic and social schedules, planning and scheduling a family vacation has never been more challenging, often to the point of missing the opportunity all together to create lasting bonds and memories within the family,” explains Dan Austin, company president and founder. “Austin Adventures is fully committed to helping anyway we can. Our goal is to take the stress out of vacation planning and then deliver an experience second-to-none.”

On Tuesday, Mar 12, 2019 at 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM EDT Austin Adventures invites kids and parents to a live webinar focused on helping families (especially the kids) with their vacation planning. Anyone considering a small group vacation tour now or in the future is encouraged to attend. For information and to register click here.

The seminar will be hosted by Kasey Austin, Outside Magazine 2014 Family Guide of the Year. Making a cameo appearance will be Dan Austin, company visionary and travel industry legend. Together, The Austin Family has set the bar for family adventure travel for decades, so much so, they are often referred to as “the First Family of Adventure Travel.”

During this informal and informative webinar focused on the younger generation, Kasey will offer tips and insights on planning and visiting America’s National Parks along with other popular family destinations.

As an incentive to register and attend, every family that participates will receive a coupon worth $250 off their next Austin Adventures family vacation. Plus, all participating kids (age 6-12) whose parents end up booking a 2019 family national park adventure will receive a logo-embossed backpack (on Day 1 of the trip) packed full of swag (logo water bottle, trip journal, field guide, hacky sack, stickers and more).

“I had so much fun sharing my passion for our National Parks last year, I couldn’t wait to do it all again this year. Sharing the parks with the next generation of adventurer really is my passion. I am looking forward to sharing what we know and have learned from our 35+ years of taking families deep into our national parks,” said Kasey Austin.

“Dan and I will draw from our own experiences and help families with real time information that can assist them in making the most of a park vacation, whether with us or on their own. There will be a follow-up email survey as well as ample time for questions and answers.”

The webinar will help Austin Adventures kick-off their second annual “Family Appreciation” Month. Dedicated to celebrating and encouraging family vacations worldwide, this observance comes on the heels of the company’s 2nd wildly successful “Alumni Appreciation” month held in December, 2018. Throughout the month there will be dedicated e-newsletters and blogs on family travel, special incentives, travel agent promotions and for extended families, an offer of a free trip for one guest in groups of ten or more booked.

To assist in vacation planning, Austin Adventures also offers a free Insider’s Guide to Planning the Perfect Family Adventure. See: http://www.austinadventures.com/free-family-travel-guide/.

Austin Adventures has led the field when it comes to family adventures (twice being acknowledged by Travel + Leisure Magazine as the #1 Tour and Family Tour Operator in the World). For 2019, there are over 40 family adventures planned across the globe. Here is a sampling of some of the more popular National Park itineraries on the current Austin Adventures roster. All adult rates are per person, double occupancy.

Grand Canyon National Park: 6-days/5-nights from $2,998; children from $2,398.

Alaska- Kenai Fjords National Park: 6 days/5 nights from $3,698; children from $3,328.

Bryce & Zion National Parks: 6 days/5 nights from $2,798; children from $2,518.

Yellowstone National Park:  6 days/5 nights from $2,898; children from $2,318.

Grand Teton National Park: 6 days/5 nights from $3,298; children from $2,968.

Yosemite National Park: 6 days/5 nights from $3,698; children from $2,958.

Glacier National Park: 6 days/5 nights from $3,298; children from $2,638.

South Dakota – Black Hills (Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Monuments / Wind Cave NP): 6 days/5 nights from $2,898; children from $2,318.

Banff to Jasper National Parks 6 days/5 nights from $3,098; children from $2,478.

About Austin Adventures
Based in Billings, Montana, Austin Adventures has spent over 35 years building an international reputation as a top provider of luxury, small group, multi-sport tours for adults and families to the world’s most captivating destinations. They have been acknowledged twice by Travel + Leisure Magazine with the prestigious World’s Best Awards along with other national media accolades and distinctions. Austin Adventures has perfected the art of creating itineraries featuring exceptional regional dining, distinctive accommodations, incredible guides and exhilarating activities, all while keeping all-inclusive rates and services the norm. In addition to scheduled group departures on all seven continents, Austin Adventures has developed a reputation as the leader in customized trip planning and execution, all backed by the industry’s best money-back satisfaction guarantee.

Infant Loss Retreat

The Ramsey Keller Memorial, a non-profit organization that pays for infant funerals in Montana, is launching its first-ever national retreat for moms who are living without a child. “The Retreat” is designed to connect moms in person and is slated for the weekend of October 26, 27 and 28 at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort near Butte, Montana. The registration fee is $325/person and moms, nationwide, who have experienced the loss of a child are invited to attend. Topics are primarily focused on infant loss (children 1 year of age or younger and stillborn babies). Nationally known keynote speaker and founder of Still Standing Magazine Franchesca Cox is donating her time in an effort to offer “The Retreat” at the lowest cost available. Registration includes all scheduled events, the resort room, all meals Saturday and Sunday and additional goodies for attendees.

“Franchesca Cox is known for helping moms grieve and fight for the privilege to love life again,” says Ramsey Keller Memorial Founder Kori Keller. “She has experienced the loss of her firstborn daughter and while she has spearheaded many local and worldwide projects in her daughter’s name, she found the most healing came from living life to the fullest. The Retreat is about celebrating our babies lives and finding joy in life, even through the grief. I’m grateful and humbled that Franchesca is coming to Montana to share her message with moms like myself who have lost a child.”

Franchesca Cox is the author of Facets of Grief: a creative workbook for grieving mothers, and Celebrating Pregnancy Again. She is scheduled to speak twice during the weekend retreat. Her topics are “The Space Between Love and Loss” and “Broken and Brave.” Cox is also opening up discussion on baby loss to attendees and inviting the audience to participate in a Q & A session.

“Surviving the aftermath of infant loss is something we, as mothers who have lost a child, think about often. Whether the loss was last month or last decade, this retreat has excellent programming with key takeaways for everyone, as well as a format designed to build lasting relationships,” says Founder of Still Standing Magazine Franchesca Cox.

“Women who attend The Retreat will walk away with a lifelong network of people who belong to the same club, one that no one wants to be part of, but who understand something that very few people do. We’re a network, an incredibly strong support system. We will bond together and grow together and we’re there for each other,” says Keller.

Check in for The Retreat opens Friday October 26 at 4:00 p.m. with opening remarks from Ramsey Keller Memorial Founder Kori Keller starting at 6:00 p.m. Saturday’s agenda kicks off at 8:00 a.m. with breakfast, followed by the keynote address from Franchesca Cox, break out topical discussions, a message from Kori Keller about unnecessary baggage, a creative outlet activity presented and donated by Held Your Whole Life, a second impactful message from Franchesca Cox followed by dinner at 6:00 p.m.. Sunday includes breakfast starting at 8:00 a.m. followed by a panel discussion. The Retreat wraps up at 11:00 a.m. Sunday.

For more information or to register, visit The Retreat Website. Moms are encouraged to seek sponsors if they choose to do so, as payment for the retreat is considered a non-profit donation to the Ramsey Keller Memorial. While the topics are tailored for moms who have experienced baby loss, moms are welcome to invite the women who support them to attend so that they may be joined by sisters, mothers and close friends.

Make The Most Out Of Your Vacation

Any trip to the USA should fill you with excitement and even a little awe. It’s a huge, sprawling country with much to see and do. The problem is picking the best state to visit so you get the most out of your vacation.

Is California better than New York? What does Alaska offer that you can’t get in New Jersey? Is Nevada just for gamblers or can you take in a show or two? These are just a few of the questions you might want answers to before you plan your trip.

The team at PlayNJ have done some research to help and now have an interactive map of the US which makes that decision making process a whole lot easier. They’ve taken a range of parameters including tourism income, gambling and theatre, things to do, and general happiness level to rank each of 50 states.

The general ranking gives a listing of overall performance and it’s no surprise that states such as California, Texas, Florida and New York figure at the top. Curiously, the team have also included a happiness ranking which shows a slightly different story. While California comes first in general classification, it only manages 13 for happiness. Hawaii only hits 20 on the general ranking but comes out on top for fun.

While you may have to take some of the listings with a pinch of salt, the interactive map does give you a good idea where the strong point of each state lies.

California has the highest tourist income at $126.3 billion, mainly because it’s one of the most popular holiday destinations on the planet. Not only is it home to Hollywood and the iconic city of San Francisco, it’s also got Disneyland and the Yosemite National Park. Wyoming has a much lower income but does have some noteworthy places to visit such as The Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains.

If gambling is your big thing and you want to combine it with a show or two, then the obvious choice is Nevada. Las Vegas is the gambling capital of the western world and is full of casinos. There are also plenty of shows to take in and the service, so visitors say, is second to none. There are even a couple of zoos and a few theme parks to give you something different to do. For overall happiness ranking though it rates well down at 34.

For those looking for variety in their trip, it’s best to look at the ‘Things to Do’ map. Here Florida is top of the list with 1,699 separate activities and Alaska is not far behind on 1,644. These are two totally different locations, so it’s wise to take a deeper look at what’s on offer. Florida is famous for sun, sea and sangria as well as its numerous theme parks. Alaska is more for your outdoor types with breath-taking locations like Winner Creak, Kincaid Park and Resurrection Bay.

For those who want to take in some sport, Texas and California top the list for stadiums. You can go see the Dallas Cowboys play in Arlington or visit the world famous Rose Bowl in California. If you don’t like sport and won’t be visiting a stadium anytime soon, Vermont is the place to go, they don’t have any. Of course, it will all depend on who your favourite team is and the sport you want to watch.

Next time you’re planning a trip somewhere in the USA, take a look at the PlayNJ interactive map to help you begin planning the best locations to visit. It’s a great way to start exploring what this vast, sprawling country has to offer for the humble tourist.

New Trips × Austin Adventures

Dan Austin has been a busy man. Coming off what has been Austin Adventures’ best year ever, the company is poised to achieve new heights in 2018 while launching something totally fresh, innovative and important. But more on that later. First, let’s look at what else is new for 2018.

  • New Trips and Destinations! They’ve added a lineup of 11 new domestic and international itineraries that represent one of the most impressive expansions in the company’s nearly four-decade history. New multisport trips will be offered in the US & Canada, Africa, Asia, Europe and South America. Check out the exciting lineup at http://www.austinadventures.com.
  • New Women-Only Adventures. Led by acclaimed guide and outdoors woman Kasey Austin, the company has announced three brand-new, action-packed itineraries created just for women for the 2018 season. Destinations include Costa Rica, Utah’s Bryce & Zion National Parks and Montana’s Yellowstone Country. “Women are taking on the world of adventure travel by storm!” – Austin.
  • Travel Agent Bookings Have Doubled! A dedicated focus on the travel trade has paid off and 2018 stands to be another record-breaking year for agent bookings. Being an active member of Virtuoso Network as a Preferred Tour Operator and Partner has been a major factor in this growth.
  • New Consumer-Friendly Reservation Policies. Guests can now change their minds 14 days from booking and more than 90 days out and still get a full refund. Plus, there are softer policies on cancelling or transferring to another trip 45+ days out. Their industry-best money-back satisfaction guarantee is still in place.

Ready for some BIG news for 2018? Now remember, this is just a teaser and more details will be announced in January along with a more formal launch. Austin Adventures is teaming up with the leading lifestyle brand Life is Good™ to offer a series of ‘Life is Good Vacations’ which will create transformative travel experiences connected to nature and rooted in the practice of joy and optimism. See: http://info.austinadventures.com/life-is-good-partnership/.

“Life is truly good. Let’s enjoy it and expand our possibilities by exploring and experiencing compelling destinations in a manner both positive, rewarding and empowering,” explains Dan Austin. Four tour locations have been scheduled for 2018: Montana, Utah, Canadian Rockies and Costa Rica.

Halloween Candy Map

In case you haven’t noticed all of the pumpkin-lined porch steps or the multitude of horror movie marathons on TV, it’s spooky season! Halloween is less than two weeks away, which means hayrides, haunted houses, and, most importantly, FREE CANDY!!! Well, free for cute kids dressed up like Spiderman or Moana. For adults, Halloween means stocking up on the good stuff to avoid a yard full of toilet paper or having your car decorated with egg yolks. Halloween is a candy manufacturer’s Christmas. According to The National Retail Federation, it’s expected that 2.7 billion dollars will be spent on trick-or-treat candy this year. It may seem like a good idea to buy the cheapest bag of candy you can find, however, when November 1st rolls around and you’re left with three pounds of store-brand lollipops none of the trick-or-treaters wanted to take, bargain shopping might be a decision you’ll regret.

If you want to avoid the horror that is too much leftover candy, you’ll have to fork over a a few extra bucks for the good stuff. You may stroll down the candy aisle at the supermarket amidst the plethora of different chocolates, gummies, sours, and sweets, and think to yourself, how do I know which candy to buy? Well, CandyStore.com, is here to help. Over the past 10 years, CandyStore.com has been shipping tons of bulk candy all across the United States and Canada. They compiled 10 years (2007-2016) of sales data for the months leading up to Halloween and put together an interactive map that details the top three most popular Halloween candies for each state, indicated by pounds distributed. Check out the interactive map HERE to become the go-to house for all of the witches, ghosts, and Chewbaccas in town. Or, if you’d rather not have hoards of little vampires and Pokemon running through your yard but still want to please the kiddos, CandyStore.com also has a list of the WORST candies, so you know exactly what not to buy.

CandyStore.com also offers the option of skipping the trip to supermarket all together. Order online in bulk so you can avoid facing the delicious temptation of sugary goodness in candy aisle.

 

 

 

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