EPISODE VI: MAKING COMMUNITY
People come and go. Others stay for years. There's no government beyond the state. And there are all different ideas of what the community really is or what it should be. Yet, somehow, it works.
"We are a far-flung, loosely dispersed bunch of people," Stephens Harper said.
The community is far from traditional. There are no schools, no hospitals, no year-round stores or restaurants. A non-profit helps with community-wide decisions. They hold meetings half the year, and people raise their hands to vote. Otherwise, there's no police force, public utilities or local government.
People do it all on their own. They come from different political, religious, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. Everyone has a different way of living out here.
And yet, there are things that bind us.
We sort each other’s mail and entrust each other with it. A former ghost town binds us. Common experiences bind us. The challenges of life out here bind us.
"We all kind of get together and share parties, share dinners, share birthdays, share Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year's, share snow machine expeditions," Greg Runyan said. "It’s really magical like that."
This place is far from perfect. It lacks racial diversity and generational wisdom. There's conflict and people act irresponsibly. But, in general, it does work.
On this episode of Out Here hear why people who don't like each other still take care of each other, and why you can leave your door unlocked, your keys in your car and walk home alone in the dark without worrying about anything more than a grizzly bear.
"It's kind of like living on the moon, like we're in our own little community out here," Greg said."There's no one else to help us. It's just us. We all gotta get along."
And hear from Stephens Harper, a community member and law enforcement ranger for the park. What's it like regulating in a national park littered with private land in-holdings?
Especially in a community of individuals where a lot of people really don't like rules.
Music from Galen Huckins and Blue Dot Sessions / Ultima Thule, Cash Cow, Sunday Lights, Jackbird, Patched In, Vernouillet, McCarthy / Episode artwork from Ian Gyori / Financial assistance from the Duffy Fund and the University of Missouri / Guidance and support from Scott Swafford, Sara Shahriari and Dr. Cristina Mislan / Featured in this episode: Greg Runyan, Stephens Harper, Tamara Harper, Malcolm Vance, Mark Vail, Ian Gyori, Ali Towers, Greg Fensterman, Gary Green, Karla Freivalds, Laurie Rowland, Scott Anthony, David Rowland and Kristin Link