Volunteers needed for the Bear Fair

Lindsey Stutzman from Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks sent the following request: As you know we are planning a bear fair in Polebridge on August 23! We are currently looking for 2-3 volunteers to help out and we were wondering if you might be able to spread the word to see if any North Fork residents are interested. We are providing free lunch at the event and volunteers are primarily needed to help serve food. We might need some help with setup and cleanup afterwords also.  For more information on the bear fair or volunteer to help, please contact Lindsey at lindsey.a.stutzman@gmail.com or call 406.212.1803.

Reminder from the NFPA

The North Fork Preservation Association annual meeting is on Saturday, July 26, featuring Canadian activist Harvey Locke speaking on “The Missing Piece of Waterton National Park.” He is a charismatic orator who thinks in large landscapes. Harvey begins his talk at 7:30 p.m. The potluck dinner starts at 5:00 p.m., followed by the business meeting. For more information call 406-888-5084.

Please bring folding chairs and blankets for the outdoor program. It would be useful for those going to the potluck and business meeting to arrive around 4:30 pm to help set up chairs tables and other chores. This will help insure that the eating and business meeting are finished on time and not in the way of the program which starts at 7:30.

For more information about the program, see this NFPA announcement.

Day 4 as a Volunteer Lookout

Thursday, July 24

Cold morning:cozy fire at Baptiste LookoutThis morning, a low ceiling of thick, grey clouds hung over the world just above the lookout obscuring the tip of Baptiste Peak above. It was a cold morning, but a toasty fire in the wood stove kept the lookout warm and cozy. I watched as a curtain of rain moved across the Swan Range descending into the drainages before striking the reservoir. Minutes later, my lookout was engulfed by clouds and rain and my visibility was zero. That’s how it was for my morning weather report. Cyclone Lookout reported clear skies in the North Fork.

Continue reading

Grizzly Bear Translocated to the Whitefish Range

On July 16th a 220 pound, 2 to 3 year old male grizzly bear was captured on the Blackfeet Reservation and released in the Whale Creek drainage of the North Fork of the Flathead. The young grizzly was captured by Blackfeet tribal biologists at the site of a calf depredation near the Montana and Alberta border. The bear didn’t have any previous history of conflicts. The grizzly was fitted with a radio collar and will be monitored by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks bear biologists.

Fish habitat Project Underway in the North Fork Flathead Drainage

A fish habitat enhancement project is underway in the South Fork Coal Creek drainage, a tributary to the North Fork Flathead River that was degraded by historical land management practices. More than two dozen large woody structures are being incorporated into the stream channel to create spawning and rearing habitat for bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout. Continue reading

Forest road decommissioning could be ending

The Hungry Horse News reports that over the past 10 years, the Flathead National Forest has decommissioned about 700 miles of roads. That might be nearly the last of them if recommendations contained in a recent draft study are followed. Forest planners recently examined all 3,000 miles of roads spread across the 2.4 million acres of Flathead Forest land. The travel analysis looked at risks and benefits for each road and concluded that, in the future, only 54 miles of road would be considered for closing or no longer needed.  Read the full story here.

St. Mary Visitor Center closed

The St. Mary Visitor Center on the east side of Glacier National Park is temporarily closed. Park rangers responded to an alarm at the visitor center at approximately 4 a.m. today. It is believed that the visitor center furnace may have malfunctioned and the water sprinkler system activated. There is water damage to the building and contents, as well as to some of the utilities. The extent of the damage is being assessed. Continue reading

Day 3 as a Volunteer Lookout

Wednesday, July 23

Evening dance between sun and cloudsLookouts watch storms and record lightning down-strikes. The storm last evening had all of the eleven lookouts in this area on high alert……recording strikes, referring to maps, conferencing by radio and cell phone, even running an azimuth on a smoke sighting. From our high perches, we watched with excitement and wonder as the powerful storms moved across the landscape spewing bolts of lightning to the ground. After the storm passed, the novel that I tried to read before falling asleep last night was boring in comparison to real life in a lookout when storms are moving through.   The quiet did not last long because during the night, I awoke to watch lightning and listen to thunder on the Swan Range. Continue reading

Fire season in West so far is below expectations

The Daily Inter Lake reports that widespread drought across the West had forecasters expecting an above-average wildfire season this summer, which so far has not lived up to expectations. U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell said Wednesday that the hot windy weather known as “red flag” days have not lined up with the lighting strikes that start most fires, particularly in drought-parched California. The result has been that while the number of fires to date is about 70 percent of the 10-year average, the area burned is less than half.  Read the full story here.

Still no fires reported for Montana on Inciweb although there are plenty of them in Washington and Oregon.  While we were in Missoula yesterday, though, we saw a fire in the mountains to the south, so fire season has certainly arrived.