Winter enthusiasts with dogs discover joys of skijoring

The Daily Inter Lake reports that cross-country skiers are harnessing their dogs’ pent-up winter enthusiasm in a fast-growing sport that’s finding a niche in the Inland Northwest. Skijoring – derived from a Norwegian word that means ski driving – involves being pulled on skis by various means including horses or motor vehicles. The canine-powered version is like dog-sledding without the sled.  Read the full story here. Rio, are you ready?

Hunting, fishing fee increases face first hearing

The Daily Inter Lake reports that a proposed rate hike for fishing and hunting licenses will get its first hearing before a state House committee Tuesday. House Bill 140, introduced by Rep. Jeffrey Welborn, R-Dillon, would increase funding  through the license fee increases to help cover Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ funding shortfall, with a $5.7 million deficit projected by 2017. Read the full story here.

 

Sign the petition, join the rally to keep our lands public – Feb. 16

Debo with Tuchuck in background obscured by snow cloudsI believe that all our North Fork neighbors love our public lands as much as I do.  The North Fork is what it is because public lands surround us on all sides.  A group of Montana legislators have introduced a number of bills to transfer public lands to the state, a move that would result in dire consequences for the wilderness that we all love.

The Montana Wilderness Association is organizing a rally at the state capitol at noon on February 16 to protest this move.  Please take a few minutes to sign the petition and attend the rally if you can.  Writing letters to our legislators is a good idea too.  Check out this page from the Montana Wilderness Association for more information.   – Debo

Big Creek Ranger Station Designated National Historic Districts

The Big Creek Ranger Station has been designated National Historic Districts in the National Register of Historic Places. The National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of those cultural resources deemed worthy of preservation. Authorized under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Register includes districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects that are significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture. Continue reading

Winter Kill

Amy called the other day and she said “There have been lots of ravens and eagles hanging around the river next to our place.  Let’s go snow shoeing and check it out.” Sure enough.  Ravens were flying back and forth while eagles sat in the nearby trees watching. After walking along the cold, snowy river for awhile, we finally spotted the source of all the excitement. There was a very picked over deer caracas lying on top of a beaver dam. So small and cold.

We stood watching the birds and imagining how it happened. Why was it on a beaver dam?  Was it a mountain lion or wolf that made the kill? Perhaps the deer tried to escape its predator by crossing the river, got caught, and was drug back to the dam. We’ll never know.

New Hunt & Fish Licenses; Deer & Elk Permit Applications Available January 26

Montana’s new 2015 hunting and fishing year begins March 1. Licenses will go on sale—and applications for resident and nonresident deer and elk hunting permits will be available—Jan. 26. Deer and elk permit applications and information will also be available online at fwp.mt.gov; click “March 16—Deer & Elk Permits” beginning Monday, Jan. 26, at 9 a.m. The application deadline is March 16. FWP urges hunters to apply online. “It’s fast, convenient and accurate,” said Ron Aasheim, FWP spokesman in Helena. Nonresidents seeking to apply for big game combination, elk combination or deer combination licenses and deer and elk permits for the 2015 fall Montana hunting season can also apply online or download an application from FWP’s website. To request an application by mail, write to: Licensing Section; Montana FWP; P.O. Box 200701, Helena MT; 59620-0701; or call: 406-444-2950. Aasheim said May 1 is the deadline to apply for moose, sheep, goat and bison licenses and June 1 for antlerless deer B and elk B licenses and antelope and antelope B licenses. Montana’s upcoming hunting and fishing license year runs from March 1 to Feb. 29, 2016.

Bills introduced to protect access to public lands and waters

The Hungry Horse News reports that the Montana Wildlife Federation and the Public Land/Water Access Association say they are promoting two bills to address the growing problem of people blocking off large tracts of public land by gating public rights of way. The bills seek to improve public access to public lands by keeping public roads open. Dave Chadwick, executive director of the Montana Wildlife Federation, said the bills have been carefully planned to ensure that they protect both public access to public land and wildlife and private property rights.  Read the full story here.

 

Postcards from Polebridge – Monica Phillips

Monica PhillipsHere’s something fun. Our neighbor and good friend Monica Phillips wrote a blog about her and Chris describing their first couple of years after moving to a yurt on the North Fork. We found it interesting for several reasons.  It not only reminded us of our first years here, but it also provided new perspectives.

Although Monica has moved on from updating this blog since they have moved from the yurt into their new home, the stories are still fresh, entertaining, and well written.  There are also great North Fork photos. Check it out at Postcards from Polebridge.

Monica is now busy writing a novel that we’re looking forward to reading when it gets published!

Montana state parks post record visitors

The Hungry Horse News reports that Montana’s recent strong year for tourism was felt beyond its national parks — Montana’s 55 state parks saw 2.255 million visitors in 2014, record high visitation numbers for a second straight year. Montana State Parks reported Jan. 8 that from January to December last year, the state parks system’s 75th anniversary year, statewide visitation numbers showed a 3 percent increase over 2013. The busiest month was July, with more than 516,000 visits, a 9 percent increase over 2013.  Read the full story here.