A Ten Year Tradition Comes to an End

By | January 18, 2018

Greetings North Fork friends, from Rick Graetz,

In January 2008, with a group of university students in tow, we made our way north from Missoula to hold the inaugural University of Montana “Polebridge” winter course. Every year thereafter, ten years running, we had the great pleasure of convening this week-long UM field course on what we came to call UM’s North Fork campus. The North Fork Hostel was our dormitory, classroom, and base camp. At first, the Northern Lights Saloon served as our dining room and then the “Merc” took on that status as well as an anytime of the day dispensary for purchasing bear claws and other necessities of a student’s daily diet.

We have such fond memories of our time spent in the field… being welcomed into your homes, learning from your expertise and experiences, the fun-filled Monday night community program, and documenting the traditional clandestine, in broad daylight, closed border crossing and too many others to mention.

Those of you who attended the community gathering last January, will remember Susie’s video presentation of the first nine years in the North Fork for UM. She has finished the program to include all 10 years plus our last autumn 2017 three-day field course. Oliver will have a copy of the disc and perhaps you can encourage him to hold a presentation some night or to make you a copy.

So now, I am sad to report that owing to changes in the University’s winter session and financial issues, Polebridge will be a lot quieter this January. It was necessary to cancel the class.

We can’t begin to thank you for your hospitality. Young lives were changed by the experience and Susie, Sarah and I have gained wonderful new friends. We hope that this new year will be a good one for all of you and that we will see many of you in the near future in the North Fork.

Thanks for the great moments, friendships, and for keeping the North Fork the North Fork!

Rick Graetz
University of Montana Geography Department

2018 Winter Interlocal

By | January 17, 2018

Here is a note from Bill Walker…

The 2018 winter North Fork Interlocal Agreement meeting will be held Wednesday, February 21 at the Hungry Horse/Glacier View Ranger Station, 10 Hungry Horse Drive in Hungry Horse. Start time is 10:00 a.m. The meeting usually lasts abut three hours.

The Interlocal Agreement provides for face-to-face contact with representatives of agencies whose policies and actions affect the North Fork. Interlocal Agreement meetings are held in the winter (in town) and summer (at Sondreson Hall). Agency attendees include Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Montana Department of State Lands, U.S. Border Patrol, Glacier National Park, Flathead National Forest, U.S. Fish &Wildlife Service and Flathead County.

This is always a very interesting meeting, with reports from a range of government agencies and local organizations and often some quite vigorous discussion.

Historical note: Although the agreement wasn’t formally signed until 1985, this year marks the 35th anniversary of the first North Fork Interlocal meeting. Here’s what Larry Wilson had to say about it in 1987, some four years after things got rolling . . .

In the fall of 1983, the North Fork Improvement Association initiated meetings with the various state and federal agencies that are involved in management duties on the North Fork. Original meetings were designed for landowners to express their concerns about changes and threats to the area which is so special to all of us. I doubt that anyone involved in 1983 would have predicted the results.

Today, there is agreement among all of the government agencies as well as the three landowner organizations that it is necessary to look at the entire North Fork and the needs and desires of everyone when managing the area’s diverse resources. To further this goal the NFIA, North Fork Preservation Association, North Fork Compact, Flathead County, Montana Fish & Game, Montana Forestry, as well as the U.S. Forest Service, and Glacier National Park have signed an Inter Local Agreement which calls for two meetings of the group every year. One meeting is held at Sondreson Memorial Hall during the summer and the other is a winter meeting in the valley.

Glacier Park Easily Breaks Visitation Record in 2017

By | January 15, 2018

Visitors snap selfies at the Oberlin Bend overlook in Glacier National Park. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

The Flathead Beacon reports that more than 3.3 million people visited Glacier National Park in 2017, making it the busiest year in the park’s 108-year history. According to data released by the National Park Service, Glacier saw a 10 percent increase in visitation last year, from 3,005,448 in 2016 to 3,305,513 in 2017. Read the full story here.