On Saturday night, John Frederick stepped down as President of the North Fork Preservation Association (NFPA) after more than three decades of leadership in this environmental organization which was founded in 1982. Following a potluck supper, a crown which said “North Fork Hero” was placed on John’s head. The crowd of around 50 people listened while various NFPA members spoke about John’s contributions to the North Fork, told stories about John, and read email appreciations from other members who could not attend. John was also given a plaque by the NFPA.
John has been an “environmental warrior” on many issues that have threaten the North Fork in the past three decades. One of his major feats was buying ten shares of Rio Algom (a Canadian mining company) stock and traveling six times to stockholder meetings in Toronto to speak in opposition to the proposal to build a coal mine north of the border that would threaten the water quality of the North Fork of the Flathead River. That coal mine was never built. This was one of the many stories told about John’s activism.
After John’s “appreciation fest,” there was a short NFPA meeting in which officers and board members were elected. The new officers are: Debo Powers (President), Randy Kenyon (Vice President), Suzanne Daniell (Secretary), and Kelly Edwards (Treasurer). Annemarie Harrod and Steve Gniadek were re-elected to the board and John Frederick will remain on the board as the Past President. Those who will remain on the board for another year are Frank Vitale, Cameron Naficy, Alan McNeil, and Walter Roberts.
Every year following the annual NFPA meeting, there is an informative speaker who is invited to talk about a topic of local interest. This presentation is open to the entire North Fork community, so others began to arrive after the meeting. The NFPA speaker this year was Daniel Stiffarm, a Kootenai tribal member who is the acting director of the Kootenai Cultural Committee on the Flathead Reservation. He spoke about Kootenai history, culture, and language. Daniel comes regularly to the North Fork which was part of the Kootenai Territory that was used for hunting and vision quests. North Forkers learned much about Kootnenai language and traditions including the Kootnenai names of many familiar mountains in the North Fork. Daniel was asked many questions which he graciously answered.