True Adventures of our Early Pioneers, John Fraley

By | October 8, 2019

Here is a note from Chris Heitz…

Join us for a presentation by Author John Fraley on the true adventures of people who earned their livings in the wild mountains and rivers of the Bob Marshall Wilderness and Glacier Park during the 19th and early 20th centuries.  Fraley is the author of “Rangers, Trappers, and Trailblazers”, “Wild River Pioneers”, and “A Woman’s Way West”, and is retired from a 40-year career with the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.  Sondreson Hall, 7pm, Sunday, Oct 13th.  Bring a snack to share if you can.  The last general meeting of the NFLA will follow at 8pm, and canned goods for the Veterans Food Pantry will be collected there.

National Visitor Use Monitoring survey

By | October 7, 2019

The public will encounter Forest Service employees conducting interviews in developed and dispersed recreation sites and along forest service roads. They will be out in all types of weather conditions, wearing bright orange vests and be near a sign that says “Traffic Survey Ahead”.

The National Visitor Use Monitoring (NVUM) survey is being conducted on the Flathead National Forest from October 2019 through Sept. 30, 2020. The information gathered is useful for forest planning as well as local community tourism planning. It provides National Forest managers with an estimate of how many people actually recreate on the National Forest, what activities they engage in while there and how satisfied people were with their visit. Economic impact to the local economy is also captured in the survey. Continue reading

Send US Your North Fork News

By | October 7, 2019

A cold and snowy day
Hello to all of our loyal NFNews readers,

Well, the folks at NFNews aren’t on the North Fork very much these days, so we’ve slowed down our posts to NFNews. If you have some information that you would like to share with the North Fork community, send it along and we’ll post it. We’ll also post notices sent to us by the various agencies (e.g., Forest Service, Park, etc.). But otherwise, news is going to be slow.

The best way to get this sort of intermittent news is by signing up for the email (see the sidebar to sign up). That way, you’ll get notified of new posts and won’t have to keep coming back to the NFNews home page. We promise that we never share our reader’s emails with anyone.

You might consider signing up for the North Fork Classifieds on Facebook… to do so tap here. Also, check out the NFLA website and NFPA website for news on what’s happening with those organizations.

Enjoy the fall and early winter on the North Fork!

Patti Hart
Editor, NFNews

E-Bikes welcome on ‘motorized use’ Forest Service trails, roads

By | September 24, 2019

Electric bicycles (e-bikes) have grown in popularity for both recreational use and hunting on public lands and are currently welcome on more than 52,000 miles of roads and 7,700 miles of trails throughout the Northern Region’s nine National Forests and Dakota Prairie Grasslands where motorized vehicle travel is authorized.

The Flathead National Forest currently has 1,427 miles of road and 226 miles of trails available for e-bike use.

The USDA Forest Service considers e-bikes as motorized vehicles and therefore does not allow their use on non-motorized National Forest System roads and trails.

The Service encourages e-bike riders to consult their local National Forest or Grassland’s Motor Vehicle Use Map to ensure they’re riding on an approved, motorized use road or trail, and to exercise caution when traveling among other motor vehicles.

The mission of the Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world.

The Forest Service’s Northern Region includes nine National Forests and 1.2 million acres of National Grasslands in North and South Dakota. These public lands provide timber for people, forage for cattle and wildlife, habitat for fish, plants, and animals, and some of the best recreational opportunities in the country.

Wernick’s Market is Done for the Year

By | September 24, 2019
Boy, the wind outside is freezing, and they are forecasting snow for the weekend !!  What happened to Fall?  But just in case you weren’t at Wernicks on the 11th, I am sorry to have to let you know that there will not be any more Markets this year.  It was a GREAT season, and we are so thankful that Jerry and Linda (and Curtis) shared their gardens with all of us.  Thank you for supporting them, and helping to make it such a popular neighborhood gathering!
See you next Spring!  Chris Heitz

Fire Up Red Meadow

By | September 9, 2019

10:00AM Monday – From Andy Huntsberger …

A quick update on the fires up Red Meadow:

-Red Meadow Fire is approximately 10 acres. Most of the growth was 9/5-6. Since Friday the area has received over 1’’ of rain. The attached picture was taken yesterday, not much fire activity.

-Red Meadow #2 Fire – NO ACTIVITY or growth.

This will be the last update unless something drastically changes.

7:00 AM Friday – Here’s a report from Bill Walker…

Aerial reconnaissance spotted a second Red Meadow Fire yesterday. That blaze is only about 1/10 of an acre and is not presently visible from the ground. Red Meadow Fire #2 is a little under 2 miles southwest of the larger fire initially reported Wednesday. The Forest Service is continuing to monitor both fires. The wet weather expected over the next few days makes it unlikely that either fire will pose a threat.

Red meadow Road remains open. Fire information is posted at both ends of the road and, I’m told, also at the Polebridge Mercantile.

4:00PM Thursday – Here’s a report from Bill Walker…

I took a little drive this afternoon to look at the Red Meadow Fire. The Forest Service has a crew on-site keeping an eye on things (an engine and a pickup truck) and they’ve posted informational signage at both ends of Red Meadow Road. I got some photos. It looks like the fire is still just skunking around a little below the ridgetop…

Red Meadow Fire | photo by Bill WalkerRed Meadow Fire | photo by Bill Walker

8:00 AM Thursday… Molly sent along the following from Andy Huntsberger Fire Management Officer (Division 6)…

I thought I would pass this information along regarding a new start in the Red Meadow Creek drainage.  It is the Red Meadow Fire.  As it states below we will be monitoring/managing this fire.  Due to fuel conditions, time of year and location we felt this fire was a good candidate to manage and and not suppress.  The fire is currently estimated at about 2 acres.

Then Andy attached an email from Engine Captain Todd Hannan that said…

We have a new fire on the Glacier View Ranger District today. The Red Meadow Fire is burning on the upper 1/3 of the ridge that separates Moose Creek and Red Meadow Creek drainages (Lat./Long. N 48º 48.69 W 114º 26.97). The fire is currently an estimated 1 acre in size and creeping/smoldering with isolated single tree torching. We will be managing this fire, and evaluating potential road, trail, and area closures if fire growth or activity warrants.

We will be posting signs in the North Fork area tomorrow. I attached a screenshot of the map and photo of the fire taken from Thoma LO.

WildCad said that the cause of this fire was lightening.

Red Meadow Fire

Last Wednesday Market

By | September 9, 2019

Here’s a note from Chris Heitz…

It’s perfect weather for canning, and making jam or jelly, so don’t let the rain keep you from coming to Wernick’s Market this Wednesday, the 11th at Noon.  Jerry says they will have tomatoes, cucumbers, figs, yellow squash, zucchini, fava beans, potatoes, beets, cabbage, lettuce and chard.  Also, Curtis is back, so expect a surprise!
Anyone who wants extra onions or potatoes for the winter, let Jerry know and they will make arrangements to dig some just for you…he was suggesting quantities of 10# or more, I believe.
Also, they have decided to make this the LAST market of the summer, so be sure to come and let them know how much we have appreciated all their efforts!    Chris

Forest Expands Partnerships Program, Welcomes New Public Affairs Officer

By | September 5, 2019

A growing visitor and local population has prompted Flathead National Forest to take a new look at capacity, outreach, and partnerships.

This fall, the forest will formally launch a new partnerships program, designed to better engage non-profit groups, businesses and the public through philanthropy, grants, and volunteerism.

Janette Turk, who has been the forest’s public affairs officer for the last three and a half years, will lead the new partnership program.

“Janette has been instrumental in growing our partnerships and community relationships,” said Forest Supervisor Chip Weber. “With this program, we’ll have the capacity to truly engage the public on all fronts.”

“I’m also pleased to announce that Lauren Alley has been selected to become Flathead National Forest’s new Public Affairs Officer in late October,” said Weber.

For the past three years, Alley has worked at Glacier National Park in a similar capacity managing the park’s public affairs and lands programs. She has also worked at Death Valley National Park and Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in both commercial services and public affairs. She began her career as an elementary school teacher on the Navajo Nation in New Mexico. Alley holds a B.A. in Psychology from Wellesley College and a Master of Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a member of Leadership Flathead’s 2020 class.

Alley said “I grew up in Oregon surrounded by national forest, and our home in the Flathead is adjacent to forest land. I look forward to working with the community on a number of topics related to how we manage and enjoy this two million acre swath of public land that is so important to recreation, economy, and our way of life.”

As Flathead National Forest’s public affairs officer, Alley will lead the forest’s public affairs program, and manage a portfolio that includes the conservation education program, website services, and oversight of the Secure Rural Schools Act Title II Funds & Flathead County Resource Advisory Committee.

2019 September/October/November Wildland Fire Potential

By | September 2, 2019

Here’s a note from Allen Chrisman…

Here is the latest Wildland Fire Outlook. Just as we have seen, our part of Montana has had a slower than normal fire season due to the recurrent moisture we have received that has kept our live fuel moistures up:

The entire Northern Rockies fire season thus far has been characterized by a lack of extreme heat or dryness, especially this past August. Periods of showers and thunderstorms arrived every 5 days or so. This pattern produced considerable lightning across the NRGA, but moisture inputs have been sufficient to offset the few dry, windy episodes that have occurred.

Going into early September, warmer and drier weather is expected, especially over the western half of the geographic area. For September, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center’s outlook favors drier than average conditions for the NRGA, but a split between warmer than average West of the Continental Divide – and cooler than average East of the Divide. Longer-term projections continue this trend at least through September. Then in October and November, near average temperature and precipitation are expected across the entire district. December may bring cooler and wetter than average weather east of the Continental Divide.

Despite the recent precipitation, conditions will need monitoring, if warm dry conditions persist for five consecutive days (or greater) in September. Even with average precipitation, fire potential can quickly increase through the month of September or into early October, especially during windy periods that can dry fine fuels.

So, we aren’t out of the woods yet – but we are so much better off than we have been the last couple of years.

Fall Prescribed Fire Projects

By | September 1, 2019

Kalispell, MT, August 30, 2019 – The Flathead National Forest is planning to conduct fall prescribed fire projects, when weather, fuel conditions, and air quality become favorable. Smoke will be visible from various places in the Flathead Valley depending on the location of the burn units and weather conditions.

Each project follows a Prescribed Fire Burn Plan. The prescribed fire projects are located and designed to be controlled to reduce the potential for adverse effects, or to escape as a wildland fire. These projects will follow Montana air quality standards and be coordinated with Montana State Department of Environmental Quality to reduce the impacts of smoke to our neighbors, cooperators, and surrounding communities. The project areas include:


Pile burning- On the attached map locations of concentrated piles are identified. These may include both landing and hand piles. There are also scattered piles not identified on the map which may also be burned. Continue reading