Oct 25 2014

Blackfoot Confederacy asks feds to halt leases in Badger-Two Medicine

Published by under Environmental Issues,News

The Blackfeet Confederacy has opened a new front in the battle to protect the Badger-Two Medicine region from oil and gas development . . .

In a sign of cultural and political solidarity, tribal chiefs and leaders representing the Blackfoot Confederacy convened Friday to sign a proclamation to end energy development in the sacred Badger-Two Medicine area.

The Confederacy added its voice to an unprecedented alliance of American Indian tribal nations calling on the federal government to resolve decades of wrongdoing by public land managers, and to once and for all protect the Badger-Two Medicine from private industrialization.

Tribes from Montana, Wyoming and the Canadian province of Alberta have issued joint proclamations, insisting that the U.S. Department of Interior cancel illegal oil and gas leases in the Badger-Two Medicine area.

Read more . . .

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Oct 23 2014

Larry Wilson: North Forkers recognized

Published by under Commentary,News

This week, Larry Wilson points out that a number of North Forkers were recently recognized for decades of dedicated effort: Duke and Noami Hoiland were named Montana Tree Farmers of the year and John Frederick, NFPA President, received a Conservation Achievement Recognition Award from the Flathead Audubon Society . . .

I think virtually every North Forker will tell you that it’s the people who live and/or recreate here that make the place so special. This week, two prestigious awards to North Forkers confirms that perception.

On Saturday, the Montana Tree Farmers met at Sondreson Hall and the organization named the Hoiland family Montana’s Tree Farmers of the Year for 2014…

The second presentation was a Conservation Achievement Recognition Award given to John Frederick by the Flathead Audubon Society. The award was given to honor John for his 35-year effort to keep the North Fork wild…

Read more . . .

 

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Oct 23 2014

Polebridge Merc hosts “Transboundary” interpretive trail

Published by under Environmental Issues,News

Will Hammerquist of the Polebridge Mercantile got together with several conservation groups to sponsor a “Transboundary” interpretive trail . . .

Several U.S. and Canadian environmental groups have carved out a new educational “Transboundary” trail up the North Fork on land owned by the Polebridge Mercantile.

The quarter-mile long stroll runs through scrub brush left from the 1988 Red Bench Fire and offers expansive views of the Livingston Range.

Several interpretive signs along the path provide information on history, geography and biology of the area, historic perspectives, threats to the ecosystem as well as triumphs, including efforts to ban coal and other mining projects in the watershed.

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Oct 21 2014

Flathead National Forest Stakeholder Collaboration Final Report available

Published by under News

Those of you who have labored through all or part of the public “collaborative” phase of the Flathead National Forest Plan Revision, will be glad to know that the Flathead National Forest Stakeholder Collaboration Final Report is now available. You can obtain it by going to the Meridian Institute’s “FNFplanrevision” web page and clicking on the link near the top of the page. Given the amount of time spent on the collaborative process, the document is surprising brief — a mere 44 pages.

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Oct 21 2014

Montana lawsuit seeks federal wolverine protection

Published by under Environmental Issues,News

Another volley in the battle to obtain federal protection for wolverines . . .

Another lawsuit has been filed challenging the government’s denial of federal protections for the wolverine.

Thirteen advocacy groups and an ecologist were named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Montana.

It claims the government relied on “contorted” data when it declined protections for the species in August.

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Oct 21 2014

Glacier Park getting on top of bull trout recovery

Published by under Environmental Issues,News

Glacier Park is showing good success in recovering a depleted bull trout population . . .

Glacier National Park, historically one of the last best strongholds for native bull trout, has seen its wild populations decimated by the explosion of invasive lake trout, reducing Montana’s aquatic darling to an imperiled icon and pushing the species toward the brink of extinction.

But biologists with Glacier Park and the U.S. Geological Survey have pioneered a new effort to suppress lake trout in remote backcountry lakes and reintroduce dwindling bull trout populations, with recent results showing strong evidence of success, and indicating that the efforts could be applied to other invaded habitats and broader ranges.

“New results are promising. The park is kind of spearheading these innovative and proactive ways to save bull trout,” Clint Muhlfeld, an aquatic biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), said. “It’s been so rewarding to have our science apply to on-the-ground management and leading conservation efforts in Glacier.”

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Oct 14 2014

Advocacy groups sue for wolverine protections

Published by under Environmental Issues,News

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision not to list the wolverine for federal protection due to climate model uncertainty has drawn the expected lawsuit . . .

A coalition of advocacy groups on Monday challenged the government’s denial of federal protections for the snow-loving wolverine, arguing in a lawsuit that officials disregarded evidence a warming climate will eliminate denning areas for the so-called “mountain devil.”

An estimated 250 to 300 wolverines survive in the Lower 48 states. The elusive but ferocious members of the weasel family give birth to their young in deep mountain snowfields that scientists say could be at risk of disappearing as the climate changes.

After proposing protections for the species last year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in August abruptly reversed course. Fish and Wildlife Director Dan Ashe said at the time there was too much uncertainty in computer climate change models to justify protections, an issue first raised by two members of a scientific peer-review panel.

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Oct 07 2014

John Frederick receives award from Flathead Audubon Society

Published by under Environmental Issues,News

John Frederick, NFPA President,  recently received a Flathead Audubon Society Conservation Achievement Recognition award for his years of work to protect the North Fork. This is a pretty big deal and a well-deserved honor. The formal award presentation is on October 13.

Here’s the article from this month’s “Pileated Post” newsletter announcing John’s award . . .

In the 50th anniversary year of the federal Wilderness Act, it is fitting that Flathead Audubon presents John Frederick with a Conservation Achievement Recognition to honor his 35 year long effort to keep the North Fork of the Flathead wild.

In the 1970s, John won an Ohio Achievement Award for his efforts in recycling as president of Waste Watchers, Inc. Seeking wilder country, he moved to the North Fork in 1978 and began operating the North Fork Hostel in 1979. Coalmine and road paving proposals in the North Fork sparked him to help form the North Fork Preservation Association in 1982. He still serves as president and has for 24 years of its 34 years.

During the battle over the coal mine proposal, John bought 10 shares of Rio Algam stock. He traveled to Toronto six times to protest the mine at the annual stockholders meeting. His action generated national awareness of the issue in Canada and helped in getting the International Boundary Commission involved, an action that eventually led to Rio Algam losing interest in the project.

John has also been involved in local land planning issues as Chair of the North Fork Land Use Advisory Committee and a member of the North Fork Improvement Association. North Fork subdivisions are now required to have 20-acre sized lots.

John continues to be involved in Flathead National Forest planning issues, including the current effort. As a board member of Headwaters Montana, he is involved in supporting the goals of the Whitefish Range Partnership and an expansion of Waterton National Park into the Canadian side of the North Fork, as well as new wilderness areas on the U.S. side of the border.

John sold his hostel a few years ago but continues to live in the North Fork from May to November. He winters in Costa Rica, soaking up the warmth his many winters in Polebridge failed to provide. Keeping joints limber allows John, along with others, to clear abandoned trails in the North Fork for the public’s use.

Flathead Audubon is happy to honor John’s efforts to protect the natural values of the North Fork and to hold him up as an example of what a dedicated person can accomplish.

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Oct 06 2014

Bears on the move

Published by under News

North Fork bears are on the move as they work on getting fattened up prior to hibernation. As a post in today’s NFNews points out, more movement means more bear sightings.

Read the NFNews article (with pictures!) . . .

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Oct 02 2014

Coal Ridge patrol cabin-lookout gets more renovation work

Published by under News

It seems the Coal Ridge “patrol cabin” was actually the original lookout up there. Anyways, it got new siding last week to go with the roof that was installed a couple of years ago . . .

An historic lookout up the North Fork on Coal Ridge received some badly needed care last week as Forest Service crews installed new siding on the weather-beaten building.

The Coal Ridge Lookout, which has sat atop the Whitefish Range since 1928, doesn’t resemble a lookout — the current map actually calls it a cabin. It has small windows, and the Osborne Fire Finder used to pinpoint fire starts was mounted on a metal pole outside of the building.

But it was a definitely a fire lookout, Flathead National Forest lookout Leif Haugen said.

Read more . . .

For more information on this project, go to http://www.nwmt-ffla.org/#!2014-projects/c1nlq and scroll down to the “Moran Patrol Cabin” section.

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