Apr 12 2014

Letter favoring North Fork protection

Published by under Commentary

The Flathead Beacon posted a nice reader letter in favor of the North Fork Watershed Protection Act . . .

There’s something liberating about slipping a raft into a river in Western Montana. We are fortunate to have so many clean, free-flowing rivers nearby to enjoy with friends and family. And in my mind, few rivers can match the North Fork Flathead River. Other rivers may have more thrilling whitewater or more fish per river mile, but few match the North Fork for clean, beautiful water and stunning, wild scenery.

Montana’s congressional delegation happens to agree with me on this point. Sens. John Walsh, Jon Tester and Rep. Steve Daines are all supporters of the North Fork Watershed Protection Act. For this reason, it is especially maddening to read news that the bill is being blocked in the Senate by three senators who – in the memorable words of Tester – “can’t even find the Flathead River on a map.”

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Apr 10 2014

Bears are starting to get up and moving

Published by under Environmental Issues,News

It’s spring in Montana and the bears are beginning to stir . . .

Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks biologists are reminding folks that bears are awake and people should secure attractants like dog food, bird food, chickens feed and garbage.

FWP bear and lion specialist Erik Wenum caught a 6-year-old, 340-pound male grizzly bear April 6 south of Eureka.

The next day the bear was examined and radio-collared. The grizzly was then released on April 8 in Glacier National Park, assisted by Park personnel in an area seasonally closed due to snow and road conditions. There are no known previous management situations involving this bear.

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Apr 10 2014

North Fork timber sale on state land goes to bid

Published by under News

The timber sale in the Coal Creek State Forest has started the bid process . . .

A proposed state timber sale in the North Fork near Winona Ridge will go out for bid this spring, according to Stillwater State Forest unit manager Brian Manning.

The Moran Cyclone Timber Sale calls for harvesting up to 6 million board feet of timber from 2,901 acres on the Coal Creek State Forest.

The sale would make about $1.3 million for the School of Mines, State Normal School, public buildings and Montana State University trusts.

The area is a mix of western larch, Douglas fir, lodgepole pine and subalpine fir that was logged in the 1930s, early 1980s and early 1990s. About one-third of the project area burned in the 2001 Moose Fire.

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Apr 09 2014

Missoulian editorial: Daines, Walsh should team up to pass North Fork bill

Published by under Commentary,Environmental Issues

The Missoulian is not pleased with the political posturing holding up the North Fork Watershed Protection Act . . .

U.S. Rep. Steve Daines might want to have a little chat with some his Republican counterparts in the Senate.

Three of them in particular: Ted Cruz of Texas, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.

These three U.S. Senators blocked passage of the no-nonsense, common-sense North Fork Watershed Protection Act through the Senate. A similar measure has already been passed by the House – thanks to Daines’ sponsorship.

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Apr 09 2014

Glacier Park’s first research scientist passes away

Published by under News

Cliff Martinka, Glacier Park’s first full-time research scientist passed away March 18 . . .

In August 1967, two weeks after starting his job as Glacier National Park’s first research scientist, Cliff Martinka received an unlikely assignment – kill the bears.

Two young women, at campsites miles apart from one another, situated on opposite sides of 9,000-foot Heavens Peak, had been mauled and killed by grizzly bears. They were the first bear-related fatalities since the park’s inception in 1910, and the tragedy was indelibly etched into history as the “Night of the Grizzlies.”

Scant research had occurred at that point, and rangers could provide little information or insight into what had prompted the bears’ aggressive behavior.

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Apr 08 2014

Gov. Bullock lists 5.1 million acres of forest lands for restoration

Published by under News

Part of the Flathead National Forest is on the list . . .

Gov. Steve Bullock has identified more than 5.1 million acres of national forest land in Montana as top priorities for restoration.

The Democrat said Monday the forest areas he picked are declining in health, have a risk of increased tree deaths or pose a risk to public infrastructure or safety.

The farm bill passed by Congress this year allows governors to nominate forest restoration priorities. Bullock says his aim in nominating 8,000 square miles from northwestern to south-central Montana is to increase the pace and scale of restoration and strengthen the role of citizen collaborative groups.

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Apr 08 2014

Surgical conference looks at bear maulings

Published by under News

Here’s something you won’t encounter in most parts of the country . . .

It was against a macabre backdrop that Saturday’s bear-mauling conference took place at Kalispell Regional Medical Center.

In front of more than 100 medical professionals, students and forest workers, several bear-mauling experts showed photos of massive wounds that people suffered from tangling with the kings of the forest.

The theme of the Association of Surgical Technologists conference was “Bear Maulings: Before and After.”

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Apr 08 2014

Environmental group sues USGS for NW Montana grizzly bear data

Published by under Environmental Issues,News

The Alliance for the Wild Rockies is annoyed with federal foot-dragging . . .

A conservation group is suing the U.S. Geological Survey for information on threatened grizzly bears in northwestern Montana.

The Alliance for the Wild Rockies says the USGS failed to respond to a Freedom of Information Act request for reports and findings on the Cabinet-Yaak Grizzly Bear DNA Project.

The project aims to give researchers a better idea of the number of bears in that area through DNA from hair samples.

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Apr 06 2014

Gah! Moose ticks!

Published by under News

The Missoulian has an interesting, but creepy, article on moose ticks. They are a common problem for moose during the winter . . .

The graying look of moose you might see in the field this spring isn’t the result of old age.

It’s likely the work of blood-sucking ticks.

Read more . . .

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Apr 05 2014

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service wolf recovery information online

For those of you who like to dig into source materials, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service maintains a web site with news, information and recovery status reports on gray wolves on the Northern Rockies. You’ll find it here: http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov.

The agency’s “Office of External Affairs” also maintains a page with links to wolf-related press releases, public notices, hearing transcripts, articles and studies at http://www.fws.gov/home/wolfrecovery/.

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