Forest Service seeks input on the ‘Crystal Cedar’ Project

Crystal Cedar Project General Vicinity Map
Crystal Cedar Project General Vicinity Map

From the official press release . . .

The Hungry Horse-Glacier View Ranger District of the Flathead National Forest is asking for public input on management opportunities on National Forest System lands north of Columbia Falls and west of the Flathead River. This area includes Crystal Creek, Cedar Flats, Spoon Lake, Blankenship, and Teakettle Mountain.

The Crystal Cedar project aims to reduce hazardous fuels in the wildland-urban interface, improve the health and diversity of forest vegetation communities, and provide a range of trail-based recreation opportunities near the community of Columbia Falls.

The Flathead National Forest wants to hear from you. We want to understand how the community uses the area and what types of management you want to see. Comments are most helpful if provided by December 15, 2017.

More details about the Crystal Cedar project area, a map of the project area, and instructions on how to provide information to the district can be found online at The Web site also allows you to subscribe to electronic updates on the project so you can stay up to date on project development.

To find out more about the project, please contact Sarah Canepa, project team leader, at the Hungry Horse Ranger Station, 406-387-3800.

Conservation groups to sue Flathead Forest over road management

Lake in Flathead National Forest
Lake in Flathead National Forest

A coalition of conservation groups intends to sue the Flathead Forest over their management of logging roads . . .

In what may be the first shot fired over the bow of the soon-to-be-released new Flathead National Forest land use plan, three conservation groups filed intent to sue over management of the logging roads on the 2.4-million acre forest.

The groups claim the forest hasn’t met its obligations under the Endangered Species Act to protect threatened bull trout due to inadequate management and monitoring of logging roads, in particular the thousands of culverts that can fail and deposit sediment into trout streams.

Flathead National Forest Supervisor Chip Weber said that while he can’t comment on the pending lawsuit, he will say the water quality on the Flathead Forest is the most pristine of any place he’s worked before, including Alaska.

Read more . . .

A hero of the North Fork

John Frederick - by Steven Gnam
John Frederick – by Steven Gnam

Tristan Scott of the Flathead Beacon posted a lengthy article on the passing of John Frederick.

See also John’s obituary . . .

Anyone who knew John Frederick is mourning the passing of a man who stood out as a pillar of the North Fork, the wild and scenic river corridor tracking the boundary of Glacier National Park, where he played prominent roles as affable innkeeper and ardent activist, a pioneering preservationist and honorary mayor who fought mightily to protect a place that captivated him for more than four decades.

By all accounts, he succeeded.

Frederick died Nov. 15 after a long struggle with bladder cancer. He was 74.

In the days following his death, friends and neighbors have reflected on his legacy as the unofficial “Mayor of Polebridge,” a well-deserved honorific that won’t soon be bestowed elsewhere as Frederick’s spirit presides over his beloved community and the environmental safeguards he fostered.

Read more . . .

Protesters greet appearance by controversial land-use attorney

Grazing rights attorney Karen Budd-Falen’s presentation last Saturday was not exactly an unqualified success . . .

A controversial land-use attorney drew more than 100 protesters and as many supporters to Hamilton Middle School Saturday, but the topic of her talk with county residents was interpreted differently by people attending the event.

Karen Budd-Falen, the Wyoming-based grazing-rights lawyer leading President Donald Trump’s shortlist for Bureau of Land Management director, presented guidelines on land-use planning to Ravalli County residents.

Protesters characterized Budd-Falen as a supporter of privatizing public land, or at least supporting policies proven to lead to land sell-offs.

Read more . . .

Our NCDE grizzlies

Grizzly Bear - courtesy NPS
Grizzly Bear – courtesy NPS

Debo Powers, NFPA President, passed along the following information . . .

The Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE) grizzly bear population is “The Heart of the Grizzly Nation.” This population is crucial to recovery in the rest of the lower 48 populations. As the federal government moves toward delisting these magnificent creatures, we need to become informed.

Dr. David Mattson is building a website intended to bring together much of the information that is known about grizzlies, including demography, diet and habitat, and conservation:

There will be a meeting of the NCDE Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee in Missoula on November 29 from 9:00am to 4:00pm. There will be updates from various agencies working on the grizzly bear recovery plan and a time for public comment at the end of the meeting.

Missoulian: North Fork bids goodbye to wildland advocate Frederick

John Frederick on his horse Skippy - photo by Kristian Denny
John Frederick on his horse Skippy – photo by Kristian Denny

Rob Chaney of the Missoulian posted an excellent article on yesterday’s passing of John Frederick. Rob put a lot of work into this on very short notice.

See also John’s obituary . . .

Friends of John Frederick mourn the passing of a man equally persuasive with grizzly bears on his screened porch and politicians pestering his beloved Polebridge.

The longtime advocate of all wild things along the North Fork of the Flathead River died of bladder cancer on Nov. 15. He was 74.

“We were friends, notwithstanding our opinions on natural resource things,” frequent debating foe Larry Wilson said Frederick. The two North Fork neighbors were famous for arguing opposite sides at public meetings and then carpooling home together.

Read more . . .

HHN: John Frederick, the ‘Mayor of Polebridge’ dies

John Frederick, North Fork Hero
John Frederick, North Fork Hero

Chris Peterson of the Hungry Horse News posted a nice tribute to John Frederick this week.

See also John’s obituary . . .

John Frederick, a North Fork icon, died on Wednesday morning after a long illness. He was 74.

Frederick, who was often referred to as the “Mayor of Polebridge” was one of the founding members of the North Fork Preservation Association in 1982. The association opposed the paving of the North Fork Road and promoted protection of the North Fork of the Flathead River from proposed coal mining operations in the Canada, a fight that lasted decades. He served as president for more than 30 years.

Frederick was an environmental advocate from an early age. In a 2001 Hungry Horse News interview, he recalled starting a group as a young man in his native Ohio called the “Waste Watchers.”

Read more . . .

Champion of the North Fork John Frederick dies

John Frederick at the 1987 Polebridge Forth of July parade
John Frederick at the 1987 Polebridge Forth of July parade

John Frederick, champion of the North Fork and a founder of the North Fork Preservation Association, died today following a long illness. John passed away peacefully, his final weeks filled with the affection, laughter and tears of friends, family and well-wishers.

Here is John’s obituary, written by long-time friend and North Fork historian Lois Walker. We’ll post additional information as it becomes available . . .

Long-time Polebridge resident and champion of the North Fork, John Frederick, Jr., passed away on November 15. He was 74.

He was born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1943, to John and Betty Watson Frederick. He attended school in Marion, Ohio, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from The Ohio State University. He served in the U.S. Army from 1966 to 1969, stationed for almost two years in Alaska.

John moved to Montana in 1976, living first near Olney and then at Rogers Lake. In the fall of 1978, he and his former wife purchased a residence in Polebridge and converted it into the North Fork Hostel. He managed the Hostel with welcoming grace for nearly 30 years, providing comfortable and hospitable lodging for travelers from around the globe and a popular gathering place for North Fork events.

He was an ardent outdoorsman, hiking the trails and camping in Glacier National Park and the Whitefish Range, navigating the lakes and rivers of the area, participating in Mountain Man Rendezvous events, and supporting a wide range of wildlife initiatives and wilderness proposals.

John Frederick with Bernie the Toe-Biter- photo by Carol Vuchetich
John Frederick with Bernie the Toe-Biter- photo by Carol Vuchetich

In 1982, he founded the North Fork Preservation Association to advocate against paving of the North Fork Road and to promote protection of the North Fork River from proposed coal mining operations in the Canadian Flathead. He served as president of the organization for nearly 30 years. NFPA annual meetings became a fixture of North Fork summer fare, with interesting and educational speakers. The NFPA also supported extensive trail maintenance and fire lookout preservation in the Hungry Horse Ranger District, as well as preservation of the Kishenehn Ranger Station in Glacier National Park.

He served on the board of directors of the North Fork Improvement Association for many years. He was also a member of the North Fork Land Use Advisory Committee and a board member of the former Glacier National Park Associates. He served on the board of Headwaters Montana for many years, participated in the recent Whitefish Range Partnership, and was a member of numerous conservation associations and initiatives.

From 1983-1985 John authored a weekly column about North Fork happenings in the Hungry Horse News. He inevitably served as announcer for the eclectic and unpredictable Polebridge 4th of July parade and earned the well-deserved honorific “Mayor of Polebridge.” He was a long-time member of North Valley Search and Rescue, and also helped found the Polebridge Irregulars fire-fighting team.

John Frederick at home in October 2011
John Frederick at home in October 2011

In 2014 he received a Conservation Achievement Award from the Flathead Audubon Society in honor of his 35-year effort to keep the North Fork wild. He will be long and well remembered for his soft-mannered yet persistent personality, his wry sense of humor, his dedication to environmental consciousness, and his tireless efforts in the interests of wildlife and wilderness conservation.

He is survived by a sister, Bonnie Lee Hankey, of Harveysburg, Ohio, a brother Alfred William Frederick (Imaculada) of Tampa, Fla., and nine nieces, nephews, and grandnieces and nephews.

Burial will be at Woodlawn Cemetery in Columbia Falls. Announcement of a celebration of John’s life will be forthcoming.

Grizzly delisting not a simple decision

Grizzly bear recovery zones - US Fish and Wildlife Service
Grizzly bear recovery zones – US Fish and Wildlife Service

Here’s a good overview article from the Daily Inter Lake discussing the complexity of the upcoming decision on delisting grizzly bears in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem . . .

For four years, research ecologist Tabitha Graves has studied grizzly bears at the U.S. Geological Survey’s NOROCK West Glacier Field Station.

The hulking ursines bring more than tourists to Northwest Montana. “They have a pretty big role in this ecosystem,” she told the Daily Inter Lake. “We don’t often think about these kinds of details, but they disperse a lot of seeds, [and] they dig a lot,” helping circulate nutrients through the forest floor.

Understanding their benefits requires estimating the number of bears in the region – no easy task in a 16,000-square-mile “demographic monitoring area.” Graves and her colleagues add barbed wire to the tree trunks that bears rub along, then have the hair they collect DNA-sequenced, gaining a sense of which individual bears frequent which spots.

Read more . . .

Diane Boyd talks about wolf recovery and protection

Collared Wolf - courtesy USFWS
Collared Wolf – courtesy USFWS

Diane Boyd gave a well-received presentation last Wednesday during a seminar hosted at the University of Montana W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation . . .

A lot of people talk about the important role federal and state lands play in protecting wolves, but Diane Boyd, a wolf and carnivore specialist, said those public landscapes often are at high elevation and don’t harbor wintering populations of deer and elk.

In fact, the scientist said Wednesday that wolves need both private and public lands protected, and the private swaths are critically important.

“They hold the key, in addition to the federal lands, to maintaining grizzly bears, wolves, elk, deer, everything,” Boyd said.

Read more . . .