As usual, the North Fork Preservation Association has a contingent attending the Roundtable on the Crown of the Continent Conference. This year, it’s in Missoula and actually getting some press coverage . . .
With one wildfire menacing Going-to-the-Sun Road and another threatening to hop the Continental Divide into the Two Medicine basin, the last thing Jeff Mow needed last August was a new burn starting next to the isolated Goat Haunt Ranger Station along Waterton Lake.
“It may have broken all kinds of rules, but we delegated management of that fire to Parks Canada,” the Glacier National Park superintendent told the Crown of the Continent Roundtable audience Wednesday. “It was the right thing to do. And it speaks to the shared values at risk and the comfort we had working with each other. They had put the town of Waterton Lake on evacuation notice during that event. And we signed away delegation of authority to Canada in that case.”
Fortunately, the little fire only burned a couple of dozen acres before Canadian helicopters and ground crews controlled it – on the American end of Waterton Lake’s transboundary waters. But for Mow and many others at the international conference on the University of Montana campus this week, it was evidence of how political boundaries can become permeable when the needs of large landscapes take prominence.
While that kind of cross-border cooperation is fairly new, Mow said it built on an idea that’s decades old…