All posts by nfpa

Dave Hadden: Teck hasn’t gotten the job done

Lake Koocanusa
Lake Koocanusa

Dave Hadden’s recent op-ed in the Flathead Beacon is yet another reminder of why we really don’t want open pit coal mining in the transboundary Flathead Drainage . . .

The Beacon’s June 20 story detailing Teck Coal’s selenium pollution of Lake Koocanusa was barely off the presses when the company had responded with a letter to the editor (June 25) denying that its water treatment plant is failing. Either the Beacon got its facts wrong, or Teck’s conveying false facts. Which one has the long nose?

This is what Teck said in its letter to the editor: “The water treatment facility at our Line Creek Operations is operating and successfully achieving design specifications for reducing selenium and nitrate concentrations in treated water.”

This is what Teck’s Director of Environmental Performance said recently: “We [Teck] clearly and fully violated the intent of the facility, but we have met the requirements of the permit.”

Translation (and just as claimed in the Beacon article) Teck’s water treatment plant is releasing less selenium, but a chemical variety of selenium that is up to 200 times more available for absorption by aquatic organisms. This means that the water treatment plant has worsened the selenium pollution problem.

It’s hard to figure why Teck continues to claim it has succeeded when it has failed.

Ralph Waldo Emerson remarked in the 1800s that, “The reward of a thing well done, is to have done it.” Teck hasn’t gotten the job done. It hasn’t cleaned up the Elk River, its pollution continues to flow across the border, it continues to mine coal, and the province of British Columbia has rewarded the company for not succeeding by not revoking permits for four new big mines.

At this point in time Montanans can be assured that we’re the settling pond for Teck’s mining in the Kootenai watershed as a consequence of BC inadequate and broken mine evaluation, permitting, and enforcement process.

Dave Hadden, director
Headwaters Montana

Olympic National Park to get rid of its mountain goats

Mountain Goat - David Restivo-NPS
Mountain Goat – David Restivo-NPS

One area’s natural wonder is another’s invasive specie . . .

The mountain goats at Olympic National Park in Washington have worn out their their welcome and park officials are moving ahead with plans to get rid of them.

On Monday the National Park Service released a mountain goat management plan, laying out three methods of dealing with the population, which park officials say not only is damaging the environment but is dangerous to people.

One method is killing the animals with shotguns or high-powered rifles. The other is relocating them. And the last option is a combination of the two.

Read more . . .

Timothy Egan: The last best empty place in America

Three Types of Public Lands
Three types of public lands: Flathead National Forest is in the foreground, left and right; Montana’s Coal Creek State Forest, including Cyclone Lake, is in the middle distance; Glacier National Park stretches across the background.

Timothy Egan, a frequent op-ed contributor to the New York Times, wrote this punchy tribute to public lands . . .

At dawn the woodpeckers start in, hammering heads against tree trunks, and you wonder if there’s a better way for a bird to make a living. Oh, the avian migraines. Twilight lingers till nearly 11 p.m.; if there’s a decent moon, you can fish in the silver light of Montana’s longest days.

When the sun is high, you swing from a rope tied to a cedar tree and drop into the great grip of the Kootenai River current, then swim back to the raft, to float and cast a fly line and look at ospreys and take in the grandeur of this land — your land, my land, an immense national forest.

Teddy Roosevelt left his initials on the outside wall of the community hall of Troy, a little shrug of a town along the river. But he left much more than that here in the far corner of northwest Montana and all over the West: an endowment to every American, rich and poor alike, their inheritance of public land.

Read more . . .

Waterton-Glacier Science and History Day, July 25

From the official press release . . .

Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park will host the 14th annual Waterton-Glacier Science and History Day on Tuesday, July 25th, from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm at the West Glacier Community Building in Glacier National Park.

The event is free of charge, and open to the public. Attendees are encouraged to bring a sack lunch to enjoy during the one-hour lunch break. Held yearly on the fourth Tuesday in July, this event alternates between the two national parks with Glacier hosting in odd years, and Waterton Lakes hosting in even years.

Science and History Day is an opportunity for the public to hear the latest results from scientists and historians carrying out projects in and around the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. Presentations for this year are grouped into themes of history, wildlife, and aquatic and land environments.

Continue reading Waterton-Glacier Science and History Day, July 25

Chrisman Family named Tree Farmers of the Year

Chrisman Family - Tree Farmers of the Year 2016

Wow! First the Hoilands, now the Chrismans . . .

About 50 yards from the Chrisman family home up the North Fork, there’s a lodgepole pine tree. It isn’t doing very well, at least not compared to the trees near it. The bark is rubbed off in several spots and the tree, quite frankly, has seen better days.

But Allen Chrisman won’t cut it down, even though he runs a tree farm on the 300-plus acre spread, because the lodgepole pine is a special tree for the bears that roam through the place. About a dozen or so grizzlies have stopped by the lodgepole, for whatever bear reason, to rub their backs, shoulders and bellies on that tree. Black bears stop by and rub, too and every once in awhile a mountain lion or a wolf gives it a sniff.

Chrisman knows this because he set up a critter cam nearby, and has many of the encounters record.

Read more . . .

Vital Ground, Nature Conservancy team up on North Fork Flathead easement

View From Polebridge Palace

From a press release announcing the recent “Polebridge Palace” sale . . .

A property that helped turn Montana’s North Fork Flathead River into a conservation stronghold is changing hands but remaining wild, as The Vital Ground Foundation has teamed up with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and new landowners on a conservation easement protecting 142 acres of forestland and wildlife habitat known as Polebridge Palace.

On the pine-strewn benches above the North Fork Flathead, the area will remain a haven for grizzly bears, Canada lynx, and other sensitive wildlife, as well as a part of the protected Glacier National Park viewshed that annually attracts millions of domestic and international tourists. Meanwhile, TNC can ensure an undeveloped future for a place that once hosted the group’s early momentum-building events in the valley.

“We’re very excited,” said Greg Lambert, transactions manager for TNC’s Montana chapter. “We decided a few years ago that the best option for TNC was not to own it, but as a conservation organization, we wanted the property protected in perpetuity and would never have sold it without an easement in place.”

The agreement includes TNC selling the acreage to new private buyers while donating a conservation easement to Vital Ground, a nonprofit land trust based in Missoula that works to connect and protect key habitat for grizzly bears and other wildlife. The easement stipulates that the new landowners will not develop the forested property beyond its current house and small outbuildings, keeping the bulk of the property preserved as habitat that will help reduce bear-human conflicts in the area.

Read more . . .

Ellen Horowitz’ new Glacier Park book released

What I Saw in Glacier - cover
What I Saw in Glacier – cover

Long-time NFPA member and stalwart Ellen Horowitz just had a new book published . . .

Columbia Falls author Ellen Horowitz is no stranger to natural history writing for kids.

She’s a freelance writer whose work appears in magazines like Ranger Rick. Her pieces have won national awards, including the National Wildlife Federation’s Trudy Farrand and John Strohm Magazine Writing Award, and she took first place in the Outdoor Writers Association of America’s Excellence in Craft contest.

Horowitz was asked to write “What I Saw in Glacier, A Kid’s Guide to the National Park” as a sequel to the popular “What I Saw in Yellowstone,” written by Durrae Johanek.

Read more . . .

Summer 2017 NFPA Newsletter online

2017 NFPA Newsletter header
2017 NFPA Newsletter header

For those of you who can’t wait on the mail, the North Fork Preservation Association Summer 2017 Newsletter is now available online in the “Newsletters” section of the website. Enjoy!

Here’s a partial table of contents:

  • Challenges and Hope (President’s letter)
  • Working Group Reports:
    – Watershed Issues
    – Wildlife Issues
    – Wilderness Issues
  • Volunteers Needed for Citizen Science Project on the North Fork
  • Collaboration: Bringing People Together in a Divisive World

Summer North Fork Interlocal Agreement Meeting coming up July 19

Sondreson Hall, circa 2010
Sondreson Hall, circa 2010

The Summer 2017 North Fork Interlocal Agreement Meeting is at 1:00pm, on Wednesday, July 19 at Sondreson Hall. This year’s sponsor is the North Fork Preservation Association.

Interlocal meetings are held twice each year, winter and summer. These semi-annual get-togethers are intended to encourage open discussion between North Fork landowners and neighbors and local, state and federal agencies.

In other words, it’s a big deal if you have an interest in the North Fork.

Preceding the Interlocal meeting, is the annual FireWise Day Workshop at 9:30 a.m. and lunch at noon. Lunch is a community potluck, with the NFPA supplying the main course and drinks.

UofM scientist publishes new pine marten research

Pine Marten - USFWS
Pine Marten – USFWS

The most interesting part of this article is the discussion of species hybridization, the process that apparently produced the pine martens living in our area of the country . . .

If you’re going to learn something new about the pine marten, you might need a good hair trap.

Natalie Dawson, a research professor at the University of Montana, published findings this year in the Journal of Mammalogy about the pine marten, a member of the weasel family. To learn about the creature and its environment in the Pacific Northwest, Dawson needed hair samples.

“It’s not as easy as snaring grizzly bear hair because these are really small creatures,” said Dawson, also director of UM’s Wilderness Institute.

Read more . . .