Category Archives: Action Alerts

Support North Fork land use planning updates!

Dear friends and supporters of preserving the North Fork,

 

July was a busy month for us to say the least! Upon the heels of a fabulous, amazing, and historical 40th Annual Meeting, as well as the most epic Polebridge Bear Fair, Flathead County has put NFLUAC on the agenda for their planning meeting on Wednesday, August 10th at 6pm (in person or zoom). Attendance and/or comments to support the recommended text amendment from you all are essential to keeping the North Fork ecosystem intact. I’m passing on the details from our friend and NFLUAC Chair, Randy Kenyon, to encourage each and every one of you to participate in this process. 

 

Thanks for your continued support and good energy!

 

Flannery Freund

NFPA President

Continue reading Support North Fork land use planning updates!

Flathead Forest Special Use Permit comments due May 18

Flathead National Forest
Flathead National Forest

[Updated original April 30 post on May 3 to incorporate various “The Last Best Ride” errata.] The Flathead National Forest has released a “Special Uses Scoping Letter” dated April 26 (PDF, 194KB) discussing this year’s batch of pending Special Use Permits (SUP’s). There has been no press release yet. I suspect we’ll see one next week.

I have had no opportunity to do a deep dive yet, but there are ten SUP’s that affect the North Fork to a greater or lesser extent. I have highlighted those items in the scoping letter and added links to their project documentation. They range from the usual collection of hiking, biking and motorized activities, to a trail run up Nasukoin Mountain, and a late-September marathon from Big Creek to Columbia Falls. Details, including maps, are posted on the forest’s “Projects” page: https://www.fs.usda.gov/projects/flathead/landmanagement/projects. The cover letter lists contact information for comments and inquiries.

Note that most of the project permits impacting the North Fork are not being handled by Hungry Horse-Glacier View Ranger District personnel. Also note that the Forest Service is only responsible for activities occurring on their lands – the marathon, for instance, is mostly a city/county/state issue.

The deadline for comments is May 18!

Download:
Special Uses Scoping Letter with links and highlighting  (PDF, 194KB)

 

Action Alert: Flathead Forest Travel Plan

Flathead National Forest
Flathead National Forest

Flathead National Forest is developing a Travel Plan and comments are due by Tuesday, February 22.  It’s important for them to hear from people that there should be no motorized or mechanized transportation in the Recommended Wilderness in the northern Whitefish Range. These northern areas should be managed just like Wilderness.

Please write a short message to that effect and make sure to communicate your personal connection to the Whitefish Range.

Address the message to:  Forest Supervisor Kurt Steele and District Ranger Rob Davies and send it by email to: comments-northern-flathead@usda.gov

Read the comments submitted by the NFPA Board of Directors here…

NFPA Annual Meeting goes online this year on Oct 2

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

Dear NFPA membership,

It is with some grief and extra caution that I write to inform you all that the NFPA Board has decided it is most appropriate to change our Annual Meeting to a Zoom format given the intensity of the COVID case load in the Flathead. Sally Thompson, our speaker, will take a rain check and deliver her much anticipated presentation next year.

So, instead, we invite you to join us on October 2 for a short business meeting and some exciting organizational updates (including the introduction of our first scholarship recipient) at 5:45pm followed by a photographic journey through the expansive public lands of our great state of Montana by past president, Debo Powers at 6:30pm.

We look forward to “seeing” you all from the comfort of your homes next weekend. You’ll find an online meeting attendance link below . . .

On behalf of the Board and until we meet again,

Flannery Coats, President
North Fork Preservation Association


To join the Zoom meeting . . .
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86754007192?pwd=MVdLVHpNbmhyV3NsdFpMdzBING52dz09

Reminder: Sally Thompson to speak at NFPA Annual Meeting, July 31

Hello friends of the North Fork Preservation Association!

JOIN US!
For the NFPA Annual Meeting
Saturday, July 31 at Sondreson Community Hall

Our speaker this year is
Sally Thompson who co-wrote People Before the Park: The Kootenai and Blackfeet before Glacier National Park.
We would love for you to be among our honored guests.

5:30pm:  Potluck supper

6:45pm:  Short business meeting to elect officers and members of the Board of Directors and report on the work of NFPA

7:30pm:  Speaker

We are excited to spend an evening with all of you, share with you what we’ve been up to, and look forward to a great presentation.

NOTE: The Hay Creek Fire is active in the North Fork. We do not at this time expect it to interfere with our meeting. Of course, wildland fires do not always behave as expected. For information on the Hay Creek Fire, monitor InciWeb at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7712/. More frequent, community-related bulletins can be found on the NFLA site: https://nflandowners.org/.

People Before the Park - cover

ALERT: Less than a week to challenge horrific Montana wolf harvest proposals!

Gray Wolf

Several horrific bills were passed by the 2021 Montana Legislature that will harm wolves and grizzly bears! These include significant reduction of the wolf population through neck snaring, longer seasons, hunting at night with spotlights, larger bag limits, bounties, etc. These proposed changes are based on the angry emotions of a few legislators, and prohibit MT Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) from being able to reasonably manage wolves and bears based on the best science available. The FWP Commission will be voting on these proposed detrimental changes in August. We have until 5pm on July 26 to get comments to our commissioners against these disastrous new laws. Please comment before July 26! In your letter, please recommend “Option 1—Limited New Tools.” For more information & online comment submission go to: https://fwp.mt.gov/hunt/public-comment-opportunities  and click on 2021 WOLF SEASON. You can also email the individual commissioners at:

Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission members

Get those issues in! Interlocal meeting July 14, 1:00pm, at Sondreson Hall

Bob Dunkley explains Park plans for the Polebridge Ranger Station, post Red Bench Fire, at the 1989 Interlocal at Sondreson Hall.

Hi, folks.

The Summer 2021 Interlocal Agreement Meeting is at 1:00pm, on Wednesday, July 14 at Sondreson Community Hall. This summer’s Interlocal is hosted by the North Fork Preservation Association (NFPA). It follows the annual Firewise meeting at 9:30am. Lunch is at noon, with the NFPA providing the main course. If you wish, bring a side dish or desert to share.

For those of you who are new to this, 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.

As a convenience (it’s not required), I’m serving as a central point of contact for issues that North Fork organizations and individuals would like to see addressed by the various government agencies represented at the meeting. If you’ll send me your issues by the afternoon of Tuesday, June 29, I’ll pass them on to the various organizations in enough time for them to prepare their presentations. (Note: Please do not respond via Facebook. Use my email address, wkwalker@nvdi.com.)

Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.

Bill

Forest Service wants to allow expanded touring & guiding on the North Fork

UPDATE: The NFPA’s comments on this issue were submitted to the Forest Service on April 29. Read them here. Or visit the “Official Comments” page.

Flathead National Forest

The Flathead National Forest is seeking public comment on a number of “recreation events and services,” several of which would occur on the North Fork. Only a couple of major requests significantly affect the portion of the North Fork north of Big Creek.

The Hungry Horse News has a good write-up on the situation. The items most relevant to the North Fork are quoted below.  [Clarifying comments are in brackets.]

“Whitefish Shuttle is seeking a permit to provide guided day-use van tours, biking, and hiking on Forest Service system open roads and trails in the North Fork area of the Hungry Horse-Glacier View Ranger District and west of Highway 93 on the Tally Lake Ranger District. The permit would allow for shuttle services and guided van tours, biking, and hiking and between June 1 and Oct. 31 on various system roads and trails including Forest Service Roads 115 [Red Meadow Rd], 376 [Hay Creek Rd], 909 [road from Hay Creek Rd past Cyclone LO trailhead to Coal Creek Rd], 317 [Coal Creek Rd], 316, 315, 5207 [these last three are the route to Moose Lake, starting at the Big Creek Rd turnoff from the North Fork Rd] and Forest Trails 40 [trail to Cyclone LO] and 266 [Demers Ridge Trail – likely the trailhead near the Camas Road intersection that accesses the ‘quad burn’ trail up Glacier View Mountain].”

“Northwest Adventure Sports is requesting a permit to provide guided ATV tours on “various” open motorized system roads on the Tally Lake and Hungry Horse-Glacier View Ranger Districts. Roads currently requested include Forest Roads 9790, 1658, 316 [Big Creek Rd], 115 [Red Meadow Rd]. The permit would allow for guided trips from June 1 until Oct. 31.”

Also note the following other item of interest:

“Spotted Dog Cycles out of Missoula is seeking a permit to run a “bike packing” tour for one week that would stop in the Red Meadow area one night and then drop down into Polebridge. Owner Joe Riemensnider said the entire tour, which will last six days in July, will cover about 150 miles, but only two are actually in the North Fork.”

The deadline for comments is May 1, although this may be extended. Please read the full official announcement document for details on how to submit comments for the various projects.

Read more at the Hungry Horse News . . .

Read the official Forest Service announcement here . . .

Glacier Gateway Project seeks backing

Map showing proposed Glacier Gateway Project land acquisition
Map showing proposed Glacier Gateway Project land acquisition

In case you haven’t heard about it already, the Vital Ground Foundation and the US Forest Service are working on something called the “Glacier Gateway Project.”

They are proposing to acquire two properties totaling about 23 acres using Land and Water Conservation Funds (LWCF). The parcels are along the section of the Polebridge Loop Road between the Polebridge Mercantile and the entrance to Glacier National Park. The acquisition would connect adjacent public lands managed by the Flathead National Forest along the designated Wild and Scenic corridor of the North Fork Flathead River.

The owners of both properties are willing sellers who wish to protect their lands from further development. (There are rumors that one potential buyer wanted to build an RV park.)

Also note that he Pacific Northwest Trail runs along the Polebridge Loop Road after the trail emerges from Glacier Park. Hikers sharing the road with motorized traffic, especially during tourist season, is less than ideal. Acquiring the Glacier Gateway parcels makes it easier for the Forest Service to achieve its eventual goal of a separate trail parallel to the road.

Here’s the deal: Vital Ground and the Forest Service are hoping to get individuals and organizations to send in letters of support for this proposal *by the end of the month.*

Want to read more? Here are the project documents:

Glacier Gateway Project Fact Sheet
Glacier Gateway Project Pictures
Glacier Gateway Project Sample Support Letter (Word format; also see note below)

NOTE: Even though the sample letter is addressed to Leanne Marten, the USFS Regional Forester, please send letters of support (by email preferably) to Mitch Doherty at the Vital Ground Foundation so that he can scan them and include them with the application submission. Here is Mitch’s contact information:

Mitch Doherty
Conservation Program Manager
Vital Ground Foundation
20 Fort Missoula Rd 59804-7202
Missoula, MT
(406) 549-8650
MDoherty@VitalGround.org