The aspen trees are beginning to shed and the currently brilliant blue skies offer the perfect backdrop. The river continues to tickle the valley bottoms as critters actively scramble the shrubs for the last of the dried up berries.
For many of us this is the best time of year-but, come to think of it-we say that every season, don’t we?!
Well, beyond sending you all a celebratory fall greetings I’m writing to let you all know that we have until the end of tomorrow, September 15th, to donate to a local fundraising campaign called the Great Fish Challenge. This annual fundraising event provides much of the years operating budget for many local non-profits and, although we are not participating, the NFPA would like to ask you to donate today! In particular, to the Flathead Rivers Alliance. As a partner organization to NFPA, contributing to their efforts will directly help us in our mission to preserve the wildlife, wilderness and watershed of the North Fork Valley!
The Flathead Beacon has a reader poll running on their web site titled “Are You in Favor of Paving the North Fork Road to Camas?” It’s near the bottom of their home page on the right. (On a smartphone, just keep scrolling down.)
[UPDATE! The hearing on SB379 is scheduled for Monday, February 20, at 10:00am! ]
Greetings NFPA members and keepers of the wild. We hope this message finds you well. We are writing today because we need your help! About 2 minutes of your time in total.
We just learned that Steve Fitzpatrick (SD 10) just introduced SB379, a bill that would prohibit existing and future minimum lot size zoning regulations beyond 3 miles of a municipality. Minimum lot sizes would be left up to the Montana DEQ based on septic/well permits (typically 1 acre). This bill stands in direct contrast of the North Fork’s 20 acre lot minimum that maintains the basic values like solitude and wilderness that brought us all here.
Call 406-444-4800 and simply leave a message for all senate local government committee members in opposition of SB379.
Okay, yeah we only said two, but if you have more time, you can testify as well!
Here are directions on how to testify.The hearing is now expected this coming Monday, February 20, at 1:00am. Testimony from North Fork landowners will be very helpful. Consider the talking points of our “Montana way of life, rural values, community character, keeping Montana like it is”, etc.
If you are an NFPA member and a landowner, this call is to you! If you’re a member and not a landowner, feel free to familiarize yourself with the material (below) and write some letter to our commissioners anyways! Thanks for all your support, today and always…
It’s time for North Fork Landowners to get our revised zoning Text Amendment across the finish line with the County Commissioners! The North Fook Land Use Advisory Committee (NFLUAC) needs your help!
WHY IT MATTERS:
Many of you have previously written extremely helpful letters of support for the Text Amendment. We understand there is “planning fatigue”, but we need you to rally yourselves one last time and submit letters of support! Personalized letters pack the biggest punch, especially if they say WHY this matters to you:
Do you have a personal story about how you’ve been, or in the future may be, negatively affected if the zoning is NOT updated?
Are you concerned because our zoning is decades out of date and doesn’t meet current growth needs?
Are you concerned because our original zoning is sometimes confusing or ambiguous and leads to conflict within the community?
Please send a letter of support to the County Commissioners before the November 1, 2022 hearing, the earlier the better to ensure it is received and read. Their email addresses are: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. The physical address is: 800 S. Main, Kalispell MT 59901. If you’re not up to letter writing, you can submit a comment here: email@example.com. The County Commissioner’s hearing is set for November 1, 2022 at 09:00, third floor of the courthouse.
WANT MORE INFORMATION?
A brief Summary of the Text Amendment, the Text Amendment itself and our letter to the Commissioners are linked below. Italicized portions of the Text Amendment are those which are unchanged from the existing regulations.
Thanks again for taking the time to participate in the future of the North Fork!
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!
[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.
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.
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