Category Archives: Action Alerts

Alert: Ask the EPA to perform a full cleanup of the CFAC Superfund site

Dear friends of the North Fork,

Alongside many Flathead conservation groups, we are asking our supporters and members to please sign the EPA petition to get CFAC and the main stem of the Flathead river cleaned up once and for all! From headwaters to main waters, you can be a part of the bigger, cleaner picture. There’s more work to come, but for now, you can learn more and sign your name to the petition by visiting the Coalition for a Clean CFAC website.

You can also read a short summary of the situation below.

Flannery Freund
NFPA President


Summary written by Peter Metcalf; lightly edited here…

We are reaching out to you about the cleanup of the Columbia Falls Aluminum Plant Superfund site in hope you may be concerned and willing to help. We are part of a growing group of concerned citizens who are pressing for a complete cleanup of the approximately 1.2 million cubic yards of contaminants that remain on site. It’s a doozy of nasty chemicals, including cyanide, fluoride, arsenic and selenium. The proposed “cleanup” plan would leave all this waste on site where it can potentially leach into nearby drinking water wells or the Flathead river. Rather than restored or redeveloped, the 960-acre site would be mostly off limits to future human uses. For years the local citizens and the elected leaders have consistently asked for the waste to be removed. But CFAC did not analyze this option during the feasibility study. The company simply dismissed it as too costly and too disruptive to local communities to truck the waste and too costly. (They conveniently glossed over the fact that for nearly 20 years they removed toxic waste by the existing rail line to a hazardous waste landfill out of state.

We are at a critical juncture. The EPA is reviewing the proposed plan and expects to issue a decision this spring. We are trying to get the EPA to stop their decision making process and require a full cost-benefit analysis be conducted before issuing a final plan. We are also trying to organize a community visioning process to help determine the future uses of the site. So how can you help?

  1. Please sign the petition to the EPA on our Coalition’s website.
  2. Please share the petition with others. You can do so by forwarding the website link or by passing along the flyer and paper petition to collect signatures (linked below). We need as many signatures as possible.
  3. Contact our elected officials (especially the county commissioners) and ask them to tell the EPA they do not support the proposed waste-in-place plan.

Flyer & petition document links:
Coalition for a Clean CFAC flyer
Petition to the EPA



Great Fish Challenge ends tomorrow! Donate!

From Flannery Freund, NFPA President…

Hello Friends and Fanatics of the North Fork!

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!

So, if you don’t mind, take 3 minutes and scroll to the bottom of and donate now!!!

Thanks for all your support you guys! We look forward to chatting more as the summer comes to an end! Cheers!

NFPA Annual Meeting, Sat., July 22, at Sondreson Hall!

For this year’s annual meeting we’ve invited Liz Fairbanks, a Road Ecologist at The Center for Large Landscapes, to help us better understand the role a road (or road systems) plays in an ecosystem.

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.

Alert: SB379 threatens North Fork zoning protections

[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.

We are asking you to do two simple things:

  1. Call or email your senator, Carl Glimm, in opposition of SB379: (406) 751-7334 or
  2. Call 406-444-4800 and simply leave a message for all senate local government committee members in opposition of SB379.
  3. 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.

More folks to contact if you’re feeling hot: has more useful information.

Alert: North Fork Land use planning needs your help!

Happy Fall dear NFPA members!

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!


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:; and  The physical address is: 800 S. Main, Kalispell MT  59901.   If you’re not up to letter writing, you can submit a comment here:    The County Commissioner’s hearing is set for November 1, 2022 at 09:00, third floor of the courthouse.


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!

Cheers and larch needles,

Flannery Coats Freund
NFPA President

Document links:
North Fork Zoning Text Amendment Overview
NFLUAC Commissioner Letter Oct 2022
NFLUAC Text amendment with italics Oct 5 2022

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: 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!

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:

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