Category Archives: Environmental Issues

Larry Wilson: Remembering Frederick

John Frederick - by Steven Gnam
John Frederick – by Steven Gnam

Larry Wilson had nice things to say about the NFPA 40th anniversary annual meeting in his Hungry Horse News column this week . . .

I still miss John Frederick. Over the years we became close friends although our political views were usually completely opposed. We had hundreds of political discussions and we both enjoyed them. We both recognized that the other had the same or similar goals in mind—we just differed on how to reach those goals.

I thought of John a lot this week because he was one of the founders of the North Fork Preservation Association which celebrated its fortieth anniversary this week, and there were photos of John and even a sweatshirt with his likeness on it.

I have never been a member of the NFPA, but I always try to attend their annual meeting The business portion is always short—they tend to re-elect their officers almost automatically—John Frederick was president for over twenty years and our friend Frank Vitale was Vice-President for an equal number of years.

What they do have every year, including this year, is a knowledgeable, interesting and informative speaker. Also, I really enjoy the members and the opportunity to see and talk with them.

Read more…

New Study Shows Risks of Moving Grizzlies

Trail camera in the Cabinet-Yaak Ecosystem shows a sow grizzly and two cubs at a hair corral site used to collect DNA samples - Wayne Kasworth, USFWS
Trail camera in the Cabinet-Yaak Ecosystem shows a sow grizzly and two cubs at a hair corral site used to collect DNA samples – Wayne Kasworth, USFWS

Looks like the success rate for relocating grizzlies is not very encouraging . . .

Moving grizzly bears is no easy task. It’s far better to let them move themselves.

That’s the takeaway from a new study published in The Wildlife Society’s Journal of Wildlife Management. The investigation analyzes 40 years of grizzly translocation events performed in Alberta, Canada. It determines that out of 110 attempts, just 33 translocations—or 30 percent—succeeded.

That conclusion supports some long-established foundations for our work here at Vital Ground. Wildlife managers use translocation both to remove problem bears from an area and to bolster recovering grizzly populations. In either case, the new research demonstrates that relocating bears is far from a cure-all.

Continue reading . . .

Great article on the NFPA’s 40th!

NFPA LogoChris Peterson of the Hungry Horse News wrote a great article on the History of the North Fork Preservation Association on the occasion of its 40th anniversary . . .

The year was 1982. The Canadians were eyeing lopping off the top of a mountain just north of Glacier National Park for the Cabin Creek coal mine.

The results for the North Fork of the Flathead River would have been wide-reaching and deleterious for the Park and the river.

So a few like-minded North Forkers got together and decided to fight the mine…

Read more . . .

Bear Resistant Containers Available for Loan or Purchase

Grizzly trying to open Kodiak Can
Grizzly trying to open Kodiak Can

NFPA/Polebridge Bear Smart is offering Kodiak brand 96 gallon bear resistant garbage containers for loan or purchase at a reduced price. This opportunity is being made to the Polebridge community with the help of grants and private donations.

Purchase price per canister is $300.
Canister Loan Program fee is on an able-to-pay basis.

Kodiak Can

Cans are available now! Please contact Suzanne Hildner sdhildner@icloud.com or (406) 253-3263 to purchase or rent.

Help the Polebridge Community be BEAR SMART!!

The North Fork Presentation Association together with Humanities Montana hosts a Montana Conversation: “An Inconvenient Grizzly” with Greg Smith

Sow grizzly bear spotted near Camas Creek in northwestern Montana. - Montana FWP
Sow grizzly bear spotted near Camas Creek in northwestern Montana. – Montana FWP

The North Fork Preservation Association hosts Montana Conversation “An Inconvenient Grizzly” with Greg Smith on July 4th at 3:00pm. The program is being presented at Home Ranch Bottoms 8950 North Fork Road. The presentation is free and open to the public. Funding for Montana Conversations is provided by Humanities Montana through grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Montana’s Cultural Trust, and private donations.

Humans have been on the North American scene for an estimated 30,000 to 15,000years. Our arrival was preceded by the grizzly bear by perhaps 20,000 years – who would cross the same tenuous landscape bridge, arriving in North America some50,000 to 60,000 years ago. It is estimated that by the time of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, upwards of 5,000 to 10,000 grizzly bears roamed the American West. The settlement period of the West would see a dramatic decline in grizzly bear numbers and a corresponding decrease in available habitat. Now, as New West meets Old West,grizzly bear numbers are a focal point of concern and contention. Join Smith in biological, cultural, and philosophical look at the grizzly bear in contemporary Montana.

Greg Smith lives in Bozeman and was a Ranger Naturalist and Back-country Ranger in Glacier National Park for nearly 20 years. A longtime believer in the power of education,Smith now works with kids and adults as a storyteller, naturalist and historian. In his spare time, Greg enjoys trail running, backpacking, Nordic skiing and traveling the world on his bike.

For more information, please contact Flannery Freund at (406) 888-5572.

Private campgrounds complicating bear conflict management

Female grizzly relocated to North Fork from lower Depuyer Creek area in May 2019 following livestock depredation
Female grizzly relocated to North Fork from lower Depuyer Creek area in May 2019 following livestock depredation

Timely article concerning Flathead area bear conflict management problems . . .

Privately-run campgrounds are adding another complication for wildlife managers trying to reduce human conflicts with grizzly bears, experts said this week.

On Thursday, the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem subcommittee met in Kalispell to review last year’s management of NCDE grizzly bears and discuss future challenges as more people with little wildlife awareness move to western Montana. Another 50 members of the committee and the public joined the meeting online.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks grizzly research biologist Cecily Costello summarized the 2021 data that showed the NCDE population is stable based upon the 2017 Conservation Strategy criteria. However, 44 bears, including 11 cubs, died within the primary conservation area and the surrounding Zone 1 buffer area – stretching from Eureka south to the Ninemile Valley, east over Rogers Pass and north through the Blackfeet Reservation.

Continue reading . . .

Flathead Wild & Scenic River live webinar, March 30th, 7pm

Poster announcing Flathead Wild & Scenic River Live Webinar, March 30th, 2022 7:00-8:00 pm MSTFlathead Rivers Alliance is hosting the Flathead Wild & Scenic River CRMP 101: How does management of Wild & Scenic Rivers work? free live webinar on Wednesday, March 30th, 2022, from 7:00-8:00 pm MST. In anticipation of the public participation portion on the Three Forks of the Flathead CRMP draft, this live webinar provides an opportunity to learn the ins and outs of river management plans from regional and local experts. An opportunity for the public to participate in CRMPs only happens every 15 to 20 years. Registration is required for this FREE webinar. If you don’t plan on attending virtually, you can register to receive a video recording and submit your questions via email ahead of time. Learn more: www.flatheadrivers.org/events

Webinar Registration: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/6116443358206/WN_E7n1YQ8HTkiwI9wwKy1ZiQ


Also, the Flathead Rivers Alliance is ramping up for the 2022 river season and recruiting 20-30 volunteer team members! Are you passionate about the river system that inspired a national protected Wild and Scenic River system? They are expanding their River Ambassador program and officially launching a River Recreation Monitoring Survey program.

  • April 12th, 2022 6:00-8:00 pm River Ambassador Training 
  • April 14th, 2022 6:00-8:00 pm River Recreation Monitoring Training 

There are a number of ways to give your time including helping with their volunteer programs on the North, Middle and South Forks of the Flathead River. Save the above dates and RSVP at info@flatheadrivers.org if you’re interested in one or both of their volunteer program trainings or other opportunities.

Federal Protections for Gray Wolves Restored

A gray wolf in Yellowstone National Park - Jacob W. Frank, NPS
A gray wolf in Yellowstone National Park – Jacob W. Frank, NPS

Federal protections for gray wolves have been restored, except for those states where gray wolf endangered species status has already been removed by congress . . .

A judge has ordered federal protections restored for gray wolves across much of the U.S. after they were removed in the waning days of the Trump administration.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White said in Thursday’s ruling that the Fish and Wildlife Service failed to show wolf populations could be sustained in the Midwest and portions of the West without protection under the Endangered Species Act.

Wildlife advocates had argued state-sponsored hunting threatened to reverse the gray wolf’s recovery over the past several decades.

The ruling does not directly impact wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, which remain under state jurisdiction.

Continue reading . . .

Related reading: Interior Secretary Deb Haaland Speaks Up On Wolves, But Is It Enough? – Mountain Journal

Flathead River group launches Wild & Scenic River Webinar Series ahead of Comprehensive River Management Plan

Flathead Rivers Alliance announces a two-part live webinar speaker series ahead of the anticipated spring public comment period for the Three Forks of the Flathead Wild and Scenic River Comprehensive River Management Plan. This is an opportunity to learn about the ins and outs of Wild and Scenic Rivers and river management plans from expert regional and local managers and advocates. Additionally, gain an understanding of how to be an active participant during the public portion of the river management plan process that only happens every fifteen to twenty years.

Flathead Wild & Scenic River Webinar Series

  • February 16th, 2022  7:00-8:00 PM MST| Webinar #1: The Wild & Scenic River that Connects Us
  • March 30th, 2022      7:00-8:00 PM MST | Webinar #2: CRMP 101- How does management of Wild and Scenic Rivers work?

Registration is required for this free webinar series. If you don’t plan on attending virtually, you can register to receive a video recording and submit your questions via email. Live transcription is available during the webinar. Learn more and register at flatheadrivers.org/events.

Did you know the Middle Fork of the Flathead River was the birthplace for the idea of a National Wild and Scenic Rivers system? Designated by Congress on October 12, 1976 (Public Law 94-486), the Three Forks of the Flathead Wild and Scenic River are currently managed under the 1980 Flathead River Management Plan. For the last two years, the Flathead National Forest and Glacier National Park have been drafting an updated CRMP for these rivers that they cooperatively manage, taking into account significant increase of shore and float usage and an obligation to protect the river system’s Outstanding Remarkable Values.

Join Flathead Rivers Alliance to learn about the significance of Wild and Scenic Rivers, responsibilities for managing the 219 mile Three Forks of the Flathead River as a Wild and Scenic River System, and what’s around the bend for Comprehensive River Management Plan (CRMP) public participation and local initiatives.

More information on webinar speaker series registration, volunteer and donation opportunities, and quick reference CRMP FAQ can be found at flatheadrivers.org/comprehensive-river-management-plan.

Continue reading Flathead River group launches Wild & Scenic River Webinar Series ahead of Comprehensive River Management Plan

Montana Wolf Harvest Dashboard

Collared Wolf - courtesy USFWSWant to know how Montana’s politics-before-science wolf harvest is going this year? The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Wolf Harvest Dashboard has you covered. You can even drill down to information on each individual kill. For instance, the three wolves taken in Wolf Management Unit 110 (WMU 110), which encompasses the North Fork, were all trapped on January 20 in the Lazy Creek area.

Kudos to NFPA Board member Diane Boyd for highlighting this resource.

Link: Montana Wolf Harvest Dashboard