Category Archives: News

Reminder: NFPA Annual Meeting & 40th Anniversary July 23 at Sondreson Hall!

NFPA Annual Meeting & 40th Anniversary!

July 23, 2022, at Sondreson Community Hall
Whale Creek Bridge & North Fork Road

Sondreson Hall, circa 2010

Our speaker this year is Sally Thompson who co-wrote People Before the Park: The Kootenai and Blackfeet before Glacier National Park, a detailed review of the indigenous peoples that inhabited the Glacier area before it became a National Park

We would love for you to be among our honored guests.

5:30pm:           Delicious indigenous meal catered by Qene’s Catering

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.

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 Preservation 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.

Chuck Jonkel’s mementos burgled

Chuck Jonkel
Chuck Jonkel

Arrgh!!! . . .

Burglars looted the late grizzly researcher Chuck Jonkel’s Missoula home twice last week, stealing not only historic bear memorabilia but current wildlife research files.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks bear manager Jamie Jonkel, Chuck Jonkel’s son, discovered the break-in on Monday at the home near the base of Mount Sentinel. The thieves had apparently spent hours rooting around in the house, taking the senior Jonkel’s collections of bear pins and jewelry, rare coins and stamps, spotting scopes, and other personal items. They also took several things belonging to Jamie Jonkel, including his FWP work computer and a sack full of thumb-drives loaded with photos and videos of grizzly management activity.

Read more . . .

‘Smarter than the Average Bear’ – Polebridge Bear Smart Program makes the news

Monica with three cubs, June 8, 2020 – W. K. Walker
Monica with three cubs, June 8, 2020 – W. K. Walker

This summer’s second Polebridge Bear Smart Program training session made the news! Here’s a very nice article by Tristan Scott just published in the Flathead Beacon . . .

The sun was just peeking out from behind the Livingston Range last Thursday morning when Northwest Montana’s leading grizzly bear management specialist arrived at the site, but it was already too late. Beer and soda cans littered the patio outside the Northern Lights Saloon in Polebridge. Shredded candy bar wrappers and the salty contents of a Lay’s potato chip bag decorated the lawn. An upended trash bin and a flattened rucksack might have been confetti cannons broadcasting the refuse of the prior evening’s festivities.

It resembled a scene straight out of a bear-aware nightmare…

Continue reading . . .

Grizzly bear euthanized in the North Fork after frequenting residential properties

From the press release . . .

KALISPELL — Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks bear management specialists euthanized a grizzly bear that frequented near homes and was habituated to people in the North Fork area of the Flathead River.

FWP specialists recently received reports from landowners of the bear appearing in yards around people. The bear was captured May 26. Its teeth were in extremely poor condition and the adult male was estimated to be approximately 22 years old.

The decision was made to euthanize the bear May 27 in consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and by Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee guidelines.

“This bear had grown comfortable around people, which is unnatural and unsafe for people and wildlife,” said Justine Vallieres, FWP grizzly bear management specialist. “The bear’s health condition was also poor due to its teeth and age. All of these factors created an increasing likelihood for potential conflict in an area where people live.”

Continue reading Grizzly bear euthanized in the North Fork after frequenting residential properties

June Polebridge Bear Smart training fun and successful

Debo telling the story of Monica at PBBS Training, June 2, 2022
Debo telling the story of Monica at PBBS Training, June 2, 2022

The second Polebridge Bear Smart employee training session was held on Thursday, June 2nd and was, again, very successful and loads of fun. Justine Vallieres, bear manager with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, provided inert bear spray for a practice opportunity that was very popular among participants. Bears (Richard and Zoe) came to be attracted and then deterred, entertaining all. The Polebridge Bear Smart/NFPA is delighted with the success of these training programs and looking forward to the rollout (no pun intended) of our bear resistant canister program within the next couple of weeks. Contact the Polebridge Bear Smart Coordinator with any questions or to become more involved at sdhildner@icloud.com. . . Continue reading June Polebridge Bear Smart training fun and successful

Summer 2022 NFPA Newsletter online

For those of you who can’t wait on the mail, the North Fork Preservation Association Summer 2022 Newsletter is now available online in the “Newsletters” section of the website. Enjoy!

Here’s a partial table of contents:

  • Announcement of NFPA Annual Meeting, July 23
  • Approaching Our 40th Year (President’s letter)
  • First Strategic Plan in 40 Years!
  • Proposed New Mission Statement
  • Announcing the Polebridge Bear Smart Program
  • Working Group Reports
  • Scholarship & Awards Committee Report

First Polebridge Bear Smart training session a big success

Polebridge Bear Smart training session, Home Ranch Bottoms, May 26, 2022
Polebridge Bear Smart training session, Home Ranch Bottoms, May 26, 2022

PBBS Program Coordinator Suzanne Hildner reports . . .

The Polebridge Bear Smart (PBBS) Committee would like to announce a very successful first Polebridge Employee Training session at Home Ranch Bottoms this afternoon. We had 12 participants who were from all across the country and with a couple of exceptions all new to living and recreating in bear country. Many had already seen a bear. They were a really fantastic audience, polite, engaged and asked excellent questions. Most were already in possession of bear spray.The entire event lasted a little over an hour. Thanks to all who helped make this happen. Next training is June 4th.

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 . . .