The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge wasn’t widely known beyond the birding community until it acquired its current “Y’all Qaeda” infestation. Here’s some background, from NPR . . .
The armed militants occupying Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Eastern Oregon come from as far away as Texas and Montana. But they are hardly the refuge’s first out-of-state visitors. Malheur Lake is a regional hub for hundreds of thousands of migrating waterfowl. By some measures, it boasts the greatest diversity of bird species in the entire state.
A century ago, that diversity attracted the attention of naturalist William Finley. He visited the lake in 1908 with his childhood friend and photography partner, Herman Bohlman. In an article in The Atlantic Monthly, Finley recalled: “Here we were standing on the high head-land looking out over the land of our quest. Here spread at our feet was a domain for wild fowl unsurpassed in the United States.”
Finley was so ecstatic that he fell out of his boat.
Here’s a fascinating and moving video created by Henry Roberts from a series of game cam photos taken by North Forker Ray Brown. Thanks to Walter Roberts (no relation to Henry, I’d guess) for getting up on Facebook and giving this work the publicity it deserves. The sound track is from music by Josh Woodward. Highly recommended . . .
In February of 2014, Ray Brown of Polebridge, Montana came home to discover that wolves had killed an elk just off his driveway.
He set up a game camera near the carcass to see who might come back for it.
Three weeks went by.
The following photos are what he found — the inhabitants of the forest that helped return the carcass to the ecosystem.
Debo Powers (the new NFPA President, by the way) wrote the following report on last Saturday’s NFPA annual meeting. Interspersed with her article are several pictures of the event submitted by myself and Debo. If you weren’t there …well, you should have been. Everyone had a good time.
On Saturday night, John Frederick stepped down as President of the North Fork Preservation Association (NFPA) after more than three decades of leadership in this environmental organization which was founded in 1982. Following a potluck supper, a crown which said “North Fork Hero” was placed on John’s head. The crowd of around 50 people listened while various NFPA members spoke about John’s contributions to the North Fork, told stories about John, and read email appreciations from other members who could not attend. John was also given a plaque by the NFPA.
John has been an “environmental warrior” on many issues that have threatened the North Fork in the past three decades. One of his major feats was buying ten shares of Rio Algom (a Canadian mining company) stock and traveling six times to stockholder meetings in Toronto to speak in opposition to the proposal to build a coal mine north of the border that would threaten the water quality of the North Fork of the Flathead River. That coal mine was never built. This was one of the many stories told about John’s activism.
After John’s “appreciation fest,” there was a short NFPA meeting in which officers and board members were elected. The new officers are: Debo Powers (President), Randy Kenyon (Vice President), Suzanne Daniell (Secretary), and Kelly Edwards (Treasurer). Annemarie Harrod and Steve Gniadek were re-elected to the board and John Frederick will remain on the board as the Past President. Those who will remain on the board for another year are Frank Vitale, Cameron Naficy, Alan McNeil, and Walter Roberts.
Every year following the annual NFPA meeting, there is an informative speaker who is invited to talk about a topic of local interest. This presentation is open to the entire North Fork community, so others began to arrive after the meeting. The NFPA speaker this year was Daniel Stiffarm, a Kootenai tribal member who is the acting director of the Kootenai Cultural Committee on the Flathead Reservation. He spoke about Kootenai history, culture, and language. Daniel comes regularly to the North Fork which was part of the Kootenai Territory that was used for hunting and vision quests. North Forkers learned much about Kootenai language and traditions including the Kootenai names of many familiar mountains in the North Fork. Daniel was asked many questions which he graciously answered.
This morning’s New York Times has a survey article — with a photo spread — discussing the potential impact of climate change on Glacier National Park specifically and the Northern Rockies in general . . .
What will they call this place once the glaciers are gone?
A century ago, this sweep of mountains on the Canadian border boasted some 150 ice sheets, many of them scores of feet thick, plastered across summits and tucked into rocky fissures high above parabolic valleys. Today, perhaps 25 survive.
Over at the Mago Guide site, Patti Hart has posted a very nice, very detailed guide to the Mount Nasukoin hike.
Check it out . . .
The hike to Nasukoin is without a doubt one of our favorites in the Whitefish Range of the Flathead National Forest. It is in fact not one but three hikes where the first stop is Link Lake, next on up to Lake Mountain, and finally all the way up to the top of Nasukoin, the highest point in the Glacier View Ranger district.
The Daily Inter Lake has a nice write-up on the Polebridge Mercantile’s 100th anniversary . . .
Just before 7 a.m. on Tuesday, the sun is up and working hard to burn off fog that has settled over the Polebridge Mercantile.
Addie Cleveland walks to the front door and unlocks it for the day’s first customer, flipping the sign in the window from closed to open.
Staff members have been at the store since 5 a.m. making the Merc’s famous pastries. Tuesdays are special because not only are workers making treats for the store, they also are baking items for the Whitefish Farmer’s Market.
Steven Gnam, who does really nice photography work, has just released a new book on the Crown of the Continent . . .
Through the lens of his camera, Steven Gnam has captured the kind of fleeting, untamed moments that might otherwise elude the human eye, disappearing like a puff of vapor in a sprawling chunk of country called the Crown of the Continent – the ecologically diverse landscape spanning the U.S.-Canada border between Missoula and Banff, Alberta.
In his new book, “The Crown of the Continent: The Wildest Rockies,” Gnam not only preserves the wild, ephemeral beauty of those moments, but through them attaches value to the region, defending its role and depicting why it’s critical to pay attention, lest we fritter away the landscape that defines us.
Meant to promote stewardship, “The Wildest Rockies” showcases images that span the boundaries of Glacier-Waterton International Peace Park, tracking along the spine of the Rocky Mountains as the Whitefish native reanimates a landscape brimming with life.
The Flathead Beacon posted an interesting article on fire lookouts . . .
Hiking to the remote mountaintops of the Flathead Valley can be a humbling admonisher of nature’s forces, but some of Montana’s peaks and ridges also bristle with a reminder of mankind’s attempt to subdue that vigor.
Like cabins in the sky, fire lookouts — a term used to describe both a person and a place — rose to prominence a century ago, when wildfire detection became a priority following the massive fires of 1910, and the U.S. Forest Service launched its fire lookout program in earnest.
In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps constructed more than 5,000 towers across the country, often in remote and inaccessible locations, and today, although modern technology and airplane surveillance play larger roles in spotting flames, the lookout program remains intact.
Peter Freund sent a report, with photos, to the Hungry Horse News of a set-to between a black bear with cubs and a brown bear near his cabin recently . . .
As you know, the end of July is the height of buffalo berry season along the North Fork River. At our cabin in the North Fork, this seasonal event provides for an annual feeding frenzy by the local bear population.
This year was unique with the presence of a black bear with cubs. The harvesting occurred right outside the door of our cabin.
The show started with the brown bear. All was tranquil until the brown bear encroached on the black bear’s zone, and she became loud and chased the brown bear away.