Congratulations to North Forkers Del and Linda Coolidge on establishing a conservation easement protecting their land in the North Fork . . .
The North Fork of the Flathead River valley retains the sort of comparatively intact habitat in which wildlife thrives.
This same habitat seems to inspire in many of the people who share it with four-legged animals, migratory birds, rare plants and wild fish a sense of obligation to serve as stewards.
On Friday, the Flathead Land Trust announced that Del and Linda Coolidge, landowners in the Polebridge area, had donated a conservation easement to the nonprofit that will “conserve in perpetuity” 30 acres of scenic open space important for wildlife.
Today’s Daily Inter Lake had a nice article on the 25th anniversary of the Flathead Land Trust . . .
(By the way, the article mentions that one of the original Flathead Land Trust steering committee members was “a North Fork resident.” Anybody know who that was?)
Think of the Blasdel federal Waterfowl Production Area, or the new McWenneger Slough fishing access, or a 40-acre addition to Lone Pine State Park, or better yet, many of the farm fields and riparian areas along the lower Flathead River system. They have something in common: the Flathead Land Trust.
The organization is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year…
If it passes, the open space bond on this November’s ballot is likely to have some impact on the North Fork in the future. Michael Jamison has a good write-up on the issue in the October 13, 2008 online edition of the Missoulian . . .
Flathead County, home to the three fastest-growing cities in Montana, is losing agricultural and forest open space at a tremendous rate, as developers build subdivisions across rural lands.
“It’s been a steady loss,” said Marilyn Wood. “We can’t afford to allow that to continue.”
Whether locals can afford to stop it is another matter entirely.
On Nov. 4, when voters go to the polls here, they’ll be asked to back a $10 million open space bond, money that will buy rural land – or at least conservation easements on land. The idea is to secure recreational access, especially at waterfront sites, to protect wildlife, to preserve sweeping views, to ensure water quality and to allow the Flathead’s rural way of life to persist into coming decades.
“Ten million sounds like a lot,” admitted Wood, who runs the Flathead Land Trust, “but it’s really a very reasonable amount for a program that’s going to have such a big impact.”
And residents appear to agree. A survey of Flathead Valley residents showed two-thirds of those polled supported the 20-year bond, which will cost the owner of a $200,000 home about $19 a year.