From a press release announcing the recent “Polebridge Palace” sale . . .
A property that helped turn Montana’s North Fork Flathead River into a conservation stronghold is changing hands but remaining wild, as The Vital Ground Foundation has teamed up with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and new landowners on a conservation easement protecting 142 acres of forestland and wildlife habitat known as Polebridge Palace.
On the pine-strewn benches above the North Fork Flathead, the area will remain a haven for grizzly bears, Canada lynx, and other sensitive wildlife, as well as a part of the protected Glacier National Park viewshed that annually attracts millions of domestic and international tourists. Meanwhile, TNC can ensure an undeveloped future for a place that once hosted the group’s early momentum-building events in the valley.
“We’re very excited,” said Greg Lambert, transactions manager for TNC’s Montana chapter. “We decided a few years ago that the best option for TNC was not to own it, but as a conservation organization, we wanted the property protected in perpetuity and would never have sold it without an easement in place.”
The agreement includes TNC selling the acreage to new private buyers while donating a conservation easement to Vital Ground, a nonprofit land trust based in Missoula that works to connect and protect key habitat for grizzly bears and other wildlife. The easement stipulates that the new landowners will not develop the forested property beyond its current house and small outbuildings, keeping the bulk of the property preserved as habitat that will help reduce bear-human conflicts in the area.
The Missoulian posted a nice article about Polebridge’s burgeoning cliff swallow population . . .
A building boom has hit the North Fork of the Flathead, and for once, the neighbors are celebrating.
“They’re building a town right in our town,” Polebridge Merc owner Will Hammerquist said of the colony of cliff swallows that has claimed eminent domain on the eaves of his solar barn. “They arrived about two weeks ago. And do you see any bugs? Look at what they’ve done to the mosquitoes.”
Indeed, Polebridge feels remarkably bug-free compared to the forests of Glacier National Park just minutes to the west. The tiny birds feed on flying insects. What appear to be drunkenly random flight paths actually trace life-and-death pursuits of food on the wing.
Visiting biologists staged an impromptu “Science March” in Polebridge on Earth Day, April 22, in solidarity with hundreds of thousands in Washington DC and around the globe who marched to support science and research-based policy. Several North Fork residents joined in making the statement in front of the Polebridge Mercantile.
A map of the Marston and Sunday Fires of the Northeast Kootenai Complex showing their proximity to the Flathead National Forest is now posted here on InciWeb and also under the “Maps” tab. This should give residents in Polebridge and other nearby residential areas a better view of the proximity of the Marston Fire to where they live. The fire has NOT moved onto the Flathead National Forest and is approximately 20 miles away from Polebridge. Residents who are concerned about the fire are asked to contact the Northeast Kootenai Complex Fire Information Line at (406) 882-8308 and stay updated on the incident through the Northeast Kootenai Complex InciWeb site.
The 2014 Bear Fair is coming to Polebridge on August 23, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.. It’s a great opportunity to get various groups together and learn about everything from electric fencing to bear spray. The last time there was a bear fair in Polebridge (July 9, 2011), there were 200 people there!
Besides all the good information about bears, the sponsoring groups usually provide lunch, which will be cooked by the Northern Lights Saloon, a tent for presentations, and porta-potties.
Problem is, all this requires money. So, the organizers are asking both groups and individuals for assistance.
Well, now. The Daily Inter Lake posted coverage, with photos, of the Polebridge Fourth of July parade almost before the last pulled pork sandwich was consumed. They couldn’t quite get a handle on the idea that there are no parade organizers and they listed Larry Wilson as “part of the North Fork Preservation Association” (cough, cough), but it was a nice article . . . [July 5 update: The Hungry Horse News also got into the act and posted a fairly extensive photo gallery from the parade. There are many familiar faces]
The Fourth of July means many things to many people, but one recurring theme is freedom.
Freedom from Great Britain, freedom from tyranny, and, in Polebridge, freedom from order.
The tiny community 35 miles north of Columbia Falls has held a small parade for several decades on Independence Day, and the requirements for getting in are quite strict.
“It’s not planned,” said parade marshal and 34-year Polebridge resident Rob Fisher. “If you want to be in it, you just show up at high noon.”
The Missoulian has a flattering travel article about Polebridge and the surrounding area . . .
This is the perfect place to celebrate a birthday.
Tucked along the edge of Glacier National Park, this iconic town proved an ideal backdrop for relaxation and reflection as another year passes. Not that you need a reason to visit, however. Polebridge is good for the soul any time and on any occasion – and did just the trick on a recent visit with good friends and great food.
The resolution of Kent Johnson’s arson case is still pending . . .
The case of the Polebridge man charged with setting fire to a neighbor’s yurt and outhouse in September 2010 is still pending in Flathead County District Court.
Kent Johnson initially faced a felony arson charge, with a maximum sentence of 20 years and a $50,000 fine, and a misdemeanor assault charge, with a maximum sentence of six months and a $500 fine . . .
According to a plea agreement worked out with the county attorney’s office last year, Johnson would receive a two-year deferred sentence for the felony and misdemeanor charges if he agreed to sell his house and land in Polebridge and move out of Montana within six months of the plea agreement being granted by a judge . . .
The woman who drowned on the North Fork Flathead River on Wednesday afternoon has been identified as Shawna Thomas, 51, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
Thomas and her husband were in a rigid-framed collapsible kayak when they came around a corner on the North Fork four miles south of Polebridge, encountering tree root balls as obstacles on both sides of the river channel.
A tragedy on the river yesterday, a couple miles south of Polebridge. The Daily Inter Lake has the story . . .
An Idaho woman drowned in the North Fork Flathead River on Wednesday afternoon after her inflatable kayak got tangled in tree roots.
Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry said the woman and her husband were floating in a double-seated inflatable kayak about two miles south of Polebridge in the Home Ranch Bottoms area when the accident occurred shortly after 1 p.m.