Here’s the official press release regarding those two delinquent grizzlies that were captured near Whitefish and released near Frozen Lake a few days ago . . .
A young grizzly showed up in Whitefish on August 9 on Dakota Avenue in a residential area. Grizzly Bear Management Specialist Tim Manley set a trap in the late morning near the cherry tree the bear was observed in. The bear was seen several more times that evening near Wildwood Condos and the Lodge at Whitefish Lake.
The bear was captured in the trap on August 10 about noon. It was an unmarked, 2-year old male that weighed 158 pounds with no previous management history. The bear was released on August 11 near Frozen Lake on the BC border.
On the afternoon of August 9, a trap was set for a grizzly bear south of Blanchard Lake. The bear had gotten into dog food and garbage. That bear was captured early in the morning of August 10. It is an unmarked, 4-year old male, weighing 245 pounds with no previous management history. This bear was also released near Frozen Lake.
Both bears were fitted with GPS satellite collars.
Manley says that some grizzly bears are staying in the valley bottom to feed on serviceberry and hawthorn berries. Fruit trees also have apples, plums, and pears that are ripening up right now. Residents should pick their fruit as soon as possible and also make sure other attractants such as garbage, pet food, and bird feeders are not available.
Whitefish makes a preliminary move to protect even more of their watershed from development . . .
Even as local leaders and state resource managers celebrated the recent completion of the Haskill Basin conservation easement east of Whitefish Lake, a plan to protect more than 15,000 acres of private land northwest of the lake is already in the works.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Conservation Manager Alan Wood said the Whitefish Lake Watershed Project, a 15,334-acre easement proposal northwest of the lake, is still in its preliminary stages.
Good news for Whitefish: The Haskill Basin conservation easement is a done deal . . .
For years, conservation groups and city officials have recognized the development pressure that could bear down on Haskill Basin, a block of land east of Whitefish owned by F.H. Stoltze Land and Lumber Co.
And for years, those concerns were quelled by a good-faith agreement with the Stoltze family, who for more than a century has maintained its commitment to managing the Haskill parcel as a working forest, rather than leveraging it into a revenue-rich development deal.
On Wednesday, that handshake deal was inked into the history books as Whitefish city officials, along with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Stoltze, and the nonprofit Trust for Public Land, finalized an agreement to furnish permanent protections on 3,020 acres of land in the Haskill Creek watershed.
John Muhlfield, mayor of Whitefish, weighs in on the political foot-dragging delaying passage of the North Fork Watershed Protection Act . . .
Ever since the Great Northern Railway laid tracks through Whitefish in 1904, tourism has been the backbone of our local economy, creating good paying jobs and sustaining thousands of families over the years to put their kids through college, start small businesses, buy a home and retire in one of the most beautiful small towns in America.
Hard-working Americans from all over the country come to Whitefish year round. They spend their hard-earned money locally to buy hotel rooms, fill up gas tanks, eat out and support our local businesses – all because they are called to our amazing wild and scenic areas, access to public lands and clean water, and special places such as Glacier National Park and the fresh powder of Whitefish Mountain Resort. In 2013 alone, Whitefish welcomed over 558,000 out-of-state visitors; 65,000 traveled to Whitefish on Amtrak’s Empire Builder. Resort tax and bed tax revenues in Whitefish increased 10 percent and 16 percent respectively that same year.
In early April, three senators from Texas, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania blocked bipartisan legislation supported by Montana Sens. Jon Tester and John Walsh and Rep. Steve Daines – Montana’s full congressional delegation – to permanently protect the North Fork Flathead River from future energy development. The bill even has backing from major energy companies, like ConocoPhillips and local businesses, including F.H. Stoltze Land and Lumber Company. But it has stalled for no apparent reason. In a recent poll in the Missoulian, 73 percent said they support permanent protection of the North Fork Flathead River.
Wildlife officials euthanized a male grizzly bear that was rummaging through food sources near residences outside of Whitefish, the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks announced Thursday.
FWP officials captured the 238-pound subadult male grizzly Wednesday along the Stillwater River, southwest of Whitefish near the KM Ranch Road. The bear had been moved in July from the Lincoln area into the Coal Creek Drainage of the Whitefish Range north of Columbia Falls. Over the course of a month, it crossed the Whitefish Divide and traveled along the Stillwater River between Lupfer Meadows and Lost Creek. FWP said it received numerous reports of the bear getting into livestock feed, pet food, garbage, bird feeders and apples.
Glacier Park is trying to keep non-native lake trout out of Quartz Lake . . .
Glacier National Park officials are seeking public comment on a project that would modify and improve a fish barrier designed to stem the invasion of lake trout in Quartz Lake.
Considered one of the last best strongholds for native fish in the entire Columbia River Basin, Quartz Lake’s native fish populations include bull trout, which are classified as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, as well as westslope cutthroat trout and mountain whitefish.
Native fish populations in Glacier National Park have been compromised by the invasion of non-native fish species into the park’s lakes and streams, and lake trout are being targeted as the chief culprit.
Here’s the Associated Press take on last weekend’s Western governors meeting in Whitefish. This story is getting some national coverage. From yesterday’s Billings Gazette . . .
Gov. Brian Schweitzer isn’t done jousting with federal officials over a deal with Canada to protect the area surrounding Glacier National Park.
Montana’s governor used the bully pulpit over the weekend as chairman of the Western governors to again criticize his federal partners in the deal — even as the Obama administration was talking with the Canada about moving the state-level pact along.
Coverage of last weekend’s western governor’s conference in Whitefish from the Flathead Beacon . . .
Gov. Brian Schweitzer called on Montana’s federal delegation Sunday to support legislation by Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, dedicated to restoring the Columbia River Basin, as a way to fund commitments in the agreement between Montana and British Columbia to protect the North Fork from mining and drilling in Canada.
“Don’t be running after the bus, get on the bus and sit beside the driver,” Schweitzer said. “And this bill is the vehicle.”