Tag Archives: Will Hammerquist

Polebridge Merc hosts “Transboundary” interpretive trail

Will Hammerquist of the Polebridge Mercantile got together with several conservation groups to sponsor a “Transboundary” interpretive trail . . .

Several U.S. and Canadian environmental groups have carved out a new educational “Transboundary” trail up the North Fork on land owned by the Polebridge Mercantile.

The quarter-mile long stroll runs through scrub brush left from the 1988 Red Bench Fire and offers expansive views of the Livingston Range.

Several interpretive signs along the path provide information on history, geography and biology of the area, historic perspectives, threats to the ecosystem as well as triumphs, including efforts to ban coal and other mining projects in the watershed.

Read more . . .

Proposed bill could open up Glacier Park to Homeland Security projects

An important story posted to this week’s Hungry Horse News concerning the so-called “National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act.” Recommended reading . . .

Glacier National Park’s border with Canada is marked by broad prairies and majestic mountains. A bill in Congress co-sponsored by Rep. Dennis Rehberg could conceivably allow the Department of Homeland Security to put roads and other access venues in areas currently managed as wilderness.

The proposed “National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act” would give Homeland Security broad powers over land that borders foreign countries.

According to the bill, “The Secretary of Homeland Security shall have immediate access to any public land managed by the federal government (including land managed by the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture) for purposes of conducting activities that assist in securing the border (including access to maintain and construct roads, construct a fence, use vehicles to patrol, and set up monitoring equipment).”

The bill also would allow Homeland Security to waive a host of environmental laws…

Continue reading . . .

Partnering to protect the Transboundary Flathead watershed

Dave Hadden, director of Headwaters Montana, Robin Steinkraus, executive director of the Flathead Lakers and Will Hammerquist, program manager for the National Parks Conservation Association’s Glacier Field Office have a nice commentary piece in today’s Flathead Beacon . . .

Here in Montana, August brings us the county fair and farm harvests. And this year we also celebrate a harvest of victories for Glacier National Park, the North Fork Flathead River and Flathead Lake. In addition to commemorating Glacier’s first 100 years, citizens from across the Montana-British Columbia border, Gov. Brian Schweitzer, B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell and Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester did yeoman’s work to protect this special place.

Read the full article . . .

Polebridge gets a yurt

Housing in Polebridge is nothing if not eclectic — a motley collection of cabins, a few houses, a trailer or two, a couple of tipis and now, a yurt. The Flathead Beacon has the story . . .

Nomads first used yurts as portable homes in the harsh steppes of Central Asia. Now Will Hammerquist uses one as a rental in Polebridge.

Hammerquist, Glacier program manager for the National Parks Conservation Association, owns a piece of property with a friend in Polebridge. Over the weekend, he invited a Troy-based company called Shelter Designs to his property to give a public demonstration on how to set up a yurt and answer any questions people had about the circular dwellings. Hammerquist plans to rent out the yurt.

Read the entire story . . .

Web log covers this week’s UN World Heritage Committee meeting

In case you missed it on the read-through of the article linked in the previous post, Will Hammerquist of the NPCA and Ryland Nelson of Wildsight “…have established a new Web site, savewatertonglacier.com, and will be blogging from Spain throughout the weeklong meeting, in addition to posting pictures and video from the conference.” There’s already a fair bit of material up there, including an initial video made just prior to the World Heritage Committee opening ceremonies.

Coalition petitioning for Waterton and Glacier Park protections

Here’s an excellent article — with video — that appeared in today’s Missoulian . . .

Glacier National Park and its neighbor to the north are endangered by mining proposals, and the international community must intervene to protect the region’s natural and cultural heritage.

That’s the message being delivered this week by tribal leaders, community organizers, business interests and conservationists, whose concerns will be aired at the 33rd annual meeting of the United Nations World Heritage Committee.

“Our petition,” said Will Hammerquist, “asks the World Heritage Committee to hear the concerns of local communities and indigenous peoples by recognizing the threat these projects pose to a globally significant ecosystem.”

Hammerquist works for the National Parks Conservation Association, which joined a dozen other groups in petitioning for the endangered status.

Read the entire article . . .

Canadian Flathead left out of natural-gas deal

From the Saturday, December 6, 2008 online edition of the Daily Inter Lake . . .

BP Canada on Friday received natural-gas rights for a potential energy project in a segment of British Columbia watched closely by environmental activists in both the province and in Montana.

British Columbia granted the rights to BP for its proposed Mist Mountain coal-bed methane project in the province’s southeast, after the Flathead River Basin was removed from the project area. In the debate about possible environmental effects from Mist Mountain coal-bed methane work, the border-spanning Flathead had been particularly prominent, with activists in Montana raising the specter of harm traveling downstream.

Even with the Flathead removed, the prospect of the coal-bed methane project in combination with other current and proposed industrial activity in southeastern British Columbia is alarming, said Will Hammerquist of the National Parks Conservation Association in Whitefish near Glacier National Park, which extends to the British Columbia border.

Read the entire article . . .

Public Officials Deserve Thanks for Protecting Flathead Water

The Friday, March 7, 2008 online edition of the Flathead Beacon published the following commentary by Will Hammerquist, Glacier program manager for the National Parks Conservation Association . . .

Growing up within a bike ride of the Flathead River, I had no idea that my favorite river originated in British Columbia. I just knew that the Flathead River is special and its clean, cold waters were undeniable.

As I grew older, I learned that the three forks of the Flathead come together in Bad Rock Canyon to form the Flathead and that the North Fork is the wildest and most remote of the three.

As an adult, I came to understand that while the Montana portion of the North Fork is one of the most pristine and protected rivers in America, the Canadian headwaters are zoned for mountaintop-removal coalmines, coalbed methane extraction and all other types of metal mining and drilling.

Here in the Flathead, generations of Montanans have long raised concerns over the impacts of these activities on our water, fish and wildlife. Experts warn pollution that from such activities would flow into Glacier National Park within hours and to Flathead Lake within days.

Last month, Montana Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester and Gov. Brian Schweitzer held a town-hall meeting to discuss the future of the Canadian headwaters of Flathead River and Flathead Lake. In the past five years, three mountaintop-removal coalmines and two coalbed methane projects have been proposed for the Canadian Flathead.

A packed room of 300 people cheered when Baucus announced that energy giant British Petroleum had abandoned their proposal to develop coalbed methane in the Canadian portion of the Flathead. American democracy and diplomacy was at work. Our elected officials summed up what we all know: Water is Montana’s most precious resource and Glacier’s wildlife, native trout and pristine waters are the fabric of our community, economy and way of life.

Our elected officials – at every level – deserve credit for delivering Montana’s bipartisan voice in the Canadian halls of power and the corporate boardrooms of British Petroleum. Montana concerns are validated as our Canadian neighbors in Fernie, Cranbrook and Elko join with us to protect water quality and wildlife.

While last month’s announcement represents a significant step in our efforts to protect this international treasure – it does not spell victory. Cline Mining Corporation is still promoting a risky and speculative proposal to literally remove a mountain directly above a key North Fork tributary to mine coal for the next 20 years. Another plan is in the works to mine coal under the North Fork riverbed itself.

The acknowledgment of Canadian officials that this area – the heart of the Crown of the Continent – is too special and internationally significant for industrial fossil fuel extraction is a positive development. We all use fossil fuels, but part of responsible energy development is recognizing that some places are just too special to put at risk. The Crown of the Continent is one of those priceless areas.

Now is the time for the provincial and federal governments of Canada to advance a plan for the permanent protection of the Flathead that respects the existing, world-class values of Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park and surrounding landscape for current and future generations.

The National Parks Conservation Association will continue to work with local communities, Montana leaders, and our Canadian neighbors to advocate for a long-term solution.