Outdoors

Forest and wildlife management policy, outdoor learning programs, parks, public land, and recreation.

Eric Knoff

The avalanche education, training and information outlet in the Flathead has been in flux over the past few years with old partnerships ending, and new ones forming. The National Forest is hoping to build partnerships and answer some of the demand for upgraded services through the Flathead Avalanche Center.               

The Center recently hired a part-time director Erich Peitzsch. He works for the US Geological Survey based in Glacier Park as a Physical Scientist. He has also been the Avalanche Forecaster during spring plowing on the Going to the Sun Road.

Katrin Frye

The snow line has crept down the mountainsides even though much of the Flathead Valley floor remains snow-free. Public Relations manager for the Whitefish Mountain Resort Riley Polumbus said the mountain is prepping for its December 7th opening.  

The storm over the weekend brought enough snow to cover the hill even down at the base lodge. Polumbus said they measured 30 inches of snow at the Summit on Friday afternoon, it was up to 48 inches Saturday afternoon, and then another 5 inches fell by Sunday morning.

The Montana Chapter of Trout Unlimited announced plans this week to offer a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those who illegally introduce fish species into the state’s waters, something wildlife officials say is on the rise.

"It is one of the most irresponsible things that somebody could do to Montana's fisheries," said Mark Aagenes, Montana TU Conservation Director.

Craig Moore, GlacierWorld

The number of people being killed in avalanches in Montana has been growing over the years. New avalanche education opportunities have been cropping up to combat this trend.         The Northern Rockies Avalanche Safety Workshop started up three years ago in the Flathead

The Workshop features a range of speakers presenting on weather conditions, avalanche safety, forecasting, and more as well as back country winter safety gear representatives.

Katrin Frye

The Glacier Youth Corps Partnership just wrapped up the first of two summers of volunteer work at the Park. Volunteer Coordinator Jessica Kusky with Glacier said the Partnership is an opportunity for the Park to get different projects completed, and for the volunteers to learn about careers in the Park Service. Kusky said the project also aims to connect the next generation with Glacier Park.

flickr/USFWS Headquarters

The Flathead Lake fishery has cultural, ecological, and economic significance for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes on the south end of the lake, and for the non-tribal land around the north end. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the Tribes have been co-managing the lake, but disagree over the best way to discourage non-native lake trout dominance over native trout.  

Katrin Frye

Boaters traveling from water body to water body, and travelers passing through the state may have noticed something new this summer.

Mandatory boat check stations are not new to the state, but increased funding means there are more of them.

Aquatic Invasive Species Specialist Linnaea  Schroeer with Fish, Wildlife and Parks said the state set up 20-mandatory check stations this summer, up from 16 the year before.

She said Montana is one of only 5-states free of zebra and quagga mussels.

The others include Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Wyoming.

Katrin Frye

Glacier as a National Park was only 10-years-old when Lyle Ruterbories was born. When the first cars drove over the completed Going-to-the-Sun-Highway Ruterbories was 13.

In his 70’s he became a ranger, and his wife Marge a campground host at the remote Kintla Lake campground.

Now, at the age of 93-and-a-half he’s still the camp ranger.

Katrin Frye

A Land Trust effort in the Flathead aims to maintain farmland, open space, wildlife habitat, and water quality.    The Flathead Land Trust has been working with the current owner of a 189-acre property along the north shore of Flathead Lake. Land Protection Specialist Laura Katzman with the Flathead Land Trust said the property was originally homesteaded in the 1800’s. The old barn is still there, but the home has since come down.

The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks is looking into simplifying fishing and hunting licenses in the state.

Right now there are about 100 different types of licenses—and FWP wants to cut that down.

Department Director Jeff Hagener has appointed a twelve member council to study the issue for the next half-year or so. The council will try to streamline the process without reducing the amount of revenue coming in.

Katrin Frye

Weed-sniffing dogs are being used as part of the state’s fight on noxious, invasive plants. Dogs and their trainers from the Missoula-based “Working Dogs for Conservation” are being drafted for various conservation-related services across the country, and the world.               

Montana Wildlife Commissioners have voted unanimously to enact more aggressive hunting and trapping rules for the gray wolf. It’s part of an effort to reduce the predator’s population, which is still higher than state biologists want. This despite recent hunting seasons put in place after wolves were taken off the endangered species list a couple of years ago.

The new rules extend the hunting season, allow more wolves to be taken by individuals and allow the use of electronic calls.

Katrin Frye

Bikers are braving wind, rain, snow, mountain passes and desert plateau's as part of the Tour Divide mountain bike race.

flickr/GlacierNPS

Glacier National Park is working on a Road Corridor Management Plan to address some of the issues increased visitation is bringing to popular areas along the Going to the Sun Road and the trails that connect to it.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

Various agencies are teaming-up to research recreation patterns on the Blackfoot and Bitterroot Rivers.
     The study will be conducted by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service and the University of Montana.
     The point of the survey is to find out what river users like about our waterways and where they'd like to see some improvements made.

In this feature interview, F-W-P's Fishing Access Site Manager, Chet Crowser, says one thing is clear; people love our rivers and more of us are using them.

Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest

As we recently told you, the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest will soon begin applying insecticides in popular recreation areas.

Be Bear Aware

May 24, 2013

The carcass of an adult male grizzly bear hit and killed by a car last spring near St. Ignatius is now being used to help teach the public about bears. Dale Manning is the professional taxidermist who transformed the animal's remains into a tool that will now be used to teach the public about bear avoidance techniques and the characteristics that differentiate grizzlies from black bears.

footloosiety/Flickr

A lawsuit concerning a bridge on a county road could lead to major impacts on Montana’s stream access law in a case pitting private property advocates against prominent public access groups.

The state Supreme Court is considering the lawsuit over easements now. Atlanta-based media mogul James Kennedy owns a sizable piece of property on the Ruby River. Several county bridges cross the river on his land and a district court judge found it legal for Kennedy to fence off access to the river on one of those bridges—because of the type of ‘prescriptive easement’ on the bridge.

photo courtesy Kate Kendall

U.S.G.S. research ecologist Kate Kendall has been studying grizzly bears for over 30 years and done groundbreaking research into the grizzlies that live in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem.

FWP mulls more aggressive wolf hunting season

May 10, 2013

State wildlife officials have given initial approval to new, more aggressive wolf hunting rules for this year’s hunting season. The Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks Commission is accepting public comment before taking a final vote on the proposal.

The new rules extend the wolf hunting season, allows more wolves to be taken by individuals and allows trappers to use bait. The proposed rules are drawing fresh criticism from wolf advocates.

Sally Mauk

Our warm temperatures are forecast to last through the weekend, and that means rivers and streams will continue to quickly rise. LeeAnn Allegretto of the National Weather Service says the biggest flooding threat currently is in Lincoln and Flathead counties.

“Right now the only river that may reach flood stage is the Yaak river near Troy,” said Allegretto.”But the Flathead river and all its branches will also see dramatic rises.”

A warm weekend makes it tempting to want to get out onto the rivers, but Allegretto recommends resisting the temptation.

Katrin Frye

All this week fifth graders from the Flathead Valley and beyond have been heading to a section of woods in Columbia Falls. It’s the Forestry Expo, and this Saturday it opens to the public.