Sunday, December 31, 2006

Flathead Lake Monster?

Ice fishing on Flathead Lake can be dangerous!

























In addition to the weather and concern that the ice is thick enough, other dangers exist in the dark, cold waters of Flathead Lake. The legendary Flathead Lake Monster has been recently sighted (again). Learn more about this threat to your ice fishing vacation here...

Oh and BTW, I want to thank everyone who has visited our humble blog this past year. It is my most sincere hope that you will add this blog to your 'Favorites' (or subscribe via email by clicking the envelope at right)and feel free to participate by asking questions about Flathead Lake or Glacier National Park. We'd love to see you come for a visit to "The Last Best Place"! Oh, and one more thing...

Happy New Year!

From my family to yours, we hope that 2007 is everything you want it to be, and that you enjoy good health and sufficient wealth in your chosen pursuit of happiness. Stay safe and live life today to its fullest. Heck, let's agree to do that every day and make 2007 the best yet... that's my New Year's resolution - and one I intend to keep!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Montana Bears


I consider myself a friend of the bears. Don't get me wrong, I'm not the type of fella who feeds the bears or thinks they are "cute". I have the utmost respect for bears and fear them in a healthy way, but I sure do love seeing bears - be bears. Bear lovers received some promising news this week. Here in NW Montana, we have the largest population of grizzlies in the lower 48 states. In fact, a new study just confirmed that our local area grizzly count is a minimum of 545 and Glacier National Park has the largest number.

A DNA project led by the U.S. Geological Survey and supported by other federal, state and tribal agencies over a 12 week period in 2004, collected 34,000 hair samples across almost eight million acres stretching from the Canadian border to state Highway 200 on the NCDE's southern border and from U.S. Highway 89 on the eastern edge to U.S. Highway 93 in the west. Advances in genetic technology were used to estimate population size. The hairs were caught on barbed wire at 2,500 "hair corrals" put up as part of the study. Bears investigated because of scent placed at the corrals. Read the whole story...

We live among bears. For most of the year I have to keep my trash bins behind an electric fence to keep the bears at bay. If my battery dies, I'll find my garbage scattered over two acres. I've seen bears in my yard and even came face to face with one two years ago when I surprised him while dining on the overflow of a bird feeder in my front yard. I don't know who was more surprised, me or the bear. You can bet that when my Great Pyrenees begins to howl and acts agitated, there is probably a bear in the vivinity. Our Pyr is the best bear alarm one could have.

Part of the enchantment of the Flathead Valley is being so close to such an impressive creature as a grizzly or black bear. If you plan on visiting Glacier National Park or Flathead Lake areas - bring plenty of film and some pepper spray. But mostly, bring your childhood wonder...
BTW, that picture above was taken in Glacier National Park by Cristal Jones, a reporter for the Hungry Horse News.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Christmas in the Flathead


I have been blessed with more than 50 Christmas holidays (don't ask). I have celebrated Christmas in Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Arizona, Montana and even one lonely Christmas in Vietnam 33 years ago. Wherever I am, Christmas is always a special time, but I have to tell you my friends, that there is nothing like Christmas in the Flathead Valley.

The Flathead Valley would remind you of those traditional holiday cards with pine trees, snow and glorious mountains - truly, a winter wonderland. The peaks of Glacier National Park are now covered in glistening white snow that touches the heavens. A drive by Flathead Lake at this time of year is a feast for the eyes. Yes, there is nothing like Christmas in Montana's Flathead Valley. If you can't be here this year, at least enjoy this special time with your family - because that is what makes Christmas so special.

From our family to yours,
we would like to wish all of you a very

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Flathead Lake Threatened

For the love of money…

It seems that every news story we see these days about global warming mentions Glacier National Park’s receding glaciers. Concerned, well-meaning people want to do something to halt this process, which may or may not be a natural phenomenon. Personally, I don’t have a fixed opinion on this yet because I believe we just don’t know if this is a manmade problem or a natural, cyclic occurrence. Also, it could be argued that there isn’t much we can do to change the weather, but melting Glaciers is not what I’m writing about in this post. Today I’d like to make you aware of a potentially serious environmental threat that we can control… if we choose to do so.

In Canada, a company named Cline Mining Corporation wants to begin a 20 year coal mining operation 22 miles north of Glacier National Park. This area is part of the Flathead River drainage in British Columbia, which means that all runoff from this operation will flow down the North Fork river into Flathead Lake. How cool is that?

In case you didn’t know, coal mining produces pollutants like toxic heavy metals, and such an industrial operation will have no beneficial impact on the already threatened grizzly bear population.

So, let’s make sure I have this right… in the interest of one company’s bottom line, we can potentially destroy the grizzly bear population of this area, the fish ecosystem of the Flathead river and possibly destroy one of America’s last pristine lakes, Flathead Lake. How does that sound to you?

I’m not a political or environmental activist and I don’t see the mission of this blog to involve itself in such public debate, but people P-L-E-A-S-E, can we just once do the right thing? A mountaintop strip mine that will produce toxic runoff is just a bad idea. Period.

You can learn more about this proposed mining operation at http://www.eao.gov.bc.ca/. If anyone asks you. . . .
Just Say NO!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

No Pilgrims in the Flathead

Those of us living in the "colonies", just finished celebrating an annual holiday called Thanksgiving. During the days that preceded this anniversary of Pilgrims and Indians coming together, blogs and websites were crammed with facts and falsehoods about this occasion.

There were no Pilgrims in Montana in 1621, but there were Indians making pilgrimages to sacred places for ritual, and to secular places for hunting and fishing and gathering of plants. The relentless movement westward of a foreign people with their exotic religion, foreigners currently struggling to survive in New England, was not known, not even in rumor, in Montana, in 1621.

Richard Sims is the director of the Montana Historical Society and had a wonderful article about Montana in the year of the first Thanksgiving.

He says that the people who were living in Montana in 1621 were the Kootenai, the Pend d’Oreille (Kalispell) and the Salish, long-established around Flathead Lake but roaming to the east; the Shoshone coming up periodically from the Great Basin country; and the Crow just arriving from the Dakotas. When examining the early histories of these early peoples, recall that no horses were in sight. No horses would appear in Montana for nearly a century. Read Mr. Simms’ complete article here…

Montanans celebrating Thanksgiving

In the event you missed an earlier posting, you need to see this... you just gotta love the people (and bears) in Montana.

I hope your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration. Here in the land of Flathead Lake and Glacier National Park, some people dined with “strange” guests. Check out how the Montana Grizzly Encounter celebrated this special day.