Wednesday, May 30, 2007

We borrow Glacier Park from our children...

Montana has many names. Our most famous nickname is "The Treasure State". You will hear Montana called, "Big Sky Country," "Land of Shining Mountains," "The Mountain State," and "Bonanza State."

Upon seeing Glacier National Park for the first time (or hundredth time), most people will remark about its supreme beauty, the majestic mountains, beautiful streams, wildlife, etc. and comment that they feel different - Glacier casts a spell on you.

I was doing some Montana research online this past weekend and as most projects go, I was led down many trails and diverted from my original mission. However, one click took me to a website that had a collection of Indian sayings and prayers. I thought of Glacier Park as I read the quotes and the most meaningful I share below...

Treat the earth well.
It was not given to you by your parents,
it was loaned to you by your children.

Ancient Indian Proverb

Humankind has not woven the web of life.
We are but one thread within it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
All things are bound together.
All things connect.

Chief Seattle, 1854

And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell, and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of things in the spirit,and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being.

Black Elk, Black Elk Speaks

When all the trees have been cut down,
when all the animals have been hunted,
when all the waters are polluted,
when all the air is unsafe to breathe,
only then will you discover you cannot eat money.

Cree Prophecy

I do not think the measure of a civilization is how tall its buildings of concrete are, But rather how well its people have learned to relate to their environment and fellow man.

Sun Bear of the Chippewa Tribe

Glacier National Park has been revered by the Plains Indians for eons. Human activity in the Glacier Park area dates back 10,000 years; ancestors of the Blackfeet, Salish and Kootenai Tribes.This year millions of tourists will make a pilgrimage to visit Montana. If you are one of those lucky souls, remember the words of those Indians that came before us...

"We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors,
we borrow it from our Children."

Monday, May 28, 2007

Happy Memorial Day

Memorial Day means different things to everyone. For some it is merely the official kick-off of the summer season, while to others it is a solemn day of remembrance. Back in 1982 on this day, the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, DC was officially dedicated. As a Vietnam Veteran, I was very pleased and proud to see my fallen brethren finally honored. That was a difficult war for America and seeing that memorial for the first time gave me comfort that I had not felt since returning in 1973.

Memorial Day is a time to give thanks for the brave men and women who gave their lives in the cause of freedom. They died so that you and I could live our American Dream. The History Channel has a great video about how Memorial Day evolved. I recommend you take a few minutes and watch this Memorial Day video... and remember.

If today finds you beginning your vacation at Glacier National Park or Flathead Lake... welcome to Montana, we're glad you came to visit. Take a moment today to give thanks for all the men and women who gave their lives so that you and I could enjoy this day in a free America.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Camping Suggestions

If you are planning to camp during your visit to Glacier National Park, your first choice is probably to stay inside the park. However, spots get reserved early and sometimes getting a campsite where you want to camp is a problem. Click here to see Glacier National Park Campground Status - updated regularly.

Experienced RV'ers know that KOA is usually a good place to park the rig and their website stays up to date with vacancies and local information. So if the park's campsites are not available during your visit there are still many other options available to you. Another great website to check out is the Campground Owners Association of Montana (COAM). Each RV park or campground listed has a long history of great customer service and knowledge about the area of Montana.

If you are looking for camping facilities or motel accommodations near Flathead Lake, see these suggestions.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Think wine? Think Flathead...

Flathead for wine?

When you visit Glacier National Park and Flathead Lake, you may want to plan some time to stop by the Mission Mountain Winery on Flathead Lake if you are a wine lover.

The American Wine Society recently awarded Montana’s Mission Mountain Winery a Gold Medal for their 2004 Merlot Reserve. The Merlot was selected for this prestigious award from field of over a thousand wines from around the world. Wow, this is BIG news for our sleepy little community!

Oh and BTW, Monster Red is the Flathead Lake Monster’s favorite red wine. If you haven't heard about the Flathead Lake Monster, better see this!

Glacier update...

Most roads are now open in Glacier National Park. Although they are still plowing towards Logan Pass, almost all other roads are open to vehicles or at least hikers and bicyclists.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Happy Anniversary to Glacier Park

Today is Glacier Park's birthday... on this day (May 11th.) in 1910, Glacier National Park was formally established by the U.S. Congress. It was just a few days ago when we recognized that Glacier National Park and Canada's Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta formed the world's first International Peace Park (see post).

No one has yet informed me if we're having a party or handing out birthday cake, or doing anything to celebrate this occasion, but being reminded of this is a good thing. It is nice to be reminded that people long gone recognized that this was a special place and needed to be preserved for future generations. It is hard to think of many things our government does today that look that far into the future.

In a time when companies are judged by their quarterly performance and governments seldom look past this year's budget, it is refreshing to remember that forward thinking people - thought about us. Were it not for such decisions, Glacier National Park might be an exclusive gated community today available only to the wealthy. Instead, it belongs to me - to you - and every American citizen.

Okay, that almost came close to being a political rant, and that is not the purpose of this blog. This blog celebrates NW Montana's most cherished prizes, Glacier National Park and the beautiful and pristine Flathead Lake.

Come visit us and see what our forefathers protected for you!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Flathead Lake Cherry Festival

If you want to experience a fun time for the whole family in the Flathead Valley this weekend, pack up the car (boat optional), and head to Flathead Lake for the cherry festival!

This weekend, the Flathead Lake cherry orchards should be in full bloom as the trees have blossomed a week earlier than typical. Most orchards on the south shore of the lake have been in bloom for about a week, but the northern orchards near Yellow bay will show an explosion of the white blossoms this weekend.

The annual cherry festival, which began in the 1940s, will be held at Yellow Bay on Saturday, May 12th. starting at 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Yellow Bay Community Hall. Food and a bake sale, raffles and various vendors and music music will all be part of this fun festival. Proceeds will help maintain the hall Yellow Bay hall.

Officials say that growing conditions for Flathead cherries this year are optimal and if continue, the Flathead should have a bumper crop this season. Keep your fingers crossed!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Make it a Flathead Lake weekend!

Get the jump on tourist season

Fish, Wildlife and Parks of Montana maintains 50 state parks throughout Montana. Most are open year-round unless snow blocks their access. The traditional opening day for eight of these state parks in the mountains of western Montana is May 1st.

There is no charge for Montana residents to enter a state park. All you need is a Montana license plate, but a $4 car licensing surcharge is voluntary. For nonresidents, there is a $5 per vehicle charge for day use. $15 per night to camp is the same for locals or out of state visitors. The parks that are open now include:
  • Beavertail Hill, off I-90 east of Missoula
  • Granite Ghost Town near Philipsburg
  • Lost Creek near Anaconda
  • Placid Lake, south of Seeley Lake
  • Salmon Lake, south of Seeley Lake
  • Finley Point, east shore of Flathead Lake
  • Thompson Falls
  • Lake Mary Ronan, 7 miles west of Flathead Lake will open May 31st.

Glacier National Park update... Snow is being plowed and good progress is being made repairing the Going-To-The-Sun road from the flood damage received in last year's late fall storms. Subscribe to this blog to get updates and news about Glacier Park.

PS: To see our local weather and forecast, bookmark this page for AccuWeather for the Flathead Valley.

Glacier Park Anniversary?

...and maybe something else you didn't know!

Actually, this is a belated anniversary wish as it was 75 years ago (yesterday May 2nd.) that Glacier National Park and Canada's Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta were joined together to form the world's first International Peace Park.

Glacier Park was first created by earth's geologic upheavals about 17 million years ago and it took until 1910 for President Taft to establish Glacier as the country's 10th national park (what took them so long?). Evidence of human activity in the park dates back over 10,000 years; possibly ancestors of tribes that still inhabit the area today. Blackfeet Indians roamed the prairies east of the mountains. The Salish and Kootenai Indians lived and hunted in valleys to the west and east of the mountains to hunt buffalo.

More recently, Going-to-the-Sun Road was completed in 1932. The road is considered an engineering achievement taking 11 years to complete, and is a National Historic Landmark. It is one of the most scenic roads in the USA and one of the main reasons people flock to Glacier National Park every year. Glacier and Waterton Lakes have been designated as Biosphere Reserves and were recognized as a World Heritage Site in 1995.

If you are planning a trip to Glacier Park this summer, you may have missed the anniversary celebration, but you won't miss having the time of your life and a rewarding nature experience. There really is nothing quite like NW Montana when it comes to things to do and places to see on vacation. Experiencing Glacier National Park and points of interest like Flathead Lake will remain forever in your memory as the trip of a lifetime.

I promise!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Bears no more

A hundred years ago, way back in the 70's, the National Lampoon magazine ran a spoof about the "Last Whole Earth Catalog", a hippie bible for living off the earth. The pun was that the Whole Earth Catalog was issuing its last edition. Then another last edition and so on... The Ntl. Lampoon called their piece the "Last, no S%$# Really, the Last Edition of the Whole Earth Catalog". I guess you have to be familiar with that to fully appreciate it, but I was reminded of that with today's post.

My last two posts were about bears - you'd think I was trying to scare people away from visiting Glacier National Park with all these bear stories. I promised myself that I would move on to other interesting topics and leave the bears alone. Then today I see a story about a man and his daughter who ran into a grizzly last year while hiking in the park. This was headline news around here and remains a remarkable survival story, as this fellow was severely mauled by a grizzly.

What I stumbled upon today was a follow-up slide show with audio narration released by the Los Angeles Times. This is a remarkable 'must see" story and I encourage you to spend a few minutes looking & listening to this amazing narration. Go here for the grizzly story follow-up...

Hopefully, this will be my "Last, no S%$# Really, my Last Story about Glacier Park Bears". Well at least until a new bear story comes to light :-)