The first square dance of the summer season was a huge success. Bonny and Lynn Ogle opened the Hall on Saturday night and set everything up for a potluck supper. Following that, Debo Powers showed up to call the square dance after having climbed Stanton Peak. The Haverlandt’s brought some square dance friends from the Flathead Valley and they joined North Fork residents and visitors in an old fashioned square dance. Fun was had by all!
The hike to Cyclone Lookout is one of the most popular trails in the North Fork due to its proximity to Polebridge, short distance (5 miles roundtrip), and spectacular views at the top. Linda Pitman organized a hike to Cyclone on Tuesday. Three of the five North Forkers on the hike were thrilled to have the day off from the Northern Lights Saloon to enjoy the sunshine and mountains. The hike to Cyclone is a good conditioning hike for longer hikes in the Whitefish Range. After parking and walking down the gated road, the trail heads up through lush forest of larch and spruce climbing steadily with many switchbacks before reaching the summit where the lookout stands. There are beautiful views of Bowman Lake and the Glacier Park peaks, the Whitefish Range, Polebridge, and the North Fork valley. Since it is still early in the season, the lookout is not yet staffed. Because there was a breeze, the bugs did not bother us and the five of us had a delightful lunch in the shade of the Lookout punctuated by much laughter and story-telling.
Two announcements were made at the NFLA’s June business meeting that will be of interest to North Forkers. First, the Board has decided that it’s time to refinish the floor in the Community Hall and is soliciting donations for this project. Their goal is to raise $5000 by the August 3rd meeting so that the work can be scheduled for September while the weather is still warm. Those who wish to donate are asked to make checks payable to the NFLA and send them to P.O. Box 1603, Columbia Falls, MT 59912 or give them to Bonny Ogle, NFLA Treasurer.
Second, due of some major conflicts, the NFLA Auction has been moved from Saturday, July 20 to Friday, August 2 at 8PM. The Auction Committee is soliciting services and worthy auction items (in other words no junk, please!). Donated items can be dropped off at the Hall on Friday, August 2 from Noon to 5PM. All proceeds from the auction will go toward the floor re-finishing project.
Smiles, conversation, and productive work fueled the twenty-three landowners that showed up on Saturday, May 25 for Hall Cleanup Day. Everyone was busy cleaning up the inside of the Hall and the grounds outside.
Gary Haverlandt worked on a picture display commemorating the Christmas celebration at the Hall. Joe Novak washed windows. Margaret Heaphy and Bill Walker cut kindling which was carried into the Hall by Margaret, Becky and Suzanne and stacked near the wood cook stove. Karen McDonough, Carmen Edwards, Bonny Ogle, Naomi Hoiland, and Alice Caldwell orchestrated the work inside the Hall while outside, trees and bushes were limbed and a fire was started to burn the debris.
The fire was guarded by Larry Wilson and brush contributors were Mark Heaphy, Jan Cauldwell, Nat Johnson, and Tom Edwards. Bob Graham cleaned the outhouse and Jackie Graham cleaned the generator shed. Richard Hildner brought his tractor to the Hall on a trailer and spread topsoil around the new outhouse site. Bob and other landowners used rakes and shovels to smooth the dirt while Lee Secrest, Gary McDonough, and others moved large rocks and placed them artistically to create a beautiful landscape. (The topsoil had been previously donated by Rob Alm.)
Grass seed was spread over the new soil by Debo Powers. We need a load of gravel to finish the landscape job. Duke Hoiland showed off his logging skills by expertly felling seven dead trees behind the Hall without dinging a single structure. Duke, along with Nat, cut the trees into firewood. There were many hands to stack firewood and haul brush to the burn pile.
It was amazing to see how fast the work was accomplished with so many people! Everyone enjoyed a wonderful lunch of hot dogs and chili provided by Karen McDonough. Karen’s fabulous homemade chili was a big hit with everyone. After lunch, the last few trees were felled, firewood stacked, and brush burned. Tom Edwards commented that more work was done in a half day than in the last three years combined. Everyone had fun too!
We want to thank everyone who participated for all of their hard work. And thank you Debo for both the report and the wonderful pictures. Let the summer begin!
The North Fork Patrol recently voted to add Bill and Lois Walker to the Patrol as Directors. They will help Margaret and Mark Heaphy monitor the “southern end” of the North Fork.
We want to thank Bill and Lois for volunteering for this important work. Folks on the North Fork appreciate the time given by all the members of the North Fork Patrol who help keep the North Fork safe throughout the year.
There are a few corrections to the newsletter. First, the older version of the North Fork Patrol sign-up form was accidentally included in the newsletter and doesn’t reflect some important changes. Please download and use the current version of the signup form from here when sending in the 2013 renewal for your NFLA membership. Second, the date on page two of the newsletter for “Gardening with Native Plants Workshop” is incorrect. The correct date is Monday, June 24th. Finally, the date for the second Astronomy night with Mike Hawkaluk listed in the newsletter’s version of the calendar is incorrect. The correct date is Saturday, September 28th.
All of these changes have been updated on the website. You can get the latest version of the newsletter from here and the latest version of the calendar from here. If anyone sees any other corrections that need to be made to either the newsletter or the calendar, please let us know!
The 2013 spring newsletter is available on line. This year’s newsletter contains information about summer activities and announcements about the NFLA as well as the calendar and signup form. Click here to get to the newsletter page on this website.
As always, our thanks go out to everyone who helped with this year’s newsletter. And a special thanks to Flannery Coats for doing all the hard work of putting it together and getting it mailed out.
The new 2013 NFLA Calendar is now available. Many thanks to all of the people who made this year’s calendar possible. A special thanks goes to Larry Kinsolving, the member of the BoD responsible for coordinating the whole schedule. Flannery is working on the Spring Newsletter which will include an abbreviated version of the calendar. Be sure and check the online calendar often during the year as new items could be added.
Jennifer Mayberry LaManna from FireSafe Montana says… Please join us in Libby Montana for the Fire Adapted Communities Workshop on Friday April 26th and Saturday April 27th, 2013. We are looking forward to some good presentations and discussions on how wildfire impacts a community. If you have any further questions you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Ed Levert at 406-293-2847.
2013 marks the tenth anniversary of the Wedge Canyon Fire, which destroyed seven homes and twenty-nine outbuildings in the area between Whale Creek and Trail Creek. 54,400 acres burned. The costs of suppressing the fire and protecting structures exceeded $50 million.
The NFLA’s Fire Mitigation Committee is planning a FireWise Day workshop to recognize the tenth anniversary of the Wedge Canyon Fire as well as the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Red Bench Fire. The workshop will be held on July 10, 2013 from 9:30 a.m. to noon in Sondreson Hall, immediately preceding the Summer Interlocal meeting.
First, we’ll take a look at North Fork fire history, focusing in particular on the Wedge fire. Then we’ll examine changes in the North Fork since 2003 that may affect fire behavior. Finally, we’ll consider the potential impacts of climate change on wildfire in the North Fork. Tentative presenters at the workshop include Wally Bennett and Steve Frye, who played instrumental roles in efforts to suppress the Wedge fire, as well as our own Allen Chrisman