Letters of support requested for guardrail repairs along North Fork Road; May22 deadline

HEADS UP! Flathead County “is looking to replace and install new guardrail along 19,600 feet (3.71 miles) of the North Fork Road in 11 different sections as a safety improvement project. The County is applying for funding through Zinke’s Community Project Funding program. Letters of support for the project are a large part of the selection criteria.”

Letters of support can be emailed to Whitney Aschenwald in the Flathead County Commissioners Office at waschenwald@flathead.mt.gov. They need the letters by Wednesday, May 22nd.

Click here for a sample letter of support.

Road construction project status online

Here’s the web page for our local road construction project status. It includes some photos and links to a short newsletter that seems to come out about every four weeks:
North Fork of the Flathead River; Blankenship and Belton Stage Rd. Resurfacing.

An update taken from the September 1 project newsletter . . .

On Glacier Drive near Polebridge, clearing, and grubbing activities are complete. Culvert installation is also complete. Once the crew has completed placement of millings on Blankenship & Belton Stage Roads, they will mobilize to Glacier Drive and start placing millings before beginning surface work near Polebridge Mercantile.

On North Fork Road, the contractor’s plan is to start 6-7 day work weeks until project completion. Culvert installation, survey, clearing, and grubbing activities are ongoing.The contractor is scheduled to mobilize the crushing operation and begin processing surface aggregates at Whale Creek Pit in the next week.

For more details, see:
Road construction timing and restrictions revealed at Interlocal

Short North Fork Road closure Sep 23 for Cedar Creek Marathon

Many of you probably got a card in your mailbox regarding a short (6-10am) North Fork Road Closure between the Camas intersection and end-of gravel due to the running of the Cedar Creek Marathon on Saturday, September 23.

According to the postcard . . .

The runners will run from Big Creek Campground to Columbia Falls. The route will travel along North Fork Road, Blankenship Road and Lake Drive.

There will be a road closure from Camas Creek Road [i.e., Camas Road] to the end of gravel from 6-10 a.m. Beyond that, you will be able to come and go as you please and the sheriff’s posse will be present to help ensure safety.

See the event website for more information.


Top five miles of North Fork Road now closed to non-essential traffic

The long-planned work on the upper five miles of the North Fork Road and on the segment of Glacier Drive between the Polebridge Mercantile and the Glacier Park entrance station is actually in progress this year. As expected, it is causing significant disruptions.

As mentioned in an earlier article on the NFLA website, the upper five miles of the North Fork Road was closed as of today, August 7th, to all but essential traffic, with likely delays of up to half an hour. If you are not a resident or someone with a really good reason to be up there, you won’t be allowed through. Also, the contractor will be running a weekend shift for the next two weekends, so the travel delays will be in effect for the next 14 days straight. If everything goes more or less as planned, this project will wrap up by mid-October.

Road construction timing and restrictions revealed at Interlocal

The long-planned work on the upper 5.5 miles of the North Fork Road and on the segment of Glacier Drive between the Polebridge Mercantile and the Glacier Park entrance station is actually happening this year. It will cause significant disruptions.

Continue reading Road construction timing and restrictions revealed at Interlocal

NFLA President’s remarks at Lower North Fork Road Roundtable, Flathead Co. Fairgrounds, Oct 6, 2021

North Fork Road in Fall - USFS
North Fork Road in Fall – USFS

Commissioner Abell and Others:

For the record: Richard Hildner, President, North Fork Landowners Association, 350 Moose Creek Road, Polebridge, MT 59928.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak this afternoon. We applaud your effort to facilitate a multi-agency discussion on the North Fork Road and appreciate the opportunity to participate. The North Fork Community is no stranger to controversy when it comes to the North Fork Road. It was one of the topics at the inaugural meeting of the organization, June 2, 1947.

Because the subject is so divisive, the NFLA has refrained from taking a position on paving. We do, however, submit that regular maintenance and dust abatement are worthy of your attention. As an organization we are anxious to comment upon any alternatives you may develop.

It is clear from the record that any action beyond the status quo – i.e., grading and magnesium chloride – would necessitate multi-agency input, road design and costs, as well as environmental, social, and cultural considerations. This is consistent with the findings of the 2010 MDOT Corridor Study. Any consideration beyond the status quo, including the use of millings, must include cumulative and indirect impacts.

Speaking for the NFLA, we are in agreement that the North Fork Valley is a special place, valued for its remote nature, unique relationship with the local flora and fauna, and preservation of these characteristics is of the utmost importance.

Thank you for your time.

Richard Hildner
North Fork Landowners Association
PO Box 1603
Columbia Falls, MT 59912

Remarks in PDF format . . .

County to start grading/dust coating lower North Fork Road this week

“It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good.” As part of the effort to fight the Hay Creek Fire, the Forest Service has come up with funding to grade and dust coat a particularly rough section of the North Fork Road.

According to a note from Travis Glidewell, Flathead County Road and Bridge Supervisor, the county is about to start grading and dust coating the North Fork Road between end-of-pavement and the Camas intersection. The prep work will be accomplished this week, with “dust oil” (i.e., magnesium chloride) being applied Saturday, July 31.

Scoping begins for North Fork Road easement near border

NF Road Easement Request - map

As some of you may recall from last summer’s Interlocal, Flathead County discovered, after 100+ years, that the North Fork Road has no official easement through a section of state land near the border. This means they have to buy access from Montana DNRC. *And* that means DNRC has to scope out the sale, including a public comment period. (They were going to ride the Forest Service’s coattails on this as part of the overall North Fork Road FLAP grant work, but USFS was moving too slowly.)

Anyway… Below are the materials DNRC sent out Friday, January 4. If you have any questions or comments on this proposed easement, please contact Dave Ring at dring@mt.gov or by calling 406-881-2663. Comments must be received no later than December 18, 2020 to be considered.

Cover Letter
Map of Requested Easement
General Area Map

Also, the Daily Inter Lake posted a good article on this issue: “Land Board to consider easement for North Fork Road project