Articles written by Zoie Koostra


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  • Canyon Creek blaze leads to daring rescue by Lincoln-based packer

    Zoie Koostra, Pathfinder|Aug 30, 2018

    "I took off and rode up the main line trail and into the Lander's Fork trail. That's where I hit the [Canyon Creek] fire. It was roaring pretty good then," said Jerry Burns recalling Sept. 6, 1988. "Some logs were burning in the trail and so I knew I had to keep going." Burns was working as a mule packer for the Forest Service in Lincoln, Mont. during the summer of 1988. His actions saved two trail crew members from being overrun by the Canyon Creek fire that burned more than 200 square miles...

  • The Canyon Creek Fire blowup revisited 30 years later

    Zoie Koostra, Pathfinder|Aug 23, 2018

    This summer marks the 30th anniversary of the Canyon Creek fire, which began early in the summer of 1988 but made it's lasting impact when it burned over 200 square miles in one night on Sept. 6. The summer of 1988 was significant. After a hot and dry summer, fires that had previously been left alone as part of the "let it burn" policy burned out of control. The Forest Service adopted the policy in 1972, which allowed some fires started by lightning strikes in wilderness areas to continue to...

  • What's new at school?

    Zoie Koostra, Pathfinder|Aug 23, 2018

    Summer is drawing to a close and area schools will be beginning classes soon. Seeley Lake Elementary, Sunset School and Seeley-Swan High School are all adding new programs, teachers or learning tools in the upcoming year. Get the scoop on what’s new in school below. Seeley Lake Elementary This year Seeley Lake Elementary school starts Sept. 4. The school is welcoming three new teachers and rebooting some activities that were put on hold last fall during the Rice Ridge Fire. Kristy Pohlman will be teaching third grade, Robin Gaither will be t...

  • Couple donates famous pie, building to Community Foundation

    Zoie Koostra, Pathfinder|Aug 16, 2018

    SEELEY LAKE- The Seeley Lake Community Foundation celebrated another year of finding community needs and finding funds to fill them Sunday, Aug. 12 at their annual fundraiser. This year it included a significant announcement, fundraising auction and the distribution of Change Your Pace donations. At the fundraiser, Loren and Pam Rose announced the sale of the building that houses Pam's business Deer Country Quilts to the Foundation for $215,000. According to Kevin Wetherell, a Foundation board...

  • Youth changed by month of service

    Zoie Koostra, Pathfinder|Aug 16, 2018

    SEELEY LAKE- Three Seeley Lake students returned this week from a 27-day trip filled with work and growth, as they did volunteer work in the Superior and Plains Ranger Districts with the Montana Conservation Corps high school youth program. Erik Lorentz, 15, Cody Stevenson, 15, and Madison Hinchey, 17, were recruited by MCC youth program leader Nick Ehlers at Seeley-Swan High School. Ehlers attended the Career Fair to reach out to youth in Seeley Lake to join MCC programs. "Hopefully we give...

  • Having a berry good time

    Zoie Koostra, Pathfinder|Aug 16, 2018

    SWAN LAKE - The 37th annual Swan Lake Huckleberry Festival brought new vendors and surprises as well as returning attendees and vendors Saturday, Aug. 11. As goes the tradition, the festival began with a huckleberry pancake breakfast put on by the Swan Lake Community Club. The festival is the club's annual fundraiser and volunteers do everything from cooking and serving pancakes to judging the baking contest. Joyce Sedivy, a resident of Swan Lake since 1985, has been helping with the festival... Full story

  • Trailblazers win big at County Fair

    Zoie Koostra, Pathfinder|Aug 16, 2018

    MISSOULA - The Seeley Lake Trailblazers 4-H Club may have a small number of members, but in the Missoula County fair last week, the club took home a number of ribbons. Amanda Thomas, Dani Sexton, Laciey Auchenbach and James Webb were all awarded purple ribbons for their work and all club members placed with blue or red ribbons in every category. 4-H uses the Danish system in the judging process. Top ribbons include grand and reserve champion, followed by a purple group (P – top in their c...

  • Mountain bikers and policies look to balance wilderness and recreation

    Zoie Koostra, Pathfinder|Aug 9, 2018
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    When Rep. Greg Gianforte voted in committee in favor of HB 1349, a bill that would allow mountain biking in some wilderness areas, it drew a response from mountain bikers who supported the new bill as well as strong dissent from groups like the International Mountain Biking Association. After hearing from mountain biking and conservation groups in Montana, Gianforte later backpedaled, saying he no longer supported the bill and would vote against it in the unlikely scenario it reached the House...

  • Pet Poisoning: Know the Signs and Symptoms

    Zoie Koostra, Pathfinder|Aug 9, 2018

    When the Olson family's dog Balto started acting sick in the mountains, they had no idea what could be affecting him - they just knew they needed to get him down right away. Even when he was brought into the vet, the mystery of what was causing Balto to vomit and have extremely high blood sugar remained. "When he got here he was still not able to stand and had some really unusual lab work," Dr. Shoni Card, Balto's veterinarian said. "His blood sugar was super high, his kidney values were...

  • Anderson signs with University of Montana Western's Rodeo Team

    Zoie Koostra, Pathfinder|Aug 9, 2018

    SWAN VALLEY - Iriey Anderson of Condon signed with the rodeo team and the University of Montana Western where she will study business and equine science. She was awarded a full-ride tuition scholarship and half housing scholarship. "It meant so much to me the day University of Montana Western's rodeo coach told me they wanted me," she said. "It felt great, but it even felt better knowing that I earned and deserved it." For as long as Anderson can remember, she has always wanted to be a barrel...

  • Liquid Louie's celebrates 71 years of cocktails and community

    Zoie Koostra, Pathfinder|Aug 2, 2018

    SWAN VALLEY - Liquid Louie's, Condon's oldest bar, celebrated 71 years full of rich history, warm memories and shenanigans with a party on Saturday, July 28. The bar had humble beginnings. It was started by Louis and Marian "Mame" Krause in 1947, in a small shack built onto the side of the Krause's log home, according to the Upper Swan Valley Historical society and archived interviews with Mary Lou Krause Wilhelm, one of the Krause's daughters. In the small "beer parlor," benches lined the... Full story

  • One Injured in Head-on Collision

    Zoie Koostra, Pathfinder|Jul 26, 2018

    Emergency personnel from Potomac and Seeley Lake were called to the scene of a head-on collision at the intersection of Highway 200 and Russell Gates Fishing Access road, near mile marker 35 at about 3:55 p.m. on Saturday, July 21. One driver was taken by air to Missoula and the other driver sustained no serious injuries. According to Montana Highway Patrol Officer Wes Whitlatch, a Chevy Silverado pickup attempted a left turn into the fishing access road from the west-bound lane of 200. The...

  • What is Going on in Big Larch Campground?

    Zoie Koostra, Pathfinder|Jul 26, 2018
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    SEELEY LAKE - Big Larch Campground remains closed. Why hasn't it reopened? Why hasn't work started? Why was it even closed in the first place? Sheryl Gunn, a Forest Service silviculturist, worked on the removal of lodgepole pines from Big Larch in 2009 and recently completed another plan on how to handle the current situation. She and Seeley Lake District Ranger Rachel Feigley answered some of the most pressing questions about the campground and the work being done. Why can't anybody camp in... Full story

  • Lions Reseal Path Around Pond

    Zoie Koostra, Pathfinder|Jul 26, 2018

    SEELEY LAKE - Members of the Seeley Lake Lions Club spread sealant on the walkway around the pond at Lion's Park Saturday, July 21. The club was unable to do their usual maintenance last year because of the Rice Ridge Fire, which began on July 23, 2017. This spring, the runoff and high ground water caused the pond to flood as well so that the lower benches and tables near the water were completely submerged. Lions Club president Jon Kimble said that in preparation for putting on the sealant he...

  • Retired Smokejumpers Carry on Legacy of Service

    Zoie Koostra, Pathfinder|Jul 19, 2018

    OVANDO - This week, retired smokejumpers returned to Seeley Lake, an area that many of them have a deep connection with, to continue to do work that protects and maintains public lands by volunteering for the Forest Service. The retired jumpers who volunteer their time on trail maintenance are called TRAMPS, Trail Restoration and Maintenance Program Specialists. This week they updated important infrastructural elements at the North Fork Trailhead. According to Barry Hicks, the squad's leader,...

  • CRC Celebration Is a Hoot

    Zoie Koostra, Pathfinder|Jul 19, 2018

    SEELEY LAKE - The Clearwater Resource Council held their annual Celebrate the Clearwater community event Sunday, July 15. The celebration included a presentation of awards, the naming of a new executive director and a presentation by Kate Davis of Raptors of the Rockies. "We do enjoy getting together every year with everybody, having time to mingle and have some food and some interesting programs," said CRC president Jon Haufler. In his opening announcements, Haufler told the crowd the CRC had...

  • Know Your Rights: Montana Open Meeting Laws

    Zoie Koostra, Pathfinder|Jul 19, 2018

    Even though it would be impossible for every citizen to attend every meeting of every local, county and state government body, believe it or not, it is every citizen's right to access and participate in these meetings, under almost every circumstance. Each Montana citizen is guaranteed the right to attend all meetings of public bodies or agencies of the local, county and state government by sections eight and nine of Article II of the Montana Constitution. Under this law, all meetings must be...

  • Revive and Thrive Event Preps Area for Restorative Burn

    Zoie Koostra, Pathfinder|Jul 19, 2018

    SEELEY LAKE- Last Sunday, community members and Montanans from all over the state gathered to work in Lost Horse Meadow in order to prepare it for a prescribed burn in the fall. The Nature Conservancy, Blackfoot Challenge and Five Valleys Land Trust worked together for the sixth annual Revive and Thrive work party and celebration Sunday, July 15. Volunteers pulled noxious weeds and cut down trees in order to help restore a native plant, blue camas, to the meadow. "This is a really exciting...

  • Connecting Colors and Community: Seeley Lake Addresses Student Resilience

    Zoie Koostra, Pathfinder|Jul 12, 2018

    SEELEY LAKE - Strings, anchors, balloons, the colors of the rainbow: To hear students and teachers talk about the Kaleidoscope Connect program's lessons sounds like listening to attendees of a New Age carnival. But to the seventh and eighth graders at Seeley Lake Elementary, each color and code word represents a concrete aspect of what each student needs in order to be resilient and healthy. Kaleidoscope Connect is a program Seeley Lake Elementary uses to help middle school-aged students build...

  • Car Show Brings Friends, Community to Seeley Lake Lot

    Zoie Koostra, Pathfinder|Jul 12, 2018

    SEELEY LAKE - The sixth annual Seeley Lake Car Show on Saturday, July 6 gave old friends a chance to gather and community members the chance to show off their cars. The show's founder Ken Keith and his wife BeAnne began the car show five years ago. It wasn't intended to be a big event but just a group of friends hanging out. The Keiths, of Great Falls, have a cabin in the area and the car show started while they had other friends visiting them. "The first year we did the car show, it was just a...

  • Celebrating 50 Years of Love and Independence

    Zoie Koostra, Pathfinder|Jul 12, 2018

    SEELEY LAKE – On June 15, Betty and Adrian Vanderwielen celebrated 50 years of working together while encouraging one another to be independent in their marriage. The Vanderwielens met when they were in the same speech class at junior college in California. "Betty got up and talked about a poem by E.E. Cummings and I thought I've gotta go out with this girl," Adrian said. It took Adrian several weeks to convince Betty to give him a shot, but eventually she said yes to a date. Six months l...

  • Ovando Fourth of July Celebration

    Zoie Koostra, Pathfinder|Jul 12, 2018

    OVANDO - Ovando hosted their annual parade on the Fourth of July. True to tradition, "Everyone participates. No one watches." Following the parade, attendees enjoyed the beer garden at The Stray Bullet and a hamburger and hot dog barbecue hosted by the Ovando Volunteer Fire Department....

  • Ovando Fourth of July Celebration

    Zoie Koostra, Pathfinder|Jul 12, 2018

    OVANDO - Ovando hosted their annual parade on the Fourth of July. True to tradition, "Everyone participates. No one watches." Following the parade, attendees enjoyed the beer garden at The Stray Bullet and a hamburger and hot dog barbecue hosted by the Ovando Volunteer Fire Department....

  • Vacation Rentals Compete with Traditional Lodging for Tourist Dollars

    Zoie Koostra, Pathfinder|Jul 5, 2018

    SEELEY LAKE - Dagny Krigbaum has been responsible for taking care of her family's cabin in Seeley Lake for more than 20 years. In the past, she enlisted property management companies to rent out the cabin and assist her in taking care of it while she lived in Missoula. The companies never had much success and the few renters the cabin did have never stayed for very long and always seemed to leave a mess in the wake of their stay. About three years ago, Krigbaum decided to advertise her family's...

  • College Course Opens Doors for Collaborative Conservation

    Zoie Koostra, Pathfinder|Jul 5, 2018

    SWAN VALLEY - The students in the Swan Valley Connections' Wildlife in the West course spent six weeks learning to identify flora and fauna. They also learned valuable skills about community interaction with conservation. The course offers alternative educational opportunities to college students that come from all over the country to learn about a variety of topics that may not be covered in their own college programs. Wildlife in the West is focused on wildlife biology and management with...

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