Articles from the July 20, 2023 edition


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  • New RV Park could get final approval

    Griffen Smith, of the Pathfinder|Jul 20, 2023

    A new 70-space RV park in Seeley Lake could be built after several years of planning and multiple applications. David Stewart, represented by IMEG civil engineering (formally known as Territorial Landworks), requested to subdivide roughly 14 acres into three lots and create 70 parking spots. The project was first submitted in 2018, but by different owners according to Missoula County Planner Tim Worley and previous Pathfinder reporting. Worley said the County rarely sees applications for an RV...

  • Colt Fire breaks through containment line section, public meeting in Seeley for Tuesday evening

    Griffen Smith, of the Pathfinder|Jul 20, 2023

    Critical fire weather caused the Colt fire to grow by 1,463 acres in the last 24 hours, with the fire beginning to run into containment lines set by fire crews. The fire was at 4,390 acres overnight Monday, July 24, with 0% containment. Containment lines were tested, as winds from Monday's dry cold front pressed the fire onto a two-mile stretch of Forest Service Road 646. The fire managed to burn six acres past the contain line last night. Several spot fires also made it through the indirect...

  • Colt Fire climbs to over 3,000 acres, wind fans flames

    Griffen Smith, of the Pathfinder|Jul 20, 2023

    The fire stood at 2,927 acres Sunday night, a figure that likely exploded on Monday, July 24, after a dry cold front brought dry winds to fan the flames in all directions. A red flag warning for critical fire weather will be in effect until midnight on Monday. Wind gusts could reach 30 m.p.h Monday night, adding power to the fire. Containment lines have been pressures, with radio dispatch reporting spot fires along the south side of Colt Creek Road. Air support is currently grounded with the...

  • Fire sparks in Double Arrow Ranch, firefighters knock it down

    Griffen Smith, of the Pathfinder|Jul 20, 2023

    A small wildfire sparked on the east side of Double Arrow Ranch Wednesday evening, July 19, prompting an initial attack by volunteer, Forest Service, and state firefighters. The fire, which started near private land by Grandview Drive, only grew to a quarter of an acre. There is no threat to the public at this time. Incident Commander Donovan Suko said the fire’s cause is unknown. The fire did not grow as fast as it could have thanks to help from a Department of Natural Resources and C...

  • Logging picks up on Westside Bypass GNA

    Griffen Smith, of the Pathfinder|Jul 20, 2023

    Forest Service personnel and a large logging company have transformed thousands of acres west of Seeley Lake from thick forests to more fire resistant and healthy stands. Work on the Westside Bypass Good Neighbor Authority picked up again for the summer on July 15. Roughly 4,866 acres will be thinned by next year. The project is roughly halfway complete since starting in 2021, according to Seeley Lake District Ranger Quinn Carver. Timber company WeyerHaeuser, one of the owners of the most...

  • Salmon Lake workers racing to complete construction, Swan Lake project underway

    Griffen Smith, of the Pathfinder|Jul 20, 2023

    Keri Neal was sick of sitting in her friend’s car at the north side of Salmon Lake, so she decided to dance. Neal and her friend Jack visited Seeley Lake from Missoula for the day to sunbathe and swim. Although the two come to Seeley each year, the reconstruction of Highway 83 on Salmon Lake Road came as a shock — and a future deterrent. “I think I’ll wait to come back up when all this is done,” Neal said. “I don’t want to have to deal with this again.” Residents and visitors alike have wait...

  • Colt Lake fire explodes, evacuation orders in place

    Griffen Smith, of the Pathfinder|Jul 20, 2023

    (Update: 7 a.m. July 24) Infrared scans of the Colt Fire showed the burn at 2,927 acres late Sunday night, with much of the new growth burning to the south. The fire still stands at 0% containment, and could make large gains on Monday as critical fire weather enters the area. The fire has started to approach the West Fork of the Clearwater River near Lake Alva, and Colt Creek Road. Fire managers said in an update on Sunday that crews are building a fire line on Colt Creek Road and Beaver Lake... Full story

  • Colt Fire keeps growing as air support dowses area

    Griffen Smith, of the Pathfinder|Jul 20, 2023

    Update: Friday, July 21: The Colt Fire reached 99 acres with zero containment Friday morning. *** The Colt Fire northeast of Seeley Lake has grown to roughly 15 acres as of Thursday, July 20, creating a powerful blaze that fire crews hope to knock down before temperatures rise this weekend. The Colt Fire was first reported early Monday morning. It’s about 15 miles northwest of Seeley Lake, and five miles north from Lake Alva. The fire was likely sparked by a lightning strike, according to the F...

  • New gift shop opens in Ovando

    Jean Pocha, of the Pathfinder|Jul 20, 2023

    A new brick-and-mortar gift shop opened in Ovando this summer, one that plans to seasonally operate by selling local crafts and metalworks. Red Shed Gifts opened for its inaugural season in Ovando on June 15. The gift shop is an extension of the standard craft fair table the Vickie and Ben Harbour have been using at the Ovando Christmas Fest to market their craft items. “I like to create spaces,” owner Vickie Harbour said. “We needed space to sell the things we make, then decided to make a gif...

  • Supporting public lands while following the law

    Christi Jacobson, Montana Secretary of State|Jul 20, 2023

    As a proud defender and lover of public land, I have cast deciding votes for Montanans to hike, fish, and hunt some of the largest expansions of public land in decades—while keeping Montana farmers and ranchers on the landscape. I was recently made aware of a social media campaign soliciting money claiming to fight for interests that I support and will continue to support: local control and public lands. In reality, this campaign would only line the pockets of liberal lawyers to sue me in a case that deserves immediate dismissal. Don’t waste yo...

  • A letter on higher property taxes

    Bill Lombardi, Seeley Lake|Jul 20, 2023

    Las Vegas card sharks, Mississippi Riverboat gamblers, and Churchill Downs handicappers are pleased that Governor Gianforte and Montana’s Republican legislators pulled a fast one on Montana homeowners in the 2023 session. Earlier this year, they permanently raised state residential property taxes by 43 percent – $81 million a year, and $162 million over the two-year state budget cycle. Then they pocketed our money. (Just look at your residential property appraisal notice – your home’s value and taxes are soaring as your spirits are sinking...

  • Stockgrowers Association responds to BLM Director

    -Raylee Honeycut, Montana Stockgrowers Association|Jul 20, 2023

    In a recent interview published by the Billings Gazette, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Director, Tracey Stone-Manning, expressed positions that were of concern to the Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) that we felt needed to be addressed. The first issue being Director Stone-Manning’s statements regarding corner crossing and the second regarding the appeal filed on the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) decision regarding American Prairie’s grazing allotments. The article references the May ruling by a federal judge that hunters in Wyomin...

  • Missoula County Sheriff's log for July 20

    7/6 8:38 p.m. Suspicious Activity 31XX Highway 83, Seeley Lake 7/7 8:08 p.m. Suspicious Activity Meadow Lake Road, Seeley Lake 7/7 9:14 p.m. Suspicious Activity 3XXX Highway 83, Seeley Lake 7/8 12:27 p.m. Suspicious Activity MM Boy Scout Road, Seeley Lake 7/8 6:44 p.m. Disturbance 1XX Cutthroat Road, Seeley Lake 7/8 7:38 p.m. Accident, No Injury 2X MM Highway 83, Seeley Lake 7/8 8:37 p.m. Disturbance 58XX N Placid Lake Road, Seeley Lake 7/9 5:17 a.m. Disturbance 4XX Old Bard Road, Seeley Lake 7/9 9:14 a.m. Theft 23XX Highway 83, Seeley Lake 7/9...

  • Seeley Lake Rural Fire District Call Log For July 20

    7/8 Medical MM4 Highway 83 7/9 Medical Highway 83 7/9 Wildland Fire Cottonwood Lakes Road 7/9 Wildland Fire MM17 Highway 83 7/10 Medical Cutthroat Circuit 7/13 Medical Camp Creek Road...

  • William Gehrke (1926-2023)

    Jul 20, 2023

    William Gehrke passed away in the rest home, with family members by his side. Please join us for a celebration of life at the Lutheran Church in Seeley Lake on July 21 at 3 p.m. William was born Jan. 26, 1926, to William F. Gehrke and Elsie Stone Gehrke in Centuria, Wisconsin. He attended Balsam Lake High School where he enjoyed playing basketball and football. He was offered a contract to play with the Vikings, but turned it down to enlist in the navy during WWII. He was sent to the South... Full story

  • We don't have all the answers

    Kapp Johnson, retired pastor|Jul 20, 2023

    3:1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: 3:2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; 3:3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to break down, and a time to build up; The Book of Ecclesiastes (ESV) No doubt you can sing the rest of the verses. Well, if you are a child of the 60’s like I was. The Byrds popularized the book of Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 with their hit Turn, Turn, Turn. The theme of the Book is “The Meaningless of Life.” 1:2 Vanity of va...

  • Change your Pace Challenge reaches 95K, highest match percentage

    Griffen Smith, of the Pathfinder|Jul 20, 2023

    During the 2023 Change Your Pace Challenge, The Seeley Lake Community Foundation raised $95,050.81 for 16 local nonprofits, and had its best-ever match fund percentage. The match fund stood at a record $37,795, which meant people’s individual donations were valued more than in years past. “For every dollar somebody donated, they really gave $1.82,” said Claire Muller, the executive director of the Seeley Lake Community Foundation. “It’s really great to see the impact be that high.” Nearly 60 o...

  • Missoula Electric Cooperative's 2023 wildfire mitigation update

    Mark Hayden, MEC General Manager|Jul 20, 2023

    Smokey skies, scratchy throats and watery eyes are all too familiar to western Montanans during fire season. Although unwelcome, these inconveniences pale compared to the devastation wildfires can leave behind. Wildfire size, frequency and severity have risen year-over-year, prompting a critical response from electric utilities. Responsible for powering some of the nation’s most fire-prone, fuel-dense areas, MEC’s policies, programs and procedures must manage or reduce the risk of sys...

  • Congressional resource hearing held in Seeley Lake; Local students win state science awards

    Jul 20, 2023

    Twenty years ago... Thursday, July 17, 2003 U.S House Panel Holds Field Hearing in Seeley Lake By Donna Love On Wednesday, July 2 the Seeley Lake Elementary School gymnasium transformed into a Committee Hearing Room for three hours when members of the U.S. House Resources Committee met there for a field hearing titled “Management Challenges on Montana’s National Forests.” Called at the request of U.S. Rep. Dennis Rehberg, R-Montana, Committee Chairman Richard Pombo, R-California, presided over the three-panel hearing with participation by Re...