Opinion / A Place For All


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  • Giving days in Montana and beyond

    Claire Muller, Seeley Lake Community Foundation Executive Director|May 9, 2024

    Community-wide giving campaigns are a growing trend in the nonprofit world. Place-specific giving days are happening around Montana this month. The Seeley Lake Community Foundation is now running our community-giving campaign, the Change Your Pace Challenge, for the month of May. Let’s take a deeper look into this popular form of philanthropy. Giving Tuesday — the Tuesday after Thanksgiving — is the most well-known giving day in the US. It was formed in 2012 as a response to commercialization and consumerism in the post-Thanksgiving seaso...

  • Historic Swan Valley Dude Ranches

    Sharon and Steve Lamar, Upper Swan Valley Historical Society|May 2, 2024

    During the early to mid-twentieth century several upper Swan Valley dude ranches were at the height of operation, providing packing and guiding services to guests from around the world. Holland Lake Lodge and 33 Bar Ranch In 1924, Roria "Babe" Wilhelm, along with his sister, Ada, and her husband, Art White leased land from the Forest Service and built the Mountain View Hotel near Holland Lake. The hotel was built with lumber from Babe's steam-powered sawmill and sided with half-logs to give the...

  • Protecting social habitat for bears

    Kayla Heinze, The Vital Ground Foundation|Apr 25, 2024

    Layered onto the diverse landscapes that grizzly bears call home is another, equally variable ecosystem: the human one. As bears exit their winter dens in search of food and mates this year, be it in sprawling sagebrush steppes, high-elevation whitebark pine stands, or willow-lined waterways, their success will be determined by the availability of social habitat - the tolerance and attitudes that enable coexistence - as much as physical habitat. As a collective, we humans wield immense...

  • What effect will the Pyramid Lumber announcement have on real estate?

    Jeff Micklitz, Clearwater Montana Properties|Apr 18, 2024

    Ever since Pyramid Lumber announced their upcoming closure, I have been asked one question by clients, friends and community members more often than any other: How will the mill closing affect real estate? Before I expound on that, there are many other things appropriately considered. First and foremost are the 100 employees that will be without a job. Behind each one of those employees are families that count on the wages brought home from the mill and without those wages, those families will be adversely impacted. Then there are the loggers,...

  • Reflecting on the Blackfoot-Clearwater Wildlife Management Area

    Gayla Nicholson, Protect the Clearwater|Apr 11, 2024

    While researching the history of the Blackfoot-Clearwater Wildlife Management Area (Game Range), local nonprofit Protect the Clearwater (PTC) found an article written by Jay Kolbe in 2007. Kolbe was the Wildlife Management Area Manager and Wildlife Biologist for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) for the area at that time. PTC feels this article highlights the critical role the Game Range plays and is worth reprinting. When the Clearwater Resource Council met this summer to identify some of...

  • A hopeful view from fire lookout towers

    Kaemyn Long, Seeley Lake Ranger Station|Apr 4, 2024

    A robin sits atop the slow awakening western larch branch, pauses a moment, then chimes into song before rising into the early morning air. Spring is here. With spring's early appearance across western Montana, we see animals and people alike preparing for the change. Snow melting off the north side of Rice Ridge, and Salmon and Seeley Lake becoming no longer available to committed ice fishermen, reminds us that it's time to prepare for warmer weather. Yard clean-up begins for fire season peeks...

  • Soup's on!

    Kelly Moore, Missoula County Extension FCS|Mar 28, 2024

    Soup’s on is an iconic call to come eat what’s been prepared. I am fascinated with food history! I quickly learned from a Google search that the phrase comes from a German word “sup, or suppa,” meaning some kind of hot broth meant for soaking bread. The phrase “soup’s on,” or “soup’s up” no longer refers exclusively to soup, however. Soup is no longer described simply, as a broth. Now there are countless varieties from which to choose: hot, cold, commercially canned, homemade, spicy, sweet, savory, with pasta, rice, beans, vegetables, etc. It...

  • Keeping winter activities alive

    Garry Swain|Mar 14, 2024

    The winter of 2023/2024 brought a ton of sunshine and blue skies to Seeley Lake, and it also brought a ton of challenges for the ROCKS team as we struggled to keep our winter recreational areas functional and fun. No strangers to adversity, we who rely so heavily on the weather, everyone persevered. While our winter activities looked a wee bit different from normal years, we skated and we skied whenever we could. As we maintained the yurt with the Nordic Ski Club, we marveled at the ingenuity with which they forged ahead with a paltry amount...

  • Local sockeye, kokanee salmon in the Seeley area

    Reuben Frey, Fisheries Technician MTFWP|Mar 7, 2024
    1

    Have you ever been driving Highway 83 and noticed the surface of Salmon Lake rippling with rising fish? It's likely what you were seeing weren't trout, but rather the landlocked version of sockeye salmon called kokanee. These mini salmon have been stocked in the Clearwater chain of lakes for over half a century by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks to provide recreational fishing opportunities. The story of the Clearwater kokanee is interesting and involves biology, laboratory science and most impor...

  • Volunteerism abounds

    Robert Shaffer, Double Arrow Ranch Landowners Association|Feb 29, 2024

    One of the many things I love about Seeley Lake is the volunteerism I see everywhere. When I bought my home here almost 10 years ago, one of the things I planned to do when I retired to Seeley full time was volunteer in some fashion to serve the community. That is actually how I ended up on the DARLOA BOD. I felt that the DARLOA BOD had arrived at a more harmonious place than it had been in some preceding years and I wanted to help keep it that way. Of course HOA’s have a way of always having some contention and DARLOA (being quite large) is n...

  • Changes in weather and weed management

    Karen Laitala Powell County|Feb 15, 2024

    Climate change refers to a change in a climate system that persists for long periods of time, irrespective of the cause. Montana has such an interesting history of environmental changes over the years. At one time western Montana lay beneath a lake approximately 2,000 feet deep. Ice dams 4,000 feet tall that blocked the Clark Fork River burst causing the 3,000 square mile Glacial Lake Missoula to drain in less than a week into the Pacific Ocean. Much of the rock formations and other geology we...

  • Firesafe Swan

    Jackie Pagano, Conservation associate for Swan Valley Connections|Feb 1, 2024

    For time immemorial Indigenous people burned low-intensity fires across this landscape to manage forests for people and wildlife. Wildfire suppression actions over the last 100 plus years have created dense forests with high wildfire risk. Forests that were once open with widely spaced trees created by regular low intensity fires are now crowded with thickets of small trees no longer regulated by fires. Removal of fire from the landscape has affected the historic mosaic and patchwork of differing ages and size classes of trees. We now see...

  • Avian Flu becomes a concern for trumpeter swans

    Elaine Caton, Blackfoot Challenge Education and Bird Program Coordinator|Jan 18, 2024

    The Blackfoot Challenge recently learned of the deaths of four trumpeter swan cygnets hatched to Blackfoot swan 3A6 in Sheridan, Wyoming. Swan 3A6 was released in the Blackfoot in 2016 and nested in the Sheridan area this year. The cygnets were determined to have died of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), or avian flu. While the current strain of avian flu is highly deadly to domestic poultry, it appears to be much less lethal to most wild birds. However, waterfowl (birds like ducks, geese, swans, coots, grebes, etc.), some raptor...

  • How to grow an endowment

    Claire Muller, Seeley Lake Community Foundation Executive Director|Jan 11, 2024

    December is a busy, generous month. The giving spirit of the holiday season often moves people to support the causes they love. As year-end approaches, people also evaluate tax consequences and work to maximize their contributions. At the end of 2023, the Seeley Lake Community Foundation received a very generous gift of $10,000 earmarked for our endowment. How did this happen? The donor simply called up the SLCF office to talk about what he was looking to do. Together we figured out the mechanics of this gift, and made it happen before his...

  • Bud Moore's passion for wild country

    Steve Lamar, of The Upper Swan Valley Historical Society|Jan 4, 2024

    Well-known author and forester Bud Moore began trapping at the age of fourteen and spent several winters in the 1930s running trap lines in the Lochsa backcountry. After working over 40 years with the US Forest Service, he retired in 1974. Anxious to get back to his roots and the land, he and his wife Janet moved to Swan Valley where they managed their 80-acre Coyote Forest. Later, he wrote the book, The Lochsa Story: Land Ethics in the Bitterroot Mountains. Beginning in 1983 at the age of 66, he spent a couple of winters living out of a tent...

  • A million reasons for gratitude-and motivation

    Matt Hart, Vital Ground Foundation|Dec 28, 2023

    As bears rest in their dens and families gather for the holidays, there is much to celebrate in the world of wildlife conservation-and much more work ahead. For grizzly bears, the slow march toward durable recovery in the lower 48 states continues, with populations making gradual gains in 2023 and bears reclaiming historic range, including the first documented grizzly sighting in the Missouri River Breaks region of North Central Montana in more than a century. As the grizzlies' numbers and...

  • Place For All: Wise words for your day

    Claire Muller, Executive Director of Seeley Lake Community Foundation|Dec 21, 2023

    Happy to fill in last minute for this week’s Place for All column. Then I got stressed about creating some incredibly wise words to share with the Seeley Lake community. Oh well, lean into your strengths. I love quotes. So here are a few good ones to get us through the end of the year. Happy holidays everyone! “Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from surviving bad judgment.” -Waldo Pritchard “A perfectionist walked into a bar. Apparently it wasn’t set high enough.” – Indian Hills Community Center “We cannot do great things...

  • Introverts ~ Immersions ~ Wild public lands Is there a place for introverts?

    Carleen Gonder|Dec 14, 2023

    My earliest memories I liked being alone in the barn. Well, not alone but the only human, an introvert even as a child. I remember the tall Ponderosa Pine near the barn's west end. I felt a presence in that tree. I played alone, preferred to be alone, playing near that Ponderosa Pine next to the barn. For most of my young childhood I lived with an aunt and uncle on a ranch. It was difficult not being with my parents. My solace was my personal space ~ in the barn or next to the Ponderosa Pine. I...

  • Seeley Lake Historical Society - Keeping the Past Alive

    Tom Browder, Seeley Lake Historical Society|Dec 7, 2023

    For more than 20 years, the Seeley Lake Historical Society has worked to expand our knowledge and understanding of the history of the Seeley Lake area. We do this by maintaining the Historical Museum at the Barn and presenting programs and events of interest to the community and our schools. Our museum is open Thursday - Saturday from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. through Memorial Day, at which time we transition to seven days per week. You can also reach us via email at slhistory@blackfoot.net, Our website...

  • Real estate market updates

    Kevin Wetherell, of Clearwater Montana Properties, Inc.|Nov 30, 2023

    Kevin Wetherell of Clearwater Montana Properties, Inc. Thus far in 2023, there has been a total of 34 homes sold, which is behind the pace of the 45 total homes that sold in 2022. The number of homes for sale has continued to rise as sales have slowed not only in our area but throughout Montana. All markets have seen increases in inventory, price reductions and increasing days on the market. SEELEY LAKE RESIDENTIAL SALES FAST FACTS In 2023, the average home price in Seeley Lake has dropped to...

  • Clearwater Resource Council meeting scheduled

    Dave Torrell, Clearwater Resource Council|Nov 16, 2023

    The Clearwater Resource council is scheduling a community meeting on Jan. 9 at the Barn in Seeley Lake to present the finding of multiple years of aquatic monitoring of streams and lakes in the Clearwater Valley. Ongoing human activities in the Clearwater watershed are resulting in impacts to our lakes, streams, wildlife habitat, forest, and rural lifestyle. It is estimated that over two thousand landowners and thirty thousand plus people come to the valley to recreate and enjoy the rural splendor of the valley annually. Consequently, citizens...

  • Firewood, slash & bugs: How to protect your personal forest & reduce wildfire risk

    Kyle Carpenter, Clearwater Unit Service Forester for DNRC|Nov 9, 2023

    While late fall through early winter brings pleasant temperatures to work outside, it can also contribute to insect issues the following year. If lodgepole or ponderosa pines are cut without time to thoroughly dry before the following June, pine engraver (Ips) beetle populations can build to levels that are hazardous to trees. Pine engraver populations can build up in both limbs of ponderosa pines discarded from logging operations as well as in smaller diameter stems cut for fuels reduction....

  • Hilarious 'I Ride' mix-up

    Claire Muller, Seeley Lake Community Foundation Executive Director|Nov 2, 2023

    You know that kind of frustration that happens when something is just not going according to your plan, and then you get a new piece of information that radically alters the situation? It completely diffuses the tension. 'Oh, it was all a misunderstanding?' you realize. 'That's fine!' Well, we've had a few of those situations over the years. Sometimes - hopefully - it's a hilarious mix-up. Here's one of my favorites. (Names changed for anonymity). Enjoy: Veronica, a regular rider who has...

  • The Swan Valley Community Hall: The heart of our community

    Steve Lamar, Upper Swan Valley Historical Society|Oct 26, 2023

    The old log building that stands at the corner of Highway 83 and Glacier Creek Road has been Swan Valley’s Community Hall for the past 84 years. Built from 1938-39, this treasured building is widely used as a central gathering place and is the cornerstone of our community. The Swan Valley Community Hall is located on land that once had two unsuccessful homestead attempts beginning in 1916 by N.J. Frye and later by Joseph Griffin in 1917. A third attempt by Jesse Forster was successful after he filed on the 160-acre parcel in 1919 and proved u...

  • Two prongs of grizzly conservation: habitat protection, conflict prevention

    Matt Hart, Vital Ground Foundation|Oct 19, 2023

    Fall is never a dull time in grizzly country, and this year the season seems to have brought a particularly steady stream of incidents between bears and people. From run-ins with hunters high in the backcountry to chicken coop raids in the valleys, too many encounters have ended badly for both four-legged and two-legged participants. It's never simple to pinpoint the cause of a conflict. From a poor summer of berry growth in a bear's home range to hotter and longer heat waves impacting foraging...

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