20/35 Year Look Back
July 15, 2021
In celebration of 35 years of the Seeley Swan Pathfinder, each week we will run parts of articles that appeared in the issue 35 years ago and 20 years ago. The entire issue will be uploaded to our website seeleylake.com for you to enjoy. We hope you will enjoy the journey with us as we follow our community through the past 35 years as documented by the Pathfinder.
35 years ago: July 17, 1986 issue: Pathfinder buys Valley Times
Pathfinder Press, Inc., Seeley Lake, recently acquired the assets of The Valley Times, a bi-weekly publication owned by Terrie Sonju, Seeley Lake.
Sonju has been sole owner of The Valley Times "for about a year," she said. She has been a part of the operation of The Valley Times since its beginnings in 1983.
Larry Blekkenk, Sr., who operates the J & L Market with his wife, Jenny, was instrumental in creating The Valley Times. "We got it off the ground," he said. Other people initially involved with the publication were Larry Blekkenk, Jr., Kim Blekkenk, Terrie Sonju and Sylvia Cassidy.
The Valley Times began charging a dime for its publication in May 1986.
Several other publications have served the communities of Seeley Lake, Ovando and Swan Valley over the years. According to Mildred Chaffin, longtime Seeley Lake resident, Mrs. Jesse Perro started the first newsletter in the area sometime during the fifties.
In the early sixties, the SOS Writers' Club began publishing the SOS By-Line. According to the publisher's notice in the paper, Myrtle Eldridge was the editor, assistant editor was Jean Winthers; columnists were Mildred Chaffin, Eva Bower, Thelma Carnes and Irma Swallow (Seeley Lake); Wilda Mannix, Katherine Harper (Ovando); and Emma Strom (Swan Valley).
In 1965, the Seeley Lake Printers began publishing The Record. Editor was Myrtle Eldridge, assistant editor was George Eldridge. Sometime during the next year, the bi-weekly publication, which was sold for a dime to "places as far away as Alaska" according to Chaffin, ceased publication...
35 years ago: July 17, 1986 issue: Ken Wolff, Swan Valley carver & outdoorsman
Ken Wolff started carving in 1974 as therapy to get through some rough times in his life. That "therapy" has turned into a fulltime job for Wolff, who carves wildlife and western figures into antler, ivory, stone, metal and wood.
In 1980, Ken began carving fulltime and marketing his work regionwide.
His business, Moose Feathers Studio, came about because of the popularity of his "feather" earrings carved from moose antler. The business is located near his home on the corner of Kraft Creek and Highway 83.
"Art isn't that easy for me," Wolff said, "I work hard at it." He spends thousands of hours each year on his carvings. Some of the small, ultra-relief figures take more than 100 hours to complete. Other, larger projects may take months. Belt buckles, on the other hand, take six or eight hours.
"I've made my 700th cribbage board this month," he laughed, adding that he has carved over a thousand pieces since he began the business.
Wolff has always been a woodworker. He has restored antique furniture, carved in wood, and recently built a log home in the Swan with his partner in life, Jody Murphy. Together they have spent many hours on the detailed finish work. They have used redwood, native cedar, and added special touches like oak-trimmed cedar steps on the staircase in the cabin. The painstaking attention to detail shows in all of Ken's work, be it carving or woodworking.
On custom carving orders, Ken has carved antler...
20 years ago: July 19, 2001 issue: Conservation easements growing in the Swan Valley
Story Candace Durran
Montana Land Reliance
Why have you come to the Swan Valley? To partake of its breathtaking beauty, to enjoy recreation, wilderness adventure, water sports, solitude, time with family and friends, fishing and hunting? People have been coming to the Swan since before recorded time, drawn to the lush forests and plentiful water in its fens and bogs, streams, rivers and lakes. This abundant valley provides food and home to a magnificent array of plant and animal life, including the human population.
A Vision for the Future
Long-term residents as well as more recent arrivals are looking to the future of this jewel within the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem and have a vision for the Swan Valley as it will be. Some see the opportunity for continued recreational, commercial, and timber development. Others reflect on the opportunity for their grandchildren to come and enjoy a wildlands experience similar to the experience that captivated them when they first arrived. One vehicle to insure a variety of experiences are available to future generations is through a conservation easement. A conservation easement is the legal glue that binds...
To read more visit: https://www.seeleylake.com/home/customer_files/article_documents/2001-07-19.pdf