Mountain High 

The Bitterroot National Forest has taken two projects and awkwardly turned them into one. The Middle East Fork Hazardous Fuel Reduction Project ostensibly includes removing burnable trees within a defensible radius of a small valley community, but it also calls for subsidized logging of big old trees miles from these homes.

This lumping of two disparate projects into one “Healthy Forest” proposal effectively muddies the waters of public understanding, say Friends of the Bitterroot and the Native Forest Network, and in order to provide an unbiased discussion they’ve arranged a panel of scientists to set the record straight.

Hunters, skiers, hikers, anglers and other interested parties are invited to UM’s North Underground Lecture Hall June 28 at 7 p.m. to observe and participate in this discussion on water quality, soils, insects, disease, wildfire and forest ecology.

Bitterroot N.F. officials will be on hand to explain their “preferred alternative,” and conservationists will argue that their less-expensive alternative provides the same level of community protection—without logging remote old-growth Ponderosas on 4,000 acres of public land.

Learn more at http://www.nativeforest.org/middle_east_fork.htm or www.fs.fed.us/r1/bitterroot/planning/decisiondocs/decisiondocs.html.

Although mountain lions kill humans far less frequently than dogs, lightning or even vending machines, their wily ways and impressive canines scare the bejesus out of suckers throughout their territory. Dispel the myths surrounding these impressive cats by educating yourself on their biology, behavior and habitat June 25 at 8 p.m. as FWP wildlife specialist Bob Wiesner presents a free discussion at Beavertail Hill State Park, 26 miles east of Missoula on I-90. To learn more about this and other FWP summer programs, contact Elizabeth Sperry at 542-5533.

The Glacier Institute is offering six courses this week, with options including a “North Fork River Ecology by Raft” course June 24—25 for $345, a “Spring Mushroom Extravaganza” June 25–26 with mushroom guru Larry Evans for $145, a “Glacier’s Birds of Prey” course June 25–26 for $150, a “Wild Medicinal Herbs” course June 26 for $55, a “Birding and Kayaking” course June 29 for $100 (+ $30 for boat rental) and a “Life in Glacier’s Streams” course June 30 for $50. For the full scoop on these and other courses call 755-1211 or log on to www.glacierinstitute.org.

Kids of all ages are invited to the Children’s Museum Family Folf Festival June 26 from 12 to 4 p.m. at the Pattee Canyon Picnic Area. In addition to the standard 19-hole disc golf course, organizers will have an “exclusively designed kid-friendly Frisbee golf course” as well as take-home “mini folf discs” and other family-friendly activities. For more information, call Ashley Parkinson at 721-7690.

Hey runners! Head up the Seeley/Swan Valley June 25 for a 10 a.m. “Celebrate the Swan Run”, a 5K, 10K or half-marathon race in Condon that will “help purchase lands in this rural/ecologically rich landscape.” Running along forest service roads beneath the Swan Range, participants will score a t-shirt, homebaked goods and prizes. For registration or more information contact the Swan Ecosystem Center at (406) 754-3137 or email swanec@blackfoot.net.

Or check out the 28th annual Whitefish Lake Run June 25, a 5K or 10K that starts at the city beach at 8 a.m. There are both competitive and recreational events (and no race-day entry), so contact the Sportsman & Ski Haus today at 862-3111 or bbrist@sportsmanskihaus.com.

Take a three-day, Lewis and Clark-oriented backpacking trip into the Great Burn July 29–31 with the Sierra Club’s Bob Clark and you’ll get “an informative and entertaining visit from a time-traveling Pvt. Joseph Whitehouse.” Your route will include 15 miles of on- and off-trail travel as you parallel the explorers’ route across the mountains, so call Clark (uh, that’s Bob, not Captain) at 549-1142 to book your spot on this trip.

Missoula boaters rejoiced in 2004 when Alberton Gorge was brought into public ownership via a complex land exchange, and water lovers of all stripes are invited to join Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) and Five Valleys Land Trust June 29 from 5 to 8 p.m. to commemorate this critical acquisition. To get there, head west on I-90 to the Cyr exit and then 3.5 miles on the frontage road to the party spot. Learn more by calling Greg Tollefson at 549-0755.

Dig flowers? Adore avians? Then join the Native Plant Society and Five Valleys Audubon Society on an all-day field trip to the Bandy Ranch near Ovando June 26 for a combo birding/wildflower trip. Count on “considerable” hiking near a reservoir and prairie potholes as you look for loons, Sandhill Cranes, Red-naped Sapsuckers and a multitude of flowers. Meet at the UM Fieldhouse parking lot at 8 a.m., lunch in hand, or call Larry Weeks at 549-5632 for more info on this free trip.

The Rocky Mountaineers are stewards of a semi-secretive cabin in the Bitterroot Mountains, located mere steps from the Wilderness boundary and smack dab in the center of excellent glade skiing. But along with the perks of mountainside cabins come responsibilities, and on June 26 these go-getters will host a work day at the cabin to clear brush and fireproof the structure for the upcoming summer season. Julie Kahl is leading the trip—which includes a kid’s campout June 25 either at the cabin or near the trailhead—so do your part by calling 543-6508.

Send your fun-in-the-sun schedule to photo@ missoulanews.com.

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