Mountain High 

The season is changing and, with it, your recreation options, which are no less numerous but aimed toward different avenues of exploration in the coming months. All the diverse outdoor activities we enjoy in Western Montana owe no small debt to the broad expanses of public lands surrounding us.

That means educating yourself about those lands is an important part of being a Montanan, and the Northern Rockies Nature Forums for Fall 2005 could give you a big boost up your learning curve. The forums kick of Tuesday, Sept. 13, with “Montana’s Roadless Wildlands: The Case for Protection,” a panel discussion moderated by Wildlands CPR Executive Director Bethany Walder.

That first panel features former Montana Congressman Pat Williams, Gloria Flora, director of Sustainable Obtainable Solutions, and Montana Sierra Club Conservation Organizer Bob Clark, and takes place from 7 to 9 PM in the North Underground Lecture Hall on the UM Campus. The Northern Rockies Nature Forum is a series of free community-oriented discussions on the ecology, biodiversity, restoration and future of natural landscapes in the Northern Rockies and is sponsored by the Native Forest Network. Visit for more information on the series, which continues through December. At the very least, attending could give you something more interesting to talk about on the trail than what you scored during The Trailhead’s Gambler’s Sale.

Another chance to get wise about the outdoors arrives when the Sierra Club looks to educate the public about one particular stretch of public land, specifically the area currently being considered for the Lolo Peak ski resort. That’s going to happen on their Saturday, Sept. 10, excursion to Carlton Lake and the summit of Lolo Peak. On the way up and back, hikers can consider the impact development would have on the 10,000 acres of roadless wildlands that you’ll be able to see from the high country. Call 549-1142 for more info.

That same day, Saturday, Sept. 10, the Rocky Mountaineers plan a trip in the area of Mineral County including Heart, Pearl and Dalton Lakes. The exact route will depend on group consensus, to be negotiated during the morning rendezvous at Durango’s Restaurant. Call 822-5000 for details.

Wanna see some birds? Check out the Five Valleys Audubon Society’s half-day field trip to Smurfit-Stone Container to look for waterfowl and shorebirds on Saturday, Sept. 10. Meet at 8 AM at the UM Fieldhouse parking lot or call 549-5632 for more info.

And if you’re beaming with pride from a trip you took this summer or looking forward to some cold-weather excursions, try to make it to the first fall/winter-season meeting of the Rocky Mountaineers, which happens Wednesday, Sept. 14, at 7 PM at Pipestone Mountaineering, 129 W. Front St. Bring slides and photos from your adventures and an appetite for some complimentary refreshments.

If you feel like expending some energy on organized sports, there are options aplenty opening up this week.

For instance, boys and girls ages 8 to 10 can sign up through Friday, Sept. 9., for Missoula Parks and Rec’s Junior Playmakers, this fall’s flag football league, which will emphasize basic football skills, fair play and fun. Parent coaches are also needed. Call 258-3756 to get the details.

For adults interested in a little friendly competition, a free agent round-up for the fall season of UM intramural outdoor soccer, touch football and ultimate frisbee will be held at 6 PM on Tuesday, Sept. 13. So, if you want to play but don’t have a team, come down and meet some like-minded folks with whom you can build one. If you already have a team, your roster is due by 7 PM on the same day. Call 243-2804 for the location.

If ice hockey is more your style, the last chance to sign up for the GHL Adult City league is Saturday, Sept. 10, from 9 AM to noon at the fairgrounds. Head to the first building inside the main gate to sign up.

Love to compete but hate team sports? You’ve probably already discovered disc golf. Meet others like yourself when Missoula hosts the Montana State Disc Golf Championships Saturday, Sept. 10, and Sunday, Sept. 11, at the Blue Mountain and Pattee Canyon Disc Golf courses. To sign up, meet at 9:30 AM on Saturday at the lower lot of Blue Mountain. There will also be a random draw doubles tournament beginning Friday, Sept. 9, at 6 PM from the bottom lot at Blue Mountain. All skill levels are encouraged to attend; entry fees are $15–$50, depending on your division. Call the Garden City Flyers at 880-4491 for more information.

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