Mountain High 

Remember, kids: Burning is a big decision.

Nobody’s more on point about this issue than your Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC), who aim to keep those natural resources from becoming charred and not-quite-so-useful. The 2009 general burning season began Sun., March 1, but before you run off to torch anything that’s not bolted down, consider this: Burning permits are both required and free in Missoula County, and you’re responsible throughout the life of your burn pile. You can score a permit at your nearest fire station, Forest Service or DNRC office, and more info’s available at

On the opposite end of the elemental spectrum, we have water. The Watershed Education Network (WEN) currently offers crucial steam monitoring trainings so I urge you all to consider this opportunity. Attend one of two WEN Community Stream Monitoring Trainings, which begin with a meeting at the Greenough Park Pavilion: Choose from Sun., March 8, at 1 PM, and/or Thu., March 12, at 3 PM. They’re free, super informative and supply you with the skills to keep a watchful eye on one of our most fragile, if fire-resistant, natural resources. Call 541-9287, e-mail, or visit

One last note before I set you loose: Stevensville’s Clearwater Farm urgently seeks your involvement as a volunteer, intern or member of their upcoming Community Supported Agriculture season. Work is available in Stevi and Corvallis, people with all levels of expertise are welcomed and they just can’t wait to hear from you. Call Sandy at 370-0808 or Traci at 381-1960.

We last left off at this week’s entry point: On Thu., March 5, you can vicariously experience the life of a year-round mountain biker when the film Seasons screens at 7 PM in UM’s Urey Lecture Hall. It’s free, so the decision’s been made for you.

Looking for something a bit more hands-on? The Audubon Society obliges with the third in their series of Advanced Birding workshops: At 7 PM on Thu., March 5, join Steve Hoffman at the Fish, Wildlife & Parks office on Spurgin Road for the class “Raptors.” The class runs $15, and you’re to call Larry at 549-5632 to register.

Instead, select something a bit more physical when you dip into UM’s Grizzly Pool, where at 8 PM on Thu., March 5, the Fundamentals of Whitewater Kayaking course begins. Additional class meetings take place on March 10, 12, 17, 19 and 22, the $155 covers pool use, equipment and instruction and you’re encouraged to call 243-5172.

And if ArtWalk’s not your idea of a proper Friday, that’s fine. In that case, head up to the Whitefish Mountain Resort, where the final event in their Night Riders Park Series—the Best Trick Championships—begins with registration at 4 PM on Fri., March 6. Once the inspections are through, you’ll have a shot at showing the gathered portion of humanity just exactly how fly you can be. Please wear a helmet. Call 862-2900 or visit

They say opposites attract, which is the only way this next event even comes close to making sense. UM’s mad Physical Therapy students sponsor the All-You-Can-Eat Pancake Breakfast and Bust-A-Gut 5k Race starting with registration at 7:30 AM at Christ the King Church, 1400 Gerald Ave., on Sat., March 7. You’re invited to take on whatever part(s) of the event you’d like, and in any order, so call 243-4753, or just show up.

Two days of snowboard madness—sponsored by our very own Edge of the World Board Shop—ensue when Montana Snowbowl hosts the 21st annual Snowboard Jam on Sat., March 7, and Sun., March 8, with registration starting at 9 AM in the bar. It costs $10 per day to enter, and you can get more info when you call 549-9777, or visit

Missoulians on Bicycles rolls back into their seasonal spotlight with two rides offered this weekend. On Sat., March 7, meet at 10 AM at the old 4-B’s parking lot (corner of Brooks and Reserve streets) for a 25-mile ride around Blue Mountain and Big Flat. Call Ken at 239-9754. That night, be sure to drink plenty of electrolytes and down massive bowls of pasta, as that same rough posse invites you to meet at 10 AM on Sun., March 8, in the Eastgate parking lot for the 25-mile Tour de Turah. Call Katie at 721-8540. And don’t forget to set your clocks ahead one hour on Sat. night.

In between those rides, you’ve a chance to support wild animals and your ability to hunt them when you attend the Hellgate Hunters and Anglers’ Wild Night for Wildlife at 5:30 PM at Fort Missoula’s Heritage Hall on Sat., March 7. The wild game buffet tastes as good as conserving habitat and heritage feels. $20 includes a one-year membership. Call 543-3144 or e-mail

Now that your blood’s pumping, settle down a bit with the Montana Native Plant Society, which presents the talk “Natural History and Conservation of the Great American Prairie” by Brain Martin during their meeting at 7 PM on Mon., March 9, in Room L14 of UM’s Gallagher Business Building. Free.

Another chance to boost your brain comes on Wed., March 11, as the Montana Natural History Center hosts Forest Service botanist Steve Shelly, whose lecture “Orchids and Other Rare Plants of Montana” begins at 7 PM. It’s geared toward adults, costs $4 and you can call 327-0405.

And as always, there are more happenings, but no more space. Until next week, go on and burn one down, but for Pete’s sake, get a permit first.
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