Montana Outdoors

November 7, 2007

Big Hole morning

To the east, a fresh new world; a new day, a new beginning.

Mission Mountains

To the south, the mountain slopes all point down toward a precious stream of life-giving water on its dangerous journey through the valley of men.

Clark Fork Valley

How does one really know where the earth stops and the sky begins? And exactly why would knowing that even matter?

Clark Fork River Valley under the clouds

(Photographed in early morning from the southeast shoulder of Big Hole Peak in the Cabinet Mountains of western Montana.)

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October 19, 2007

The balance

There is a balance which exists between mankind’s existence on and use of this Earth, and the ability of the natural world to support such existence and use. We don’t yet know what all of the rules are, or the boundaries and limitations. And yet…

A proposed Congressional Act, The “Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act” (HR 1975), which was designed to preserve much of the last remaining wild and natural country in the Northwest was discussed in the House of Representatives yesterday. The principal arguments against the Act were made by some politicians from a few western states who, under the guise of calling it a territorial dispute, want to retain the right to exploit National Forest System and public lands for the benefit of themselves and their own supporters, entirely disregarding the much larger issue.

We in the west are governed, in large part, by fools.

An A.P. story about yesterday’s discussion in the House may be found HERE

Information about HR 1975 may be found HERE

Information about the current roadless areas which are the areas addressed by the bill can be found HERE. This site will display maps of the roadless areas as road maps, topo maps or satellite maps.

A free printed copy of HR 1975 can be obtained from Congress by calling and requesting it at this phone number: 202-226-5210.

Since Wilderness designation is a big issue, there is an excellent website about wilderness which is a partnership project of the Wilderness Institute at The University of Montana’s College of Forestry and Conservation, the Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center, and the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute which may be found HERE

October 8, 2007

Early snow on the Coeur d’Alenes

Early snow on the Coeur d'Alenes

This area ( the Cherry Peak roadless area) would be preserved for those who will come after us by the passage of the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act, H.R. 1975, which is now in the House of Representatives.

October 7, 2007

Two questions

Filed under: Conservation, Environment, Montana, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures — montucky @ 8:30 am

These two issues currently in the news

  • The coal-fired power plant at Colstrip in eastern Montana is currently producing 18 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, along with many other tons of even worse-polluting gasses.
  • Montana has recently created a new state office, the Energy Infrastructure Promotion and Development Division, to promote new power lines and other energy infrastructure to help encourage new electric power plants in Montana.

compel me to ask these two questions:

  • Do we really want to destroy clouds this white, air this pure and sky this blue?

Blue sky, white clouds

  • When will we stop building more and more power plants to meet more and more per capita power demand and start getting at what we really need to do: conservation?

September 26, 2007

A river in peril

I have been posting fall photos of a section of Thompson River here in western Montana. There are three in this post and three more that I will post later. It seems important to me not to just show some scenery that I think is truly beautiful, but to show this river for what it is and has been. It may not be this way much longer.

The land bordering the river over its southern twenty miles until it flows into the Clark’s Fork of the Columbia is part of the Lolo National Forest: it is owned by all of us. Along the rest of the river upstream however, including the stretches where these photos were taken has been owned for a long time by the Plum Creek Timer Company.

Plumb Creek historically managed its land for lumber use, and as such served as a sort of separate extension of the forest: its ownership was transparent. Now, Plumb Creek is no longer a timber company, but a REIT (real estate investment trust). They are now actively engaged in not only the sale of their lands but in a rapidly growing number of cases, the development of them.

Possibly and in my opinion probably, this prime view property will be sold or developed for very high-end homes, trophy homes perhaps, for the pleasure of the very wealthy. Much of it is already being heavily logged, and my guess is that, as soon as the REIT decides the profit will be at the maximum, will be sold or developed. I sincerely hope that I’m wrong, but I don’t think so. The days when photos like these can be taken here are most likely numbered, and I shudder to think of what the quality of the rest of the river could become if the upstream portion is developed.

Thompson River

Thompson River

Thompson River

August 17, 2007

Western Larch

Filed under: Conservation, Environment, Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures, Trees — montucky @ 10:52 pm

Survivors of fire themselves not too many years ago, these Western Larch stand tall and defiant against a background of smoke from a current wildfire burning less than ten miles away, demonstrating the indomitable spirit of the wild country.

Western Larch

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