Crown of the Continent E-Notes, Issue 2

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Crown Continent The University of Montana

of the

E – N ot e s N o. 2 , S U M M E R 2 0 1 0


Glacier National Park


and its mountains

f all of Montana’s mountain ranges, the peaks of Glacier National Park are undeniably the most beautiful. Serving as a living textook

of the forces of glaciation and erosion it is here that glaciers of ice ages past did their finest work Essentially, during pre-historic geologic history, these awesome mountains were built from enormous slabs of sedimentary rock. Like the Bob Marshall Wilderness ranges to the south, this northern extension of the Lewis Overthrust (a geographic term meaning that tougher, older rocks slid up and over younger ones) was pushed eastward by incredible tectonic forces within the earth’s crust. The trenches left between the uplifts became the Flathead and North Fork Valleys. Estimates are that these slabs moved about 35 to 50 miles from their original location to form Glacier’s summits. An estimated 25 active alpine glaciers clinging to high cirques and north facing headwalls are scattered throughout

this 1,538-square-mile preserve. Every year hundreds of trekkers visit the largest glaciers—430-acre Blackfoot, 217-acre Grinnell and 220-acre Sperry. These and the other ice fields throughout the peaks are not remnants of past ice ages, but were formed in relatively recent years. At the current rate of warming and melt, it is estimated that all of the glaciers could be gone by the year 2020. At one time, ice spread out far beyond the mountains and filled most of the area’s valleys to a depth of 3,000 feet. Only the highest summits felt the sun’s warmth. The force and cutting power of the ice left behind over 200 lakes, countless waterfalls, 3,000- to 4,000-foot high towering rock walls, and magnificent U-shaped valleys. It is the work of the glaciers that gave the park its name. Perhaps this place established in 1910 should have been named Glaciated National Park.

By Rick and Susie Graetz

Photo by Rick and susie graetz Mount Reynolds and Mount Clements rise on the left and right of Logan Pass. Glacier National Park is divided by two ranges: the eastern 65-mile long Lewis Range and the 35-mile long Livingston Range to the west. The record skyscraper in the Park, 10,466-foot Mount Cleveland, is in the Lewis group. Kintla Peak at 10,101 feet is the tallest of the Livingston apexes. Although not as high as southern Montana’s mountains, the relief makes these massifs seem taller. Cleveland’s north face, rising 6,700 feet in four miles, has the distinction of being Montana’s steepest vertical ascent. Other prominent peaks are 9,380-foot Mount St. Nicholas, a distinctive towering point visible from Highway 2 in the southwest, and three summits Continued on PAGE 4

PAGE 1: Crown of the Continent E-Notes, NO. 2

from the directors


By Jerry Fetz and Rick Graetz We appreciate the many comments you have sent us for each of our previous E-Publications —E-Magazine No.1 in Spring 2009, E-Notes No.1 in Autumn 2009, and EMagazine No. 2 in Winter 2010. If you missed these, you may access them through our website. And we hope you will enjoy the website as well. By mid-autumn, much more will be added to it. It is our goal to create a kind of online encyclopedia of the Crown of the Continent. Suggestions are welcome. The University of Montana Crown of the Continent Initiative is our main focus; however, last winter we began exploratory work of similar kinds in the Greater Yellowstone, where UM faculty and students have been involved in educational and research activities for many years—see the map of the Greater Yellowstone at the end of this E-Notes, Yellowstone National Park, the centerpiece of the Greater Yellowstone, can boast of being America’s and the world’s first national park.

On March 1, 1872, President Ulysses Grant signed legislation creating Yellowstone Park. The park’s story is fascinating and well-documented in numerous excellent books, but for starters we highly recommend the two-volume work by Aubrey Haines, ”The Yellowstone Story: A History of our First National Park,” Volume 1 and Volume 2, both revised editions. In our autumn E-Magazine, due to be published in November, we will discuss more about The University of Montana’s work in this 20 millionacre Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. It is perhaps obvious to you with this, our second E-Notes, that the Notes look more like a magazine than a newsletter. Indeed, there is so much to cover that mere short notes are difficult to produce. From here forward, we will publish three EMagazines per year, rather than two E-Magazines and two E-Notes. We have some very interesting inclusions to start with the very next issue. Continued on NEXT PAGE

We’d Like Your Help Donations large and small—$5, $10, $25 or more—are needed as we grow our efforts to bring you “The Crown” in a variety of ways and formats: Symposia, such as the one we recently held in Kalispell, book projects, newsletters, regular issues of this E-Magazine, etc. Your contributions also will enable us to get students “into the field” in Crown areas, offer courses for them and the general public, support student research projects, and provide you and other interested parties with accessible and high-quality information about our wonderful and fascinating Crown. Donations are tax-deductible and should be sent to: The University of Montana Foundation, P.O. Box 7159, Missoula, MT 59807

Please make checks payable to the UM Foundation with a notation to be directed to the “Crown of the Continent initiative.” You also may donate online at https://safe. fundraiser/?s=6070. Select your desired gift amount, designate it to the College of Arts & Sciences and note that your gift should go to the “Crown of the Continent Initiative” on page labeled “Additional Comments/Instructions Regarding Your Gift.” Thank you.

THE UNIVERSITY OF MONTANA CROWN OF THE CONTINENT INITIATIVE Department of Geography – Old Journalism Building The University of Montana, Missoula, Montana 59812


George M. Dennison President Royce C. Engstrom Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs James P. Foley Executive Vice President Dan Dwyer Vice President for Research & Development Christopher Comer Dean, College of Arts and Sciences © The University of Montana PAGE 2:

Faculty and students from many University of Montana departments contribute to the Crown of the Continent Initiative’s overall efforts, including this publication.


Rick Graetz – Initiative Co-Director, Geography faculty Jerry Fetz – Initiative Co-Director, Professor & Dean Emeritus, Coll. of Arts & Sciences Keith Graham – Art Director, School of Journalism faculty Ashley Zuelke – Designer and Copy Editor, Journalism and Political Science Student Joe Veltkamp – Web Designer, Economics and Media Arts Student, Spectral Fusion Susie Graetz – Editorial Consultant, International Programs

Any use or reproduction of this work requires permission of the directors of the Crown of the Continent Initiative. Published by The University of Montana Press.

“Our program is meant to serve as an umbrella for all involved in educational and research activities to broaden the public’s knowledge of this ecosystem.” — Rick Graetz and Jerry Fetz

For information about events, opportunities, and other shorter pieces that we had intended to be the major feature of the “Notes,” we will recommend that you access our Crown website, where we will work hard to keep that kind of information up to date. A short discussion is in order concerning the aim and concept “Crown of the Continent.” There are many organizations and individuals working in the Crown, some of them focusing on policy, while others deal with environmental and transboundary issues, history and tourism, or research activities. Our program is meant to serve as an umbrella for all involved in educational and research activities in order to broaden the public’s knowledge of this ecosystem. We do this through presentations, symposia, E-Publications,

and newspaper articles. It is our goal to cooperate and collaborate with these other organizations and agencies. In no way is it our intention to compete with them. The MISTAKIS INSTITUTE Crown region is diverse and fascinating enough that there is plenty of room for all of us who focus on it. We would be happy to answer questions that any of our readers might have about our mission and how we are strategically attempting to fulfill that mission. As one can readily see from the content and contributors to our E-publications, the UM Crown Initiative is a collaborative effort with many partners: academic and administrative units and individual faculty across our campus as well as agencies and organizations off-campus throughout this very special region. And it is our goal to reach out and involve many more off-campus partners and friends in the coming months and years in ways that will support their missions as well as ours. PAGE 3: Crown of the Continent E-Notes, NO. 2

Rick and susie graetz

A red “Jammer” Bus follows the Going-to-the-Sun Highway – Mt Oberlin and Bird Woman Falls in the background Continued from FRONT PAGE near Logan Pass—9,157-foot Mount Reynolds, 8,764-foot Mount Clements and 9,604foot Going-To-The-Sun Mountain. The only road crossing Glacier is the narrow, winding, stunning and aptly named Going-To-The-Sun Highway. Completed in 1932 after 11 years of construction, this scenic byway and engineering marvel gives access to the same type of scenery that only backcountry wanderers experience. Open from late-June until late September, the route is otherwise blocked by avalanches, deep snow and drifts, which pile to depths of more than 70 feet. Nearly all of Glacier, though, is wilderness backcountry, and 700 miles of trails lead to some of the grandest sights on the continent. A few of the most-favored hikes are the routes out of southern Waterton Lake up to Hole-In-The-Wall and Boulder and Brown’s passes; the North Circle footpath out of Many Glacier leading over Stony Indian Pass to Granite Park; the Sperry Glacier and Gunsight Lake Trail and a couple out of Two Medicine Lake. Backcountry permits PAGE 4

are required for overnight use and are easily obtained from any Glacier Park ranger station and at St. Mary and Apgar. Nearly two-thirds of the Park is covered with thick evergreen forests. On the west side, in the area of McDonald Lake, plentiful moisture allows for the tall western red cedars to thrive. In the remote northern part of the park, heavy forests on the slopes of the big peaks provide excellent grizzly bear habitat. Most other big game animals— black bear, deer, elk, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and cougars—call the entire terrain home. A multitude of small critters makes a good living here too. In the north of the park, against the Canadian border, a less-often visited but favored section of the park stretches westward from the foothills of the Livingston Range. Out of the quaint hamlet of Polebridge, several remote, sparkling, alpine lakes—Kintla, Bowman and Quartz among them—fill ancient glacial troughs. Embraced and fed by glorious peaks, these basins of liquid sunshine eventually empty into the pristine North Fork of the Flathead River, which forms the Park’s sunset perimeter.

The landscape around the Park’s western entrance is also a place to see and study the results of numerous wildfires that have burned extensive acreage in the valley and up the mountain slopes. Historically speaking, the land has seen human use by a variety of intruders. Glacier’s almost overpowering and etched landscape has long held great spiritual importance to the Blackfeet, Salish and Kootenai people. Fur trappers first visited here in the early 1800s, prospectors appeared in 1895 for unsuccessful mining attempts, and early tourists began arriving in the late 1890s. Owing to the efforts of people like George Bird Grinnell who felt this special landscape should be preserved, it was designated in 1910, as the nation’s tenth national park. Editor’s Note: In 2010, Glacier celebrates 100 years since its creation on May 11, 1910. There is much to know and learn about this national treasure. Future editions of our Crown E publications will cover aspects of the Park, such as, place names, trails and historic accounts.

Discover Glacier’s Beginning with a beautiful book detailing GNP decade by decade, covering the geologic and human history, from American Indian tribes to early settlers, including a chronolgy of events from prehistory to present

Through arrangements with Farcountry Press, our readers can purchase this book directly.the Crown of the Continent Initiative and The University of Montana will receive a generous donation for each book sold.

10 ½ “ x 12” Hard Cover | 168 Pages more than 240 Paintings and Photographs

To order: CALL (888) 333-1995 or GO TO PAGE 5: Crown of the Continent E-Notes, NO. 2

Summers on the Trails of Mount Brown

By Jim Foley I’m a Montanan who was born with one foot in Anaconda and Butte and the other in Helena. But nearly every summer of my youth, my mother, from Butte, and father, from Anaconda, saw to it that my sisters, brothers and I spent time together – firmly planted among special places in northwest Montana called Glenwood, West Glacier and Lake McDonald. As years have passed, my family and I continue to wander back to northwest Montana especially during summers to spend time near lakes with each other and with friends, or on my own for runs, rides and hikes. When I can, I make a point to hike Mount Brown. In a canoe on Lake McDonald, a young relative once explained to me that Mount Brown is the easiest of all to spot –as he pointed up to the “the mountain behind the Lodge that looks like a giant cookie with a big bite out of it.” The mountain itself is named for William Brown, the solicitor general for the Chicago and Alton Railroad. According to Glacier National Park historians, one day in 1894 a few members of Brown’s party were camping and fishing on a trip near Lake McDonald. For no particular reason, they climbed the mountain and named it afterwards for Brown. Views from the top of Brown make it easy for anyone to recognize why a fire lookout was built here in 1929. Today the Mount Brown Lookout is listed on the National Historic Lookout Register. Over the years, others have described the Mount Brown Lookout Trail as “the PAGE 6

Mount Brown photo courtesy of Glacier National Park Archives.

steepest calf-burning climb” in the Park. Those who have ever really been there always point out the trail’s twenty-eight switchbacks, which climb nearly 4,500 feet from trailhead to lookout steps, and up to the deck with a view like none other, and a registry hikers sign to prove they have been there. The Lookout was last manned on a full time basis for the fire season of 1971 and

google maps rehabilitated in 1999. On my last trip to Mount Brown Lookout I stood on the lookout deck and squinted down on the shoreline of Lake McDonald and studied burnt stands of trees and the silhouette of Trout Ridge and beyond. I tried to envision what it had all looked like before the fires of 2003, but couldn’t. I recalled a confusing phone call I had received from a weary and worried For-

Rick and susie graetz Mount Brown rises just above the boat in Lake McDonald this photo. The trail to the pinnacle is considered the steepest and most grueling hike in the park, gaining 4,305 feet from the trailhead to the summit. The incredible view from the top is the reward for the effort. est Service staffer at the height of some of the most dramatic fire activity that would ultimately burn 144,000 acres in the Park. In September of 2003. I served as Montana Chief of Staff to U.S. Senator Max Baucus. Fire raged across northwest Montana and Glacier National Park, pressing down upon the north shore of Lake McDonald, threatening, by less than a dozen yards, to burn cabins at the far corner of the Lake still held by property owners. As the fire moved in, a Forest Service staffer on an incident command team tracked me down by phone. He asked me, frantically, “I know there is Senator Baucus and I know there is Senator Burns—so who is Senator Wheeler?” Burton K. Wheeler was a Butte attorney. He also served as a U.S. Senator from Montana from 1923 to 1947. Of himself, he once famously said, “I’ve been accused of almost everything except timidity.” In 1915, he first visited Lake McDonald and the following year leased land and purchased a cabin in the Park. Senator Wheeler’s cabin burned in 1941 but was rebuilt the next year. Today, Wheeler’s family gathers at the lakeside cabin for summers, and it is listed

on the National Register of Historic Places. I couldn’t see it from the Lookout, but I smiled knowing the Senator’s cabin still stood—safe and sound. Not too long ago a friend gave me a book written by brothers who also spent their youthful summers on the shores of a northwest Montana lake. The book is Fate is a Mountain, by Mark Parratt, and tells the stories of his two brothers who spent summers in cabins near Lake McDonald, and later at the Sun Camp Ranger Station. In a recent interview, Parratt said “when I go to Glacier today, it’s like I never left. It’s the same place. The mountains and the wildness, that hasn’t changed a bit.” As I reflect on what brings me back again and again, to take on those not-so punishing twenty-eight switchbacks up to Mount Brown Lookout, I think about those words from Parratt. When I spend time in Glacier, it’s like I’ve never left. It hasn’t changed a bit. Special places have this in common. It’s why we come back again and again. Some places are more special than most. Mount Brown is that place for me.

Jim Foley on Mount Brown. Jim Foley is a Montana native and serves as The University of Montana’s Executive Vice President. Prior to this appointment, he was Senator Max Baucus’ Montana Chief of Staff. Jim also was Staff Director for Montana Congressman Pat Williams during his tenure in office.

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Issues on the crown

Protecting a Piece Missing from Waterton Lakes National Park By Dave Hadden


harvey Locke

The Canadian Flathead Valley and proposed parkland viewed from a potential coal mine site. A February 2010 agreement between British Colombia and Montana banned mining and energy resource development in the Flathead watershed. Most Montanans are unaware that Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta was incomplete when it was created by act of Parliament in 1895. As the sister park to Montana’s grand 1.2 millionacre Glacier National Park, the small 100,000 acre park omitted the west side of the continental divide - the storied Flathead watershed. The “Missing Piece”. However, in this 100th year for Glacier Park all eyes are on Canada—and British Columbia in particular—to complete Waterton. The Flathead side of the Continental Divide next to Waterton has been much in the news of late as a result of the B.C. government’s assertive efforts since 2000 to promote mountaintop removal coal PAGE 8

strip mining, gold mining and coal bed methane (CBM) proposals at the very headwaters of Montana’s wildest river. Montanans and many British Columbians objected strenuously to the industrial development plans for the North Fork Flathead that forms the western boundary of Glacier. It took ten years, from 2000 to 2010, to convince the B.C. government that they gained nothing by advancing mining and energy development plans. That in fact they and the world would lose an ecological jewel and a World Heritage Site were they to proceed to spill mine tailings into the Flathead. The debate with B.C. ended this February during the Winter

Plan a Trip on the North Fork By Headwaters Montana


Canoeing, Rafting, and Kayaking

The North Fork has plenty of places to launch a boat. While you’re on the water, why not wet a fly line? Headwaters Montana advocates non-motorized boating on all North Fork Valley waters to preserve water quality.

The North Fork River is one of America’s first “Wild and Scenic” protected rivers. Let’s keep it wild by treating it with respect. Perhaps try one of these river segments, or combine several to create a trip that will be a life-long memory.

Bowman Lake: Length – 7 miles Accessible via Polebridge and 6 miles of dirt road. Tent and RV camping; trails, boat launch, and beach.

The Border to Ford Station 14 miles; 4 hours float time.

Kintla Lake: Length – 5 miles Accessible via Polebridge and the 16-mile-long Kintla Lake Road. Limited tent and RV camping is available; trails, boat launch (nomotors), and beach.

HIKING It’s one of the best ways to see the North Fork Valley — whether it is from the cloud-scraping peaks and ridges of Glacier Park or the mountains of the Whitefish Range, west of the river. All hiking distances are one-way. Many of these hikes are described in “Day Hikes Around the Flathead,” by Stormy Good. This guide is available at Hiking the Canadian side of the North Fork watershed takes extra planning, and a weekend, minimum.

Ford Station to Polebridge 11 miles; 3 hours float time. Polebridge to Big Creek 18 miles; 5 hours float time. Big Creek to Glacier Rim 12 miles; 2.5 hours float time. Glacier Rim to Blankenship 4 miles; 1.5 hours float time.

Suggested river guidebook: “Three Forks of the Flathead,” by the U.S. Forest Service Suggested river guide services: Glacier Wilderness Guides & Montana Raft Company

Consult with knowledgeable people before embarking on unknown stretches of the North Fork. Find out water and weather conditions before launching. Call the US Forest Service at 406-387-3800 or Glacier Park officials at 406- 8887800 for the latest information. Please remember to abide by all Montana boating regulations.

Our Favorite Montana Hikes: Numa Lookout in Glacier Park at Bowman Lake campground; 5.25 miles; 2,900’ gain. Mount Hefty in the Whitefish Range; 8.8 miles; 3.260’ gain. Tuchuck Mountain, Whitefish Range; 11.5 miles; 3,100’ gain. Cyclone Lookout, near Polebridge; 2.5 miles; 1,000’ gain. Glacier View Mountain, Whitefish; 2 miles; 1858’ gain. Huckleberry Lookout near Apgar; 6 miles; 2,725’ gain.

Our Favorite Canadian Hikes: Akamina Pass/Wall and Forum Lakes Easiest access is from Cameron Lake in Waterton Lakes National Park; or a true wilderness experience from the British Columbia side. The Font Experience Access is via Sage Creek Road; 6 km; 750m gain. Maps of the Canadian Flathead are available at Find travel info at Background courtesy of Google Maps

Olympic Games in Vancouver when B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell and Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer signed a memorandum of understanding over the Flathead. The MOU marked the end of a 35-year debate over appropriate management of the North Fork Flathead —which has come to be known as the Transboundary Flathead River. Almost immediately, B.C. passed an “Order in Council,” banning mining and energy development in the watershed. In early May, ConocoPhillips announced their return of 169,000 acres of oil and gas leases west of Glacier on the Flathead Forest. And senators Baucus and Tester have introduced S. 3075 to permanently ban withdrawing minerals from public lands in the North Fork. These actions represent conservation on a grand, even historic scale. But what does all this have to do with expanding Canada’s

Waterton Lakes National Park? Everything. The B.C. government acknowledged in February that the public interest is best served by permanently protecting the water, fish and wildlife of the wild Flathead. With a ban on mining and energy now solidifying on both sides of the border, the arguments against expanding Waterton into the Flathead have evaporated. Canada can finally complete Waterton Lakes National Park this year. Headwaters Montana is a Montana conservation group working with Canadians to reach this outcome. Want to help or participate? Please contact Headwaters Montana at or call 406-837-0783 to learn how you can help complete Waterton. Go to to see back issues of our e-newsletter that cover the issue. PAGE 9: Crown of the Continent E-Notes, NO. 2

book review

Find Your Own Favorite Glacier Hike By Jerry Fetz


nyone who has hiked in Glacier or Waterton Lakes National Parks most likely has a favorite hike, or two, or two dozen. We are often asked to recommend to friends and students hikes of various kinds, and we, too, find ourselves recommending our “favorites.” We (even Rick Graetz, who has hiked most of them) can’t claim to know them all, so we also rely for our own new hiking experiences on the several books that are available on this topic. Among them, in my estimation, Erik Molvar’s Hiking Glacier and Waterton Lakes National Parks, subtitled “A Guide to More than 60 of the Area’s Greatest Hiking Adventures,” now in its 3rd edition (Guilford, CT and Helena, MT: Falcon Guides, 2007), has been my favorite. Here’s why. Those of us who spend much time outdoors in Montana (and elsewhere) pursuing our outdoor activities have come to rely on Falcon Guides to provide useful information about where to Hiking Glacier and hike, climb, canoe or kayak, waterton lakes cycle or raft, or just plain enjoy fascinating and beautiful national Parks scenery. In this third edition of Molvar’s Hiking Glacier By Eric Molvar, Falcon Guides, and Waterton Lakes National $15.95 Parks, he provides us with an outstanding example of these invaluable guides. Beginning with a brief introduction to these spectacular parks, including a short description of their natural history; an excellent map that shows, via numbers, the locations of all the 60 hikes discussed in the book; suggestions on how to use the maps and other information in the guide; and some sage words of caution about hiking in this rugged region, the author provides information about eleven “Short Strolls and Nature Walks” in Glacier (including, for example, the McDonald Creek Trail, the Trail of the Cedars, the Running Eagle Falls Trail, the Swiftcurrent Nature Trail, and Rainbows Falls Trail) and in Waterton (Bears Hump, Lower Bertha Falls, Cameron Lake, and Blackiston Falls Trails, for instance). Generally easy hikes, ranging from one to six miles in PAGE 10

length, these hikes can be recommended to novices, families with children, or others who want to more easily enjoy some of the Parks’ natural beauty. The meat of the Guide, however, begins with a very useful “Trail Finder Table,” that offers information about whether the hike is “easy,” “moderate,” or “difficult;” and whether there are waterfalls, lowland lakes, glacier views, alpine meadows, alpine lakes, and/or lookouts or mountaintops along the way. The “Table” is followed by a“Map Legend” that can be referred to when reading about or studying the detailed, individual hike descriptions that follow. Those individual descriptions that make up the core of this Guide are organized in regions, beginning with the “North Fork” and proceeding through the “Lake McDonald Area,” the “Highline and Waterton Lake Vicinity,” the “Southern Sector,” “Two Medicine,” the “St. Mary Valley,” “Many Glacier,” the “Belly River Country,” and “Waterton Lakes National Park.” In each of these regionally-focused chapters, the reader finds excellent, informative, and inviting descriptions of anywhere from three to nine different hikes, with “connecting” or “additional” hikes suggested as well. Each hike’s description starts with basic information about elevation gain, elevation loss, maximum elevation, difficulty, and the available topo maps. Each description also tells how to get to the trailhead. The discussions of the hikes themselves are clearly written, provide descriptions of sites and orientation markers along the way, informative comments about some of the most interesting things one will see on or from the trail, and concludes with a list of “key points.” Rather than offering a map for each of the 60 hikes in the book, the author provides one or two that adequately cover the several hikes in a particular region. These maps are GPS-compatible, a feature that should please hikers who use these electronic devices. The Guide also displays good black and white photos throughout that illustrate some of the landscapes one will encounter. The book concludes with some recommendations for several “extended trips,” suggestions for further reading, information about “fishing opportunities” in the parks, and a “Backcountry Campground Table.” We recommend that you read about the hikes suggested and described in the areas you intend to hike and make your own decision about which one or ones you want to experience next, short or long, easy or difficult, through forested areas or open-vista landscapes, loop trips or up and back trails, day hikes or overnights. This very useful and well-conceived book gives you much of the information you will need to make

book review

Montana: A Place to Call Home By Rick and Susie Graetz Almost exclusively we review books directly related to the Crown of the Continent. Here we have an exception. This good bit of publishing from the Montana Historical Society contains many place names from throughout the Crown and the greater Yellowstone, another eco system we are about to become involved with. As the saying goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Unable to find the origin of the name of a certain mountain peak, staff at the Montana Historical Society Research Center made the decision to write “a comprehensive reference on Montana’s place names and natural features.” To do so, a quintet of talented researchers—Rich Aarstad, Ellie Arguimbau, Ellen Baumler, Charlene Porsild, and Brian Shovers, each with their varied areas of expertise—combed every kind of compilation of information about Montana imaginable and consulted with tribes and local historical societies in order to assemble a comprehensive trove of words, photos, and maps. The book leaves out little, if anything, when it comes to solving the mystery of our state’s geographic names. Towns, passes, wilderness areas, wildlife refuges, parks, lakes, creeks, rivers, historic sites, and even mountain ranges are all included. So who exactly is the tome aimed at? Some will devour the book at one sitting, reveling in its historic accuracy and detail; others will pick it up now and then, peruse the pages at whim, finding interesting tidbits that would make great “table conversation.” Still others will leave it in their car in order to reference the vast, incredible Montana landscape they are passing through. Outside of the sheer amount of information contained in Montana Place Names, what is most amazing is how well thought-out and easy to use it is—there are concise explanations of the places and no small print to squint at. Well-spaced historical photos comfortably break up the text, and color-coded, uncomplicated maps and a simple, straightforward cross-reference and locator system make places easy to find. The book opens with the 1,263 numbered entries and their descriptions in alphabetical order, followed by the twenty-four gazetteer-style segments of the map

smart decisions about when, where, and how to hike next. If you really want a handful of hiking recommendations from us, read in detail about the following in Molvar’s Guide. My favorites on the west side of Glacier Park (at the moment) are the hikes into Bowman Lake and the Lookout above it (in the North Fork, approximately 12 miles roundtrip); the shorter hike, but no less spectacular with regard to scenery, to Avalanche Lake (6.2 miles roundtrip); or the Mt. Brown Lookout Trail (10.8 miles roundtrip) which also branches into the Snyder Lakes Trail (8.8 miles roundtrip). Rick’s current favorites on the

Montana Place Names from Alzada to Zortman Montana Historical Society Research Center Staff Montana Historical Society Press, Helena, 2009.

of Montana. You’ve probably heard of the 624-mile Mullan Road that was begun in 1859 and stretched from Fort Benton, Montana, to Walla Walla, Washington, but we bet you didn’t know that camels, seemingly reserved for Asia’s Silk Road, were used to carry supplies to mining camps on portions out of Missoula that were too narrow for wagons. Did you know the Danaher, a familiar place to travelers in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, was named for a forest ranger–homesteader in the late 1890s? That the once, but no longer, bustling hamlet of Two Dot was descriptively named for the unpretentious brand of a local rancher? One of our favorites is number 1151, the tiny town of Outlook, snuggled up near the Canadian border in the far northeastern corner of the state, named when. . . . Why don’t we let you look it up on page 199 and find out for yourself ? It’s more fun that way. A must for your Montana library, this 380-page work—Montana Place Names—takes its place amongst the best.

east side of the Park are the Gunsight Pass Trail (10.1 miles oneway); the Siyeh Pass Trail (9.4 miles roundtrip); any of the Grinnell Complex trails, short or longer; and the Iceberg Lake Hike from Swift-current (9 miles roundtrip). But among the other 53 hiking recommendations made by the author of this essential guide, you are sure to find your favorites as well. Thanks to Erik Molvar and Falcon Guides for enhancing significantly our knowledge about hiking in the parks. Let’s go! And happy and safe hiking to you all.

PAGE 11: Crown of the Continent E-Notes, NO. 2

A Journey to the Flathead By Sam Johns Editor’s note: Traveling the shores of Flathead Lake before roads could be an adventure, and stories abound. The following comes to us courtesy of Nikki and Everit Sliter, who is the grandson of the founder of Big Fork. The note was penned in Kalispell, Montana on December 2, 1948 by Sam Johns, a pioneer in the Flathead and later a Kalispell businessman. The next time you drive between Missoula and Big Fork think about doing it on horseback.

Kalispell, Montana Dear Mrs. Morton,

Dec. 2, 1948

I enclose an article on my trip to the Flathead. The first man to greet me was Charlie Morton, and I have never forgotten our many dealings thereafter, always finding him measuring up to the good opinion and esteem I have, from the first, held for him. Sincerely, Sam Johns


rriving back in Helena about the 1st of September, 1889, after a summer in southeastern Montana, I stayed two days in Helena and on the third departed for Missoula. Here on the following day I purchased a saddle animal of sturdy build from an employee of the Missoula Mercantile Co. I inquired before the deal was completed if he had any bad traits. “Only one” he replied, “he don’t like having a saddle cinched too tight.” “Wants it so he can buck it off, is that the idea? I asked. “No, I have not known him to buck, but he will kick the daylights out of you if you don’t watch him when saddling.” On the 5th of September, some time after two P.M. I left Missoula for the Flathead country, my bed roll, fry pan and coffee pot back of the saddle, and a 40-82 Winchester under my leg, although the latter was shifted at times. This was a new caliber gun and I believe the first of its kind in the Flathead. I stopped over night at the summit (Evaro Hill of today) with a half breed Frenchman. Heavy timber surrounded his place, with a meadow showing through the trees to the north. The following morning, after paying my host for accommodations, and getting what information possible of the trail ahead, I was soon on my way. In recent travels on Highway No. 93 I have noticed the old log house is still there, unoccupied, but the timber all gone. For the next ten miles my journey took me through heavy timber and down to the Arlee prairie. Here I made better time, and during the entire day I met only Indians or half breeds, Arriving at Ravalli I stopped at Duncan McDonald’s hotel. Here the wagon road left the railroad for the Flathead country. At Ravalli, on the north side of the Jocko River, Duncan McDonald had a fair sized, thrifty looking orchard that I was very much interested in. I inquired of Duncan the best route to the Big Fork country. He told me the travel to the upper country was by the west side of the lake. There was no road on the east side. I inquired if one could get through on the east side of the lake. “Yes, there is a trail to Yellow Bay, but very seldom used, and you will have to look sharp PAGE 12

for a stranger can easily lose it, but you cannot get lost, you always have the lake not far away. From Yellow Bay north you will have game trails to confuse you, you will have to just pick your way through when you reach the lake, camp. You can probably make it from there in one day.” By this time I had discovered I had good bottom in my cayuse, but his former owner had told the truth in regard to his kicking ability, but he found I was a fair dodger and quick on my feet, and able to beat him to it and show him the error of his ways. I carried very little eats for myself, some bacon and coffee, but I did have a small feed of oats always for the horse, to keep him in kicking trim, and also for the reason he was doing most of the work. A good breakfast to start the day, I took chances for the other meals, pot luck, or arriving in time at some cabin near my trail. After leaving McDonald’s I was soon turning up the draw of the Ravalli hill, arriving at the summit I stopped to take my fill of the view, to the north the Mission valley, below, and the range of mountains of the same name guarding it on the east, a first view of the Flathead. Beautiful Flathead is right, and to this day, after a trip outside, when at the top of the Ravalli hill I always say to myself “home again.” Old John Henzlewood, who had told me of the Flathead and described it as a marvel of beauty and the finest section of prairie, timber, lake, stream and mountain country he had seen in his travels in the West, had not let his imagination run away with him, but knew his country and had guided me rightly to a new and promising land for a home. Resuming the journey down the north slope, passing a short distance west of the Mission (the Mission church at St. Ignatius), across the creek, and taking my way gradually nearer the mountains, but well out near the bottom of the foot hill slope, crossing streams where fordable, arriving about four o’clock at a half breed’s

rick and susie graetz

Looking Southwest on Flathead Lake toward Wildhorse Island. log cabin. Here I secured a good meal and had the woman put up a lunch for me, paying for the feeds. I again started north, after an hours travel I entered open yellow pine timber. I had noticed some ahead before entering the timber belt. It was no surprise to me when I began passing through a blackened forest ground with here and there a log still burning or some stump of a fallen tree, the fire from the signs an open timber grass fire. This I traveled through for three miles or more, and found myself well over towards the mountains and very near the lake when I left the burn. It` would soon be dusk and I began to keep an eye out for a camp site, water and grass where I could picket the cayuse. Another mile camp was made, and I turned in early. The morning broke clear and after a quick breakfast of bacon and coffee and the lunch I had brought from the woman the previous afternoon, Saddling up I was soon on my way. The trip around the lake was made slowly picking my way over a trail, I had to watch closely or side track myself. There were many soft places, owing to numerous springs and small streams. In order to find crossings without bogging down I left the places I took to the gravelly beach

along the lake shore. After passing Yellow Bay I kept well up and away from the lake for a time, but it was up and down more or less for several miles. It was getting along towards evening, and while giving the horse a short rest, not far from the lake and low down on the hill, I thought I heard an axe in use above and ahead of me. To make sure, I rode up the hill to find better traveling along a small bench, and after another quarter of a mile had been covered I again heard the sound of the axe, but much nearer and in the direction I was trailing. In a short time I came to a camp, where I found a campfire started and one man making preparations for supper. When I rode up he greeted me with a “Hello.� I inquired about how far it was to the Big Fork. “We just moved camp today to this spot and I would say we are about six miles south of the Big Fork. If you are thinking of making it to the head of the lake you will be overtaken by dark. You had better stop here tonight and go on in the morning. You are welcome. I told him I had a letter to E. L. Sliter, and gave my name. He in turn said he was Chas. Morton, and had a claim on the Flathead River, told me where to put my horse, and make myself at home. PAGE 13: Crown of the Continent E-Notes, NO. 2

He would be busy getting supper for the other men who would soon be in camp. Another half hour and five other men came in. I believe Gene Sears and Al Lee were among those new comers, but I am not sure I remember who the other three were, but I am sure of Charlie Morton, for he was the first man to welcome me to the upper Flathead and one does not soon forget the kind who always meet you with a smile and the hand of welcome. They were a friendly lot, and I listened in and found from their talk they were cutting a trail for a road south. These men had helped pave the way for me. Few however, had been here long, one to three years I judged form their conversation. We were all hunting our bed rolls by nine o’clock, early to bed and early to rise is the lot of the trail maker. This was one stopover I did not insult anyone by an offer to pay before leaving the following morning. The cayuse was feeling his oats and in good condition as we started out on the last lap of our journey. I remember passing a couple of small lakes about an hour after leaving the road camp, which had been located in timber back from and not in sight of the lake. On the new cut trail I was following I do not remember of seeing the big lake but once before dropping down to the Big Fork (he is referring to the river as there was no town at the time). This I forded a distance below where the present bridge is, going up the hill to a log cabin above the road where E. L. Sliter lived (near today’s high school). Morton had given such a good description of the place one could not miss it. I found no one at home. Relieved the horse of saddle and trappings and staked him out to good grass close by . Coming back to the house I took a good view of my surroundings, the lake lay to the south, below the house, on a small bench was another log cabin and barn. Below this, as far as I could see to the west was brush bottom land, to the east timbered hills and the roar of the rapids came to you. To the west, a scant half mile, on a somewhat higher hill, stood another cabin. Glancing down to the narrow lane the road followed I saw three men coming, and dropped down from the house to intercept them. They greeted me with “hello stranger.” Introducing myself they did the same. I inquired where Sliter was, and was told he was away and would not be back before night. “You come along with us and we’ll show you how to catch fish. No sense in your wasting your time waiting for Sliter.” “I’ll go if you will furnish me a line and hook.” My bluff was called for one of them fished from his pocket the necessary items even to cork and bait. I cut my own pole. My fishing friends were Wm. Main, known as Uncle Billie Rain, Old Man Chapman, as called, having two grown sons, and Jimmie Deneen a bachelor. All this I learned in due time. They proved to be good companions that forenoon, and the five nice trout I caught where the present power plant is, helped some and I don’t intend to tell any whopper and will let it go by saying of the four fishermen I had the most weight in fish caught by any of the bunch. That helped some in advancing me in the eyes and good opinion of my companions, nice friendly people with not a care, eats all around you, water, wood, and all three had dandy gardens. Maybe had to hump yourself a little after a deer, even the fool hens invited you to hit them over the head. I was beginning to fall for the country, for each day brought some new surprise. Rain invited me over to his place to show me his garden. On the way Jimmie Deneen dropped out of line to climb the hill to the cabin on the hill. We had left the fenced in land, passed around Jimmie’s hill, through a small stand of timber, came to another fenced in, small field, with another house near PAGE 14

the corner. I was told this was Mrs. Parriah’s place. Here another fenced in lane extended north. Chapman turned up the lane, while Rain took me along a short distance and through a gate to a log house, and other log buildings standing back from the road. Arriving at the house he called to his wife, who came to the door. “This is another pilgrim just arrived, Mr. Johns, - Mrs. Rain.” Rain handed over his catch of fish to his wife, saying “I want to show him our garden.” He was proud of that garden. Those coming first liked to show what could be grown in the Flathead. He had a small orchard started. “Chapman has a better and older one” he told me. It is about time I introduced Uncle Billie to you. The Rains came from Boulder, Montana. He had followed the blacksmith trade, getting old in years he desired to retire, and choose a claim in the peaceful Flathead. He was of medium height, and at one time no doubt of sturdy build. The years had shrunk him somewhat. I noticed a habit he had of eating tobacco. Most persons having the habit chew it. Uncle Billie ate it so fast he failed to keep all the juice inside, and it was only too evident he was addicted to the use of tobacco. He was a cheerful companion, and lively for his years, and had shown already he would make a good neighbor. As we moved toward the house he remarked “Dinner will be ready and we’ll soon have our feet under the table.” “I don’t want to put you to any trouble.” “Trouble! We don’t know what trouble is. You will find a place all set for you” and it was. During the meal I let Rain and the Mrs. do the talking, answering when a remark was addressed to me. I was busy showing Mrs. Rain that I appreciated her good dinner. Fish was part of the fare, and this was the best meal I had sat down to since leaving Missoula. I heard enough of by-play between the Rains to see that the Mrs. was in command and Mr. Rain seemed contented and good natured. No doubt Uncle Billie would give his shirt away in a worthy cause, and it was owing to the Mrs. they had a roof over their heads. I found out afterwards Uncle Billie liked to slide out with the boys for a wee drop. They were of typical pioneer type. Thanking Mrs. Rain for her good dinner, she replied with a hearty invitation to call again. Uncle Billie said he had something to show me and led me back to that garden of his, and in a corner I had not seen on our previous visit, maybe there was a reason he had omitted showing me this part, anyway he pointed to his melons, saying he was trying them out in the Flathead. They were rather small compared with those I had seen grown back home, and I was a fair judge of a good patch when a boy. Uncle Billie had faith that on his light, warm sandy loam, they could be grown in the Flathead. He was very kind to show the stranger his melon patch. I knew I could have found it on a fairly dark night, and I guess he was all right in putting me on my honor. Thus I was welcomed and received in a new land by my first neighbors in the Flathead, for I located my first claim on the Big Fork. For Charles Morton, who was the first to say “Light and rest” I naturally will always retain a warm spot in my heart. He has but recently passed away, and left many friends the better for having met him as a neighbor and in their associations. As a farmer he was successful. Anyone buying any product from the Morton place could shut their eyes and know when opened at home the contents would be just as represented. In later years, as a buyer in Kalispell, I bought many a load of produce from the Morton place. Yes, Charles prospered. Customers liked to buy his products and there was a reason, he was actually that honest farmer you read about.

“Remarkable Beyond Boundaries” Conference Will Explore Policies of Place First Annual Conference Roundtable on the Crown of the Continent Sept. 23-24, 2010 Waterton Park, Alberta

From St. Mary Looking West into Glacier National Park. For two days in September, a diverse gathering in Waterton National Park will explore the past, present and future of the Crown of the Continent. Convened by the University of Montana’s Center for Natural Resources and Environmental Policy on September 23 and 24, the conference features keynote speakers Jack Nesbit, author of Sources of the River: Tracking David Thompson across Western North America; Jonathan B. Tourtellot, director and geotourism editor for National Geographic Traveler magazine; Darrell Kipp, director of the Piegan Institute; Lynn Scarlett, former Deputy Secretary of the Interior; and potentially the Hon. Jim Prentice, Canada’s minister of environment. Keynote speakers, panelists, and audience members will examine the unique elements that define what it means to live and work in the Crown of the Continent, celebrating the efforts of people and organizations to preserve the culture, heritage, communities, and landscape of the region now and for future generations. Participants will assess the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, and build relationships and knowledge to shape the future of the region. The idea of a conference focused on the Crown of the Continent and its people—of building relationships and sharing knowledge at the large landscape scale—emerged at the 2009 Summer Retreat of the Roundtable on the Crown of the Continent. Any such effort to explore the

Crown’s diverse landscapes and communities rick and susie graetz in a meaningful way will require a series of conferences at locations throughout the Crown. Thus, organizers plan this as the first in a series of annual conferences over the course of the next four years, hosting one conference in each of the four sub-regions of the Crown that are formed by the Continental Divide as the North-South axis and the U.S.-Canadian Border as the East-West axis. The Roundtable on the Crown of the Continent is a forum for people and organizations who care about the Crown to come together, share resources and ideas, and build a shared sense of regional identity and purpose. Roundtable events, which are organized and convened by the Center for Natural Resources & Environmental Policy at the University of Montana, consist of periodic dialogues, forums, and retreats, as well as an annual conference. With the support of the Center, the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and the Sonoran Institute, Roundtable events are more than just opportunities to gather to build relationships— they are events where the resources and expertise of both researchers and practitioners can be brought to bear on the challenges and opportunities facing the Crown of the Continent. For more information on the conference, including registration and sponsorship opportunities, visit http:// PAGE 15: Crown of the Continent E-Notes, NO. 2

GLacier’s Centennial

“Land of Many Stories: The People and Histories of Glacier National Park” November 5 - February 28, 2011, Montana Historical Society

This year marks the centennial of Glacier Park, and the Montana Historical Society, in collaboration with Glacier National Park-National Park Service, has mounted a major exhibit illuminating one of Montana’s cultural and natural wonders. The exhibit explores the many ways people have used and enjoyed the area from preEuropean contact to present day and illustrates, even though much has changed over the years, that a great deal remains the same for today’s visitors. People still enjoy Glacier’s magnificent pristine wilderness following the same routes as those who have traveled before. The exhibit will be up through February 2011. Additionally there is a traveling exhibit version of the Land of Many Stories which parallels the theme and content of the major exhibition displayed currently at the Montana Historical Society—is comprised of reproductions of historic photographs, graphics. The travelling exhibit is scheduled to be at the Central School Museum, Kalispell, MT for the summer of 2010 June 1 – August 31, 2010 and then at the Museum of the Beartooths, Columbus, MT Sept. 1 – October 31, 2010. There are still some openings available for this exhibit which, thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, is provided at no cost to venues as long as funding lasts. This exhibit is made possible by the generosity of the Glacier National Park Fund


and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Foundation. For more information on the exhibit please contact –Jennifer Bottomly-O’looney, Curator of Collections, Montana Historical Society, 406 444 4711, jbottomly-o’ Additionally, this year’s History Conference will focus on the history of Glacier National Park. Please go to the link noted above for details about the history conference.

THE UNIVERSITY OF MONTANA’S CROWN OF THE CONTINENT AND GREATER YELLOWSTONE INITIATIVES The University of Montana’s Crown of the Continent program is well into its first year. Five classes have been taught for academic credit, a successful public symposium was held, four epublications have been issued, a book on the Crown is in the development stages and more public outreach is planned. The Greater Yellowstone ecosystem is one of the world’s great landscapes. Through affiliations with NGOs and Montana State University, we are in the process of developing associations and partnerships to bring the Greater Yellowstone more systematically into the realm of study and research at UM. Only 100 miles separate the Crown and Greater Yellowstone. The land in between has little development and is part of a proposed Yellowstone-toYukon wildlife corridor following the spine of America’s Northern Rocky Mountains and the full extent of the Canadian Rockies, a stretch of 2000 miles. By linking these grand pieces of geography, the University’s goal is to establish UM as one of the world’s premier educational institutions in the study of mountain ecosystems.

PAGE 17: Crown of the Continent E-Notes, NO. 2

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