The Kee-O-Mee in Flathead Lake in the late 1920s or early 1930s. Photo courtesy of The Museum at Central School.
The Missoulian, February 11, 2016
SOMERS – Another 77 acres along the north shore of Flathead Lake were protected earlier this week.
The addition brings the total acreage owned and managed by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks on the north shore to 426. The property is adjacent to the 1,887-acre North Shore Wildlife Management Area administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
There are also conservation easements on private land on the north shore held by the Montana Land Reliance and the Flathead Land Trust.
“This conservation project helps protect the fragile water quality of Flathead Lake and adds to the protection of land used by tens of thousands of migratory birds as an important refueling stop each spring on their long journey from wintering grounds in Mexico to their breeding grounds in Canada,” FWP said.
The state purchased the property, for $489,000, with funding from the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Grant program. The seller also reduced the price by 25 percent from its market value, according to FWP.
“This project adds an additional puzzle piece of important conserved land to our beloved north shore … that will greatly benefit waterfowl, wildlife, water quality and public access,” said Flathead Land Trust Executive Director Paul Travis.
The trust helped facilitate the addition.
The property “will be managed to protect and improve natural riparian-wetland habitats, to continue annual crop production to benefit resident and migratory waterfowl, to improve and maintain habitat for other wildlife, and to provide opportunities for seasonal and compatible public recreation,” FWP said.
The land will be managed similarly to other public lands on the north shore and provide opportunities for wildlife viewing and hunting.
All FWP properties on the north shore are available for non-motorized public recreation, except for an annual closure from March 1 to July 15 to protect migrating and nesting birds.
The Flathead River to Lake initiative has conserved more than 5,000 acres of public and private lands along the Flathead River and north shore of Flathead Lake in the past 10 years, part of a landscape-scale, collaborative effort.
Specialized distinction was presented by Christie’s Education as part of two-day Christie’s International Real Estate symposium in Chicago
Lakeside, MT June 16, 2015 – Leading Trails West Real Estate broker David Fetveit was awarded the elite distinction of “Christie’s International Real Estate Luxury Specialist” following his participation in the second edition of the world’s leading luxury real estate network’s Top Agents Conference.
David Fetveit was among the most successful real estate professionals within the Christie’s International Real Estate network who took part in the symposium, hosted at the Trump International Hotel in Chicago on June 8-9. The 2015 Top Agents Conference provided an in-depth focus on the global luxury real estate market, trends in the art market, and other important topics in marketing through a range of special seminars led by top industry experts.
Criteria for participation in the Top Agents Conference required that each attendee be among the top 10% in sales volume of their affiliated brokerage. The prestigious designations awarded by Christie’s Education were presented to each of the attendees at the event’s close.
“We were delighted that David Fetveit was able to participate at out Top Agents Conference,” said Dan Conn, Chief Executive Officer of Christie’s International Real Estate. “Fetveit is a leader in the luxury real estate market and is well positioned to meet the needs of the world’s most discerning buyers. This specialist symposium offered insights into marketing to buyers and sellers in the upper-tiers of the luxury real estate market, and allowed attendees to explore ways in which to increase their level of service to clients through their exclusive connection with Christie’s International Real Estate and Christie’s auction house.”
“It is an honor to have David Fetveit designated as a ‘Christie’s International Real Estate Luxury Specialist,’” said managing broker Ellie Stimpson. “This unique distinction is one that will not only help our agents elevate their business profiles in the marketplace, but heighten their global visibility in the luxury sector.”
With the Spring Mack Days fishing derby underway, this may be an opportune time to tell about the controversial Flathead Lake sturgeon catch of May 28, 1955.
Since 1889, there have been more than 100 recorded sightings of super-sized fish and other strange objects or critters in the lake. Some of the sightings have been attributed to hyperactive imaginations, playful pranks, natural phenomena such as wave action, shadows, lighting effects, logs and a number of animals, including bears, horses, deer, elk, dogs, a dead monkey, a loose circus seal and even an escaped buffalo.
What could have been an answer to the mystery apparently wasn’t – or was it?
In the 1950s, organized attempts were made to catch the “superfish” when Big Fish Unlimited offered significant cash awards. The only person to land a big enough fish for the top prize was C. Leslie Griffith, who was reported to have caught the 7-foot, 6-inch, 181-pound, 1-ounce white sturgeon that now adorns a wall of the Polson-Flathead Historical Museum.
News reports at the time told of Griffith hooking into the giant sturgeon near Cromwell Island, off the west shore, about 9 p.m. May 28, 1955. Five hours later and several miles down the lake, Griffith boated the fish and started back up to Dayton.
About 6 a.m., Griffith and J.F. McAlear knocked at the door of the Dayton Store and Post Office, operated by Mr. and Mrs. Graydon Williams, and asked for help loading the big fish onto a flatbed truck.
There was no question about it being fresh, Williams said later. Blood still seeped from the gaff marks. The Williamses knew Griffith had been fishing for sturgeon for some time. Packages of eel had come in the mail for him – some of them bearing an aroma indicating it wasn’t the freshest bait around.
But the catch is still shrouded in controversy.
Skeptics claimed while the fish may have been pulled from the lake, it didn’t necessarily originate there. They theorize it may have been brought in from elsewhere in a tank truck – perhaps from the Snake River in Idaho.
On the other hand, sworn court testimony stated the fish was caught in Flathead Lake. A dispute over ownership of the sturgeon and distribution of monetary proceeds from showing it arose. The case went all the way to the state Supreme Court, which upheld a district court finding that ownership was retained by BFU but that Griffith was entitled to a share of the display proceeds.
When I was editor of the Flathead Courier at Polson, author Dorothy M. Johnson, then secretary of the Montana Press Association, advised me not to treat sighting reports lightly in newspaper and magazine articles. In a Nov. 5, 1962, letter, she wrote that she had grown up in Whitefish. She said, “I don’t think the monster should be done with tongue in cheek. You have eyewitness accounts by people who were scared and didn’t think it was funny. I remember hearing something in Flathead Lake more than 40 years ago, so I don’t give the Polson Chamber of Commerce credit for dreaming it up.”
In addition to local observers, witnesses come from many parts of the United States and some from foreign countries. Sighting have been reported by doctors, teachers, merchants, lawyers, housewives, clerks, military personnel, vacationers, school kids, retired people, boat captains, millworkers, laborers, farmers, ranchers, law officers, a former state Fish and Game Department chairman, industrial executives and more.
And occasional sightings continue. Reports can come in most months of the year, in all parts of the lake, singly and in groups. They can occur in bunches or days, weeks or months apart – even a few years. So keep your eyes open and binoculars and cameras handy.
Paul Fugleberg is a former editor and co-publisher of the Flathead Courier of Polson and the Ronan Pioneer. His freelance articles and photos have appeared in numerous national and regional magazines and newspapers, and he has written several books. He may be reached at email@example.com.
It was another banner year at Glacier Park International Airport.
Boosted by new seasonal flights to major markets and a strong tourism season, the Kalispell airport set a new annual passenger record. A total of 452,588 revenue passengers traveled through GPIA in 2014, breaking the previous record set in 2013 by 13.74 percent, according to airport officials.
The number of passengers departing from GPIA jumped 13.49 percent, with 227,561 people compared to 200,520 in 2013.
The number of arriving passengers in 2014 was 225,027 compared to 197,403 in 2013.
GPIA set monthly passenger records for departures in 10 of the 12 months. In both July and August, over 35,000 people flew out of GPIA.
“It is very encouraging to see passenger number growth year over year, and to see economic recovery continue to manifest itself in travel,” stated Cindi Martin, airport director at GPIA. “We believe we are seeing both tourism and business travel improvements as evidenced by the fact that nearly every month in 2014 a record number of travelers flew in and out of our market than in previous years.”
There were almost 55,000 more passengers at GPIA last year compared to 2013, and almost 69,000 more than in 2012.
GPIA added several new flights this year. United Airlines agreed to fly round-trip from Kalispell to Chicago O’Hare International from Dec. 20 through April 4. The new service was the first deal involving the upstart Glacier AERO – a nonprofit named the Airline Enhancement Regional Organization – that raised donations from the community to help increase local airline services. Glacier AERO provided a revenue guarantee of $240,000 to secure the Chicago service.
There were also two new seasonal flights to Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon added this year.
Likely another contributing factor was the region’s great tourist magnet – Glacier National Park, which broke its annual visitation record this year.
Also, Whitefish Mountain Resort boasted a record season from December 2013 through April 2014. The resort attracted nearly 345,000 total skier visits last winter, 7 percent more than the previous season.
August 13, 2014, Mike Howe
“I think that’s a KOKANEE!”
That was my reaction as I netted the fish for my client Halie a couple of Saturdays ago. This would not be unusual except for the fact that we were fishing for lake trout. It would be odd enough that this 19-inch kokanee had hit and almost swallowed a large treble hook on a 4 1/2-inch lake trout spoon, but it was made even odder by the fact that we were on Flathead Lake.
From the 1940s to the 1980s, kokanee salmon were the prominent sport fish targeted by anglers, tallying as many as 100,000 angler-days spent annually fishing for them. But major food web changes in the big lake caused them to crash and disappear. By most accounts, none have been caught in Flathead Lake since their total crash in the late ’80s. So this one was special to me … as well as to Halie, who grew up in the valley and whose grandfather loved to catch them “back in the day.”
I spoke with Mark Deleray, fisheries manager for Region 1 Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and was told that every so often, a couple of kokanee might flush downriver from Lake McDonald or Swan Lake. When they do, they find no competition for the food they like in the places they like it. So a rogue kokanee in Flathead will be healthy and likely survive to a good size before it spawns and dies, but there is no population to speak of in the lake.
It had been a slow day of fishing for lake trout, and we had made a couple of moves. The fish were there, they just weren’t feeding. Typical high pressure situation, like I wrote about last month.
Changing location and tactics, we moved shallow, hoping to find a lake trout that would fall to a smaller, less aggressive presentation. Instead, this lone salmon hit the largest lure we had out. Much like the huge lake trout we had boated barely a month before, it was not what we were expecting, but we took what the lake offered.
That is the moral of this story: Make the most of the time you have on the water. Be aware of conditions and be ready to adapt as needed. Keep your gear in good shape, and use the best you can afford. Change it up; move around until you get on fish that will bite. You never know what is out there.
I may never catch another kokanee from Flathead Lake or another 45-inch lake trout. But the fact that I could is what keeps me excited about fishing.
Click here for more photos and information on this catch.
Howe runs Howes Fishing/A Able Charters, www.howesfishing.com
KPAX News Staff
FLBS began a three-year campaign to raise a $1 million endowment in late 2011 to match a pledge for its Flathead Lake Research and Monitoring Program. Hundreds of families, foundations and businesses came through with gifts large and small.
“This incredible generosity will help protect the quality of Flathead Lake’s water for years to come,” said FLBS Director Jack Stanford. “Our team of faculty, staff and students gives a heartfelt thanks to the community and everyone who donated and made this possible.”
FLBS scientists specialize in ecological research and education with an emphasis on freshwater, particularly Flathead Lake and its watershed. FLBS research and monitoring provide a continuous record of lake conditions needed to understand and protect the lake and reveal threats before they become problems.
Actor John Lithgow owns a Flathead Lake home and actively supports the work of FLBS.
“At a time of deep concern for the Earth’s fragile environment, the Flathead Lake Biological Station continues to do a magnificent job monitoring the Flathead’s complex water system,” Lithgow said in a news release. “All of us who treasure this beautiful lake owe the station a great and ongoing debt of gratitude.”
The research program depends almost entirely upon grants and gifts, so now staffers are already movng ahead on the next set of priorities for community support.
Money is now being sought for an environmental sensor network around Flathead Lake, which provides real-time weather and water data to Flathead Lake residents and recreationists as well as the development and application of an environmental DNA test for aquatic invasive species.
Down at the base of Polson Bay, you’ll find a bright yellow, two story building with a 140 tube solar array crowning a copper roof; the home of Flathead Lake Cheese. Husband and wife team, Joe and Wendi Arnold, did the majority of the building themselves and became operational in March of 2012. Creating a solar thermal based pasteurization process is just one of the unique features of their facility.
Working with two local dairies, the Arnolds craft cheeses, 275 gallons at a time, making several types of aged Goudas as well as fresh curds and feta. “Currently, our only milk source is cow’s milk but we have visited with several goat and sheep dairies that are looking into getting their milking barns certified”, says Wendi, owner. “Once found dotted throughout our valleys, diaries and creameries have come close to extinction. We are one of only four cheese makers in the entire state.”
Along with their weekly presence at several Farmer’s Markets during the summer season, if you find yourself in Polson, you can come and visit their walk up window, open Monday through Saturday – 9 to 5. “If we’re not working on cheese”, says Joe, “we’d love to show you around the Creamery. Most of the items inside have been either recycled or re-purposed.”
You can find Flathead Lake Cheese at the Clark Fork Farmer’s Market and Kalispell Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings, Polson Farmer’s Market on Friday mornings and the Whitefish Farmer’s Market on Tuesday evenings, along with several restaurants and stores such as The Buttercup Market and the Good Food Store in Missoula.
There’s always something going on – visit their website or Facebook page to find out what they’re up to. www.FlatheadLakeCheese.com .
Valley Journal 1-29-14
POLSON – “Sit back, enjoy. You’re at the movies,” said Steve Fetveit, NBC Montana anchor, welcoming the crowd to the Flathead International CineFest.
“Okay Breathe Auralee,” a film by Brooke Pepion Swaney, opened FLIC.
“I loved the actors in ‘Heroes of Arvine Place,'” “The films are so well done,” “That block (Saturday morning) was so sad,” were all comments by area people who attended FLIC as they exited or waited for another block of films to begin.
Warren and Diane Knipfer traveled from Bozeman for the film festival. The Knipfers are originally from Rochester, Minn., where there is a huge film festival, so they came to FLIC for the weekend.
So did many of the filmmakers, some of whom made themselves available for question and answer sessions after their movie was screened.
Swaney, who lives in Polson now, filmed “Okay Breathe Auralee” in just six days. She wrote and directed the movie as her New York University graduate thesis film.
Also attending was Gary Henderson, Eureka, whose film “Ruby’s Doll” deals with human trafficking.
His quest with human trafficking began with a dream that “rocked me to the core” and made him want to be a voice for those who had no voice.
“Dakota 38,” a film by Alberta Iron Cloud Miller and Jim Miller, also began with a dream. On Dec. 26, 1862, 38 Dakota warriors were hanged in a public execution, the largest public execution. Jim dreamed about a ride to Mankato, to take offerings to feed the spirits as a means of healing for the Dakota nation and for reconciliation.
“It’s about healing, for both sides,” Jim said.
The film documents the Dakota Wokiksuye Memorial Ride in 2008, although the 330-mile ride has become an annual event.
Animator Jeff Chiba Stearns from Vancouver, Canada, returned this year with another group of short animated films. His popular workshop sold out on Saturday, so he agreed to stay for an encore presentation later in the afternoon.
After viewers watched a compilation of animated shorts, Chiba Stearns gave a hands-on demonstration of animation. By drawing and photographing frames of simple circles, elongating and flattening to create the illusion of speed, he then played it back to animate a bouncing ball. The Webby award winner also photographed audience volunteers as they jumped, compiling the jumps into a stop-action, causing the person to appear to be levitating.
The year-round Envision Polson! committee created the film festival both to enhance the local economy during the off season and to provide makers of all film genres a venue through which they enrich themselves and their audiences by engaging with film.
Eighty films, from two-minute shorts to feature length, from 16 different countries including 41 world premieres filled the weekend.
More information about FLIC films can be viewed at www.flicpolson.com.
Flathead Land Trust has finalized an agreement with a private landowner that will permanently protect more than 70 acres of forested land along the Flathead River near Eleanor Island by Columbia Falls.
The agreement allows the landowner to continue to own and manage the property much as they have in the past, but prohibits subdivision development and ensures that natural features on the property will be conserved forever.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks facilitated funding for the project from Bonneville Power Administration (BPA).
The forested property contains wetlands, a third of a mile of riverbank and a spring creek that is important for bull trout in the Flathead River. The importance of the property to the river system made the project a high priority for the use of BPA funds.
“We have been working hard with Flathead Land Trust and other partners to preserve water quality and promote riparian habitat for fisheries benefits in the Flathead River,” Kris Tempel of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks said in a statement.
“This is an important property to protect in that effort and we were happy to help secure funding for it.”
The projects adds to the more than 5,000 permanently protected acres as part of the Flathead River to Lake Initiative, a collaborative effort of private landowners, conservation organizations, and county, tribal, state and federal agencies working to conserve critical lands along the Flathead River and north shore of Flathead Lake.
The Initiative’s success has been largely due to private landowners’ willingness to voluntarily conserve their properties, according to the Flathead Land Trust. “Conservation efforts like this project are often very complex and can take a few years to complete, but the final result is something that we all are very proud of and will prove to be a real benefit to the community over time,” said Ryan Hunter with the Flathead Land Trust.
Flathead Land Trust was established in 1985 by community members concerned about the rapidly growing population and maintaining the Flathead Valley’s natural beauty, clean water, and special places that sustain our high quality of life. Flathead Land Trust has worked with private landowners to conserve over 10,000 acres locally of important fish and wildlife habitat and farmland through 51 perpetual legal agreements called conservation easements. In August, the local land trust earned national accreditation.