United Nations Will Study Threats to Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park

Finally some international pressure on the coal pit/coalbed methane proposals just northwest of Glacier (and Waterton) National Parks-

United Nations Will Study Threats to Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. By Dan Testa, Flathead Beacon (in New West)

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Early Fall Float on North Fork of the Flathead (my conservation commentary w/photos)

An Early Fall Float on the North Fork of the Flathead

This New West article with great photos describes floating the beautiful North Fork of the Flathead from its origin in British Columbia downstream to the US border??

I linked to it because I was just there in BC to investigate, and a lot is unsaid in the article.

The North Fork of the Flathead is often described as the wildest of the 3 forks of the Flathead. It isn’t, although it is very beautiful. The Middle Fork of the Flathead in Montana is completely contained inside of designated Wildernesses or roadless areas.

The North Fork, however, is completely unprotected. A number of timber sales can be seen on nearby, and especially more distant slopes, and a number of dirt or gravel roads penetrate the area, leading to the poor and deteriorating road along the North Fork itself.

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Another coal mine planned near the upper Flathead River?

Flathead Basin Commission hears of new coal mine. By Heidi Desch. Hungry Horse News.

Link to North Fork Landowners’ Association. Photos and new information about mining in the headwaters of the Flathead.

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Montana folks and politicians are very nervous about all this planned heavy activity (huge mountain removing mines) in and near the headwaters of the Flathead River in Canada. It could be very damaging to Glacier National Park and the Flathead River. This nearly pristine river does not reach a populated area until Montana.

It’s the open-pit Lodgepole Mine that is most controversial. The mine would be surrounded by 2000 !! coalbed methane wells in full field development.

Once it gets into the United States, bad mine pollution could damage hundreds of miles of streams and lakes in Montana and, further downstream, Idaho.

If anyone wants to see how generally rugged this country is, find Elko, BC on Google Earth, the go east to the top of Lodgepole Creek. The Logdepole Mine would be between Foisey Creek and McLatchie Creek. The mine appears to be on Elk River/Flathead boundary (divide), but the subsurface drainage is hardly worked out.

The Elk River runs into Lake Koocanusa, a long reservoir on the Kootenai (or Kootenay) River in B.C. and Montana.

I’ve been doing some research. Those interested will want to look at these maps. Maps of the transboundary Flathead.

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Bordering on Catastrophe (more on plans to industrialize the area near Glacier NP)

British Petroleum has withdrawn their plans for massive industrialization of the area across the border, but adjacent to Glacier National Park, but B.P. other companies and the British Columbia government have lots of other awful plans for this general area.

Bordering on Catastrophe. Montana’s opposition helped kill a Canadian mining plan last week. But has the real war just begun? By Gordon Sullivan. Missoula Independent.

Link to the North Fork Landowners Association. Much more information on the fight over the Canadian Flathead River area.

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British Petroleum’s plans for thousands of coal bed methane wells near Glacier NP are dropped

This is great news! BP drops Flathead coal-bed plan. By Michael Jamison. Missoulian.

I recently did a story on the grave threat of these wells to the water, air and land in British Columbia just NW of Glacier National Park.

The plans for the huge mountaintop coal mine (the Cline Mine) remain, however.

Here is the most extensive article. BP Drops Coal-Bed Methane Exploration Project North of Glacier Park. Flathead Beacon. By Dan Testa.

Montana leaders to get update on Canadian energy plans just north of the border

“Congress is coming to Kalispell [Montana] this week for a town hall meeting to discuss the proposed industrialization of Canadian wilds bordering Glacier National Park’s northern edge.”

US Senators Baucus and Tester are holding a meeting to discuss British Columbia’s plans to tear the hell out of upper Flathead river which drains directly into Montana.

Story in the Missoulian.

Guest column in Headwaters News. Montana has a lot at stake in B.C. mining proposal. By Dave Hadden, President
Flathead Coalition

When you have a President like George W. Bush, you don’t have much moral status to complain about another country wrecking its environment, but the negative impacts of this will be almost entirely felt in Montana, Idaho, and Washington State as the poisons pollute the pristine Flathead River and ruin Glacier National Park. It’s an international incident, and British Columbia’s government needs to get the message.
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Not many Americans have seen this country. A road leads south from Elko, B.C. past huge ugly coal pits and then into the relatively undisturbed (except for some logging) headwaters of the North Fork of the Flathead River. The road then crosses into Montana. I drove the road about 15 years ago. I planned to go back last summer to photograph what they are up to, but I found this border crossing had been permanently closed a long time ago, not long after I crossed through (maybe just a year or two). So now there is no direct route into the currently wildlife rich and scenic country in BC,* and even on Google Earth the resolution of the area is very low. Update I notice that in the last month Google Earth has finally put in higher resolution photos.

They are trying to sneak this through.

nfk-flathead1.jpg
North Fork of the Flathead River, British Columbia. Photo taken back in 1992 by Ralph Maughan

*I do notice that recent Google Maps shows a growing web of minor road, cuts, and exploration pits.