Arsonist has North Forkers nervous

| August 5, 2020 9:49 AM

Multiple apparent arson fires in Glacier Park have created a major stir on the North Fork. Most of the fires were the result of someone lighting moss in a tree causing that tree to torch, but none of these spread to other trees and only single trees were involved.

Exception was the Ford snowshoe cabin. This was not the popular Forest Service Ford cabin but one built in Glacier between Polebridge and Kintla Lake. These cabins were built about one day’s snowshoe travel from each other for Rangers who would patrol the Park on foot during the winter.

Glacier’s Ford cabin was apparently broken into and the fire was lit inside the building. For sure, the building was completely destroyed. The metal stove and the metal bed frame and some metal and cement chimney parts are about the only things left of the cabin.

With the recent hot weather, fire danger is now high and bound to get worse. The thought of possible arson fires is disturbing to all North Forkers who have spent years trying to manage fuel loads. So disturbing that an anonymous North Fork resident has funded a $10,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of the person or persons who lit the Ford cabin on fire. I don’t know if the reward would cover future arson attempts. Call Crimestoppers if you have any information. Lightning is enough natural risk; we do not need accidental or arson fires lit by the stupid or criminal.

Also this week, authorities assisted by North Valley Search and Rescue have been looking for the owner of a vehicle left at the Kintla Lake campground. The car was left unlocked with keys on the seat. After more than a week it is unlikely that this could be a rescue and more likely this was a suicide or a tragic accident. At any rate, this is now most likely a recovery if the body can be found. For sure every effort will be made with helicopters, dogs, and well trained people.

Speaking of Glacier Park, it is still only partially open. Polebridge entry station limits the number of cars but unlimited foot traffic. Overnight camping is not allowed and the lakes are closed to all boats.

I don’t fully understand this — single person kayaks would be great for social distancing, wouldn’t they?

Plus, with Glacier only partially open, there are more floaters and campers filling the river and every available campsite. Sondreson Meadow and the USFS site at Ford cabin are popular sites. No toilet facilities at Sondreson Meadow so be careful where you step or set up your tent.

Larry Wilson’s North Fork Views appears weekly in the Hungry Horse News.