Gather at the River

| August 26, 2020 1:40 AM

What a great summer week we had! Great sunny weather for the days, cool nights and best of all —no fires.

A beautiful warm late afternoon and early evening for a fantastic GATR party at the Meeker cabin on the river at Kintla Ranch. GATR stands for Gather at the River and has become a North Fork tradition. Everyone brings their own meat to barbecue and everyone brings a side dish to share. In addition to great food and tremendous friends and neighbors you can’t imagine how neat it is to gather where you can enjoy our trees, clean, clear water, and the scenery that goes with it.

Yes, we kept it under 50 people (barely) and although there were no masks the folks attending pretty much were able to spread out and practice proper social distancing using common sense as a guide.

We also had an important business meeting at Sondreson Hall this week. The Land Use Advisory Committee met and seated two new members. Flannery Coates became the new representative of the North Fork Preservation Association, replacing Debo Powers who is running as a Democrat for State Representative. Also seated was Kenna Halsey who is a member of the North Fork Landowners’ Board of Directors. Recently seated was Don Sullivan representing the North Fork Compact.

With new members seated, the committee elected Randy Kenyon as chairman and Larry Wilson as secretary. Following the election a lively discussion took place regarding county interpretation of the North Fork Plan and the possible need for text amendments to the plan.

Chairman Randy Kenyon appointed a committee of citizens Steve Berg,

Jon Cole and Pat Cole plus committee members to contact the Flathead County Planning Office to discuss and hopefully change county interpretation of our intent when writing the Plan and to talk about possible text amendments. This new subcommittee will report back to the LUAC as quickly as possible.

In the meantime, the North Fork Road, where dust abatement was not applied, is getting rougher and dustier. This is made worse by continued heavy traffic and the fact that it is too dry to grade. Of course, the dry weather is also causing fire danger to rise and with longer, drier summers the fire season can, and probably will, extend well into September or even October. Fire danger is now very high and although recreational fires are still allowed in established fire pits, I hope everyone will be extremely careful.

To add to fire danger, low lying shrubs, grasses, and even larch trees along the road are turning yellow and drying out. As this fuel dries out it can be ignited by almost any spark.

Be careful out there!

Larry Wilson's North fork Views appears weekly in the Hungry Horse News.