Coronavirus and North Fork life

| June 17, 2020 7:07 AM

COVID-19 remains a potent thing on the North Fork. There have been church services each of the last two Sundays. In each case there were just under 20 people in attendance, counting lay minister Dan Sullivan. Chairs were well spread out in pairs but no one was wearing a mask. First NFLA business meeting was a contrast on Sunday evening.

At this meeting there were 32 people in attendance and masks were encouraged and almost everyone wore their mask throughout the meeting. Also, hand sanitizer was available at three spots in the hall as were disposable masks and rubber gloves. I suspect that news of a new virus patient in Flathead County reawakened everyone’s desire to be cautious. There was no coffee but no food to share.

Live music at the Northern Lights on Thursday evening was even more of a contrast. I estimated that there were about 80 people enjoying the music, the food and each other. No one wore a mask and I did not see a single mask.

Maybe even more important, no one practiced social distancing and everyone was in close contact with other people — on each side and front an back. It was a mixed crowd with many local residents, but I also noted cars with California, Washington and Idaho plates.

The NFLA is struggling with how to conduct future events at Sondreson Hall, especially the Interlocal meeting which often attracts upward of 100 people from the community and county, state and federal agencies.

That meeting is scheduled for July 8 and final decisions will be made later. Every effort will be made to conduct as many events as possible as long as we can do so safely. Stay tuned to North Fork classifieds and NFLA website. I will also try to keep everyone informed in this column.

Speaking of information, everyone appreciated Polebridge Ranger Jim Dahlstrom attending the NFLA meeting to inform locals about how reopening will occur at Polebridge.

Camas Road will be open on June 15 as will Polebridge entrance. There will be day use only with gate opening at 7 a.m. and entrance lane closing at 4:30 a.m. There will be no overnight use at this time and no boats on the lakes. Further openings will be announced by Park Headquarters.

The park will be understaffed this season because it has been decided employees will not be allowed to share quarters. Polebridge, however, will be fully staffed as they have adequate seasonal housing.

By appointment, North Fork residents can have kayaks and other watercraft inspected at Polebridge. If they are taken out of the North Fork they must be reinspected.

It will be an interesting summer.

What do you think?

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