Every year I am asked whether or not this is a “normal” year. In order to answer that you would have to have a definition of what a normal year amounts to. Normal is not necessarily average. To me every year is normal. That means there are always surprises. One of the special things about the North Fork is the variable and unpredictable weather.
I have seen it snow four inches per hour for nearly 24 hours. We have mini droughts, floods, strong storms with hundreds of lightning strikes, blizzards with blowing snow and temperatures colder than 20 degrees below zero. I remember four to six inches of snow on the fourth of July and 60 degrees in February. It’s like the old saying “If you don’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes and it will change.” You just can’t tell what might happen tomorrow.
That is the way it has been this winter. A dump of snow followed by warming with rain and fog. Will it last? Who knows. The weather service doesn’t get it right over half the time. We could still have a big surprise storm any time. Maybe even in April.
In the meantime enjoy whatever we get. Just be prepared for severe weather any time. It can be great fun to camp in a big storm— if you are prepared.
In the meantime life goes on. The North Fork Land Use Advisory Committee will meet on the 14th of January at Sondreson Hall. (Thanks to the Flathead County Road Department for clearing the parking lot.) A subcommittee has been looking at possible need for text amendments to the current plan. This would be a much simpler process than a general review of the entire plan. It is obvious to me that a better definition is needed for rentals. Current plan allows one rental cabin per five acres. The rub is, what is a cabin? Does that include RVs or tents?
Currently, most landowners call their dwelling a cabin. This includes million dollar mansions down to a travel trailer with an add-on frame bedroom.
Other North Fork concerns include campgrounds, conditional use businesses and maybe some clarification of home-based businesses.
Of course, the subcommittee is just looking at possible concerns and how they could be addressed. Before the LUAC sends proposals to the County, there will be opportunities for public input and discussion.
All meetings are preceded by public announcements, but if you wish to write to Randy Kenyon, Polebridge Montana 59928 and ask to be put on the mailing list, this can be done by e-mail or snail mail. I suspect that land use regulations may well become a major topic in the next few years. If we do not plan we cannot control the future— or should we just sit back and see what happens?
What do you think?
Larry Wilson's North Fork Views appears weekly in the Hungry Horse News.