Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Above average meetings

by By Larry Wilson
| July 20, 2022 6:55 AM

This week’s Summer Interlocal and Firewise Day was a good meeting and was well attended. I especially enjoyed the Firewise presentation.

New Fire Mitigation Committee member, Todd Lando, is a firefighter from California with a wealth of great information on how to protect and prepare property for wildfire. On top of his expertise, Todd managed to bring a nationally recognized expert to help educate North Forkers on how to best protect their property when fire threatens us.

His hour-long presentation was terrific. His visual aids and knowledge illustrated the threats of fire from embers blown ahead of a fire to radiant heat as the fire approaches and passes through the property. The big thing, of course, was his straightforward information on how to mitigate these threats BEFORE there is a fire. Like now! It is important to remember that preparing for fire is an annual requirement and needs work every year.

The Interlocal itself was, in my opinion, above average. It is always valuable to meet face to face with agency managers. They are good folks and they are trying to do a good job.

Some things remain unchanged and agency reps know how to dance around political problems. The FLAP grant is still a next year hope. In the meantime, the upper North Fork Road is nearly impassable and the slump at Ray Harts might be fixed – next year.

The three year study to update the River Management Plan is, I think, in its sixth year but should be finished by next year. I am not holding my breath.

The Park is maintaining the bridges on the Inside Road this year so no decision will be made about that until next year. At least they found a new excuse for kicking the can down the road.

I doubt if the FLAP grant will ever be used to repair or rebuild the upper North Fork Road. Cost estimates seem to have failed to take into account the distance from town. Workers will have to drive 60 miles from Columbia Falls to work and back that same 60 miles after work. Somebody will have to pay for that and it should not be the workers.

A really bright spot is the Preservation Association’s summer long educational effort for reducing or eliminating bear problems. Already they have held a well attended and much appreciated educational program for summer employees and will host a Bear Fair at Polebridge later this summer for the entire community.

Recreational use of public lands increases every year. All agencies are working on the problems but in the end I suspect access will have to be limited to protect the land and the wildlife. Glacier Park has pretty much eliminated me – I wonder what will be next.

What do you think?

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