Saturday, June 03, 2023

Spring arrives in earnest

by Larry Wilson
| April 26, 2023 2:00 AM

Now it is finally spring on the North Fork! We have robins in the yard, shaggy deer grazing in the meadow and I saw a black bear running uphill like he had somewhere important to go. Bonny Ogle and Becky Haag have planters full of sprouts and most important I can drive into my cabin. The main road is bare and the potholes are reproducing and it seems like there are more frost heaves than usual. The frost boils are worst on the pavement between Coal Creek and Hay Creek and really bad north of Ford Ranger Station between Harts and Holcolmbs.

The final touch of spring is the Landowners Association Newsletter. In the last few years it had grown from a four page handout featuring the summer schedule. This year it is 14 pages. The schedule is still there but there are also numerous articles. Some are historical in nature – like building the Community Hall and the Wedge Canyon Fires, which was twenty years ago.

To me, Red Bench Fire was just yesterday. Also, there is information about current activities in Glacier Park, this year’s road work and great information about bears.

I think it is great and I hope it will encourage folks to participate in summer events and become NFLA members.

Since the bears have or will soon emerge from their dens it is important to be bear aware. Remove bird feeders and be sure to clean up the ground beneath them. Control your garbage and make sure pet foods are secure.

As important, be careful when outdoors. Avoid winter killed animals – they may be a snack for bears.

Remember bears with cubs are very proactive and may charge without warning. It is always safer to make noise when hiking, although I have always found whistles to be jarring. Singing beats whistles or yelling in my book.

When outdoors, bear spray beats any firearm. With a gun you have to be an excellent shot with nerves of steel to deter a charging bear with a bullet which is up to one half inch wide. Bear spray ends up several feet wide.

Of course, wind can cause you to get sprayed too. That is still better than being mauled by a bear.

Yes, we lost another North Fork Landowner. Billy Sapa passed unexpectedly and way too soon. He was active in the community as a coach at the Columbia Falls High School, a local businessman and avid outdoorsman. He will be missed along with his parents who passed recently.

P.S. The Polebridge Merc and Bakery will open full time next Friday and Home Ranch will open May 12th featuring Friday night pizza and Sunday brunch.

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