After several years of international diplomacy, last month the Governor of Montana and the Premier of British Columbia signed an agreement permanently halting proposed mining and petroleum extraction in the Canadian portion of the North Fork of the Flathead River's watershed. The North Fork flows south from British Columbia into Montana along the western border of Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, and is one of Montana's four Wild and Scenic Rivers. Montanans have been deeply concerned about likely impacts of mining and petroleum development to the pristine Flathead ecosystem which includes Flathead Lake.
Last week Montana Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester introduced legislation that would offer the same protections from mining and petroleum extraction to the federally owned portions of the North Fork watershed on our side of the border. Together, the recent actions of Montana and British Columbia will protect one of our Nation's last best rivers.
The River offers paddlers a multi-day float trip that features spectacular scenery, clear blue water, diverse wildlife, good fishing, and the chance to stop at the unique off-the-grid town of Polebridge. The events of the past few weeks are cause for all of us that love the North Fork and the rest of the Flathead watershed to celebrate. We cannot thank Premier Campbell, Governor Schweitzer, and Senators Baucus and Tester enough.
Read a related article in the New West.