September 6-7, 2019
Cedar Creek Lodge
and the Coop
Columbia Falls (Salish nq̓eyɫkʷm), Montana
Friday, September 7 at Cedar Creek Lodge
8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Jewel Basin trail stewardship day
Join our trail stewardship team on a one-day project in the beautiful Jewel Basin in the Swan Range. Volunteers will help clear and maintain the Clayton Lake Trail. Space is very limited, so please sign up early at wildmontana.org/vtc-wildfest.
3 – 4 p.m.
Swap adventure stories, meet new friends, and visit with old ones as you grab a drink and prepare for an entertaining afternoon of learning.
4 – 4:45 p.m.
Welcome to WildFest
MWA Executive Director Ben Gabriel and Board President Addrien Marx will welcome you to WildFest Weekend, to be followed by Flathead-Kootenai Chapter president Bret Luedke. Ben, Addrien, and Bret will provide organizational and chapter-level updates on MWA’s current campaigns.
4:45 – 5:15 p.m.
Guest speaker Vernon Finley
Join Vernon Finley, director of the Kootenai Culture Committee, as he discusses the heritage of the Kootenai Tribe and the importance of the local landscape to the Kootenai, as well as current land-management issues facing the tribe.
Vernon S. Finley was born and raised on the Flathead Indian Reservation. His childhood was spent with his grandparents, who instilled in him respect and reverence for Kootenai culture. He graduated from Polson High School, received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Montana, an MS in education from Oklahoma City University, and a Ph.D in education from The University of Georgia. Vernon has taught at the tribal Two Eagle River High School, is the former chairman of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, and currently serves as director of the Kootenai Culture Committee.
5:15 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.
Learn about the Whitefish Range Partnership
Hear from members of the coalition that worked together to make broadly supported management recommendations for over 300,000 acres of the Flathead National Forest. Panelists include Paul Mackenzie, Dave Hadden, Bob Brown, Chip Weber, and Amy Robinson,. The discussion will be moderated by working group participant and MWA board member Debo Powers.
6:15 – 7:30 p.m.
Hors d'oeuvres and social hour
Enjoy a variety of heavy appetizers provided by the chefs at Cedar Creek Lodge and a cash bar hosted by Blue Moon Nite Club.
7:30 – 7:45 p.m.
Join us to recognize and celebrate some of MWA's most dedicated volunteers.
7:45 – 8:30 p.m.
Guest speaker Doug Chadwick
Join renowned author and conservationist Doug Chadwick as he discusses his experience as a steward of wild lands and iconic species and the importance role that wilderness plays in our daily lives.
Doug Chadwick is an author, wildlife biologist, photographer, and conservationist. Doug received an MS in wildlife biology from the University of Montana, and is the author of 14 books and hundreds of articles that have appeared in publications including National Geographic, Reader’s Digest, Outside, and The Smithsonian Magazine. He has contracted with the National Geographic Society to study and explore ecosystems and species around the world, and is a founding board member of Vital Ground. Doug lives in Whitefish with his wife, Karen.
Join us on one of seven hikes to explore the local wildlands and learn about these spectacular places. Space is limited, so please sign up using the link in the hike description. Registration for all hikes will open on July 15. Some longer hikes or hikes departming from more distant trailheads may result in later returns to the Coop. Please plan accordingly.
Miles/Difficulty: 6 miles/moderate
Leaders: John Larson and Carol Barnes
The trail begins at Camp Misery and climbs up a ridge and across the side of Mount Aeneas, providing fabulous views of the Flathead Valley.
Miles/Difficulty: 1 mile/easy
Leaders: John Hartlieb and Kathi Hartlieb
Join us on this easy loop trail through a varied landscape of old growth forest, riparian areas, and large stands of ponderosa pine.
Miles/Difficulty: 4 miles/moderately strenuous
Leaders: Mary Freniere
Join us on this Flathead Valley favorite, a classic hike that offers all the solitude and wildlife viewing opportunities of the Great Bear Wilderness in a short round trip.
Glacier View Mountain
Location: Columbia Falls
Miles/Difficulty: 7.6 miles/difficult
Leaders: Chris Rost
Hike the ridge to the summit of Glacier View Mountain for views of both Glacier National Park and the North Fork Basin of the Flathead Valley.
Columbia Mountain Waterfall
Location: Columbia Falls
Miles/Difficulty: 5 miles/moderate
Leaders: Sheena Pate
Explore the northwestern edge of the Swan Mountain Range on this moderate hike that goes approximately halfway to the summit of Columbia Mountain.
Lone Pine State Park Loop
Miles/Difficulty: 3.4 miles/moderate
Leaders: Amy Pearson
Learn about the local wildlife and forest ecology, and stop at one of the many lookouts to catch views of Big Mountain, Flathead Lake, the Jewel Basin, and Glacier National Park.
Saturday, September 7 at The Coop Community Market
3 – 8 p.m.
Gear demos, horse packing, and family fun
Get ready for a day filled with gear demos, food trucks, and great drinks at The Coop. Activities will include:
- Packing demos from Montana Back Country Horsemen
- Raptor presentations from Montana Wild Wings
- Gear demos from REI including navigation, camp stoves, water filtration, and hiking and backpacking
- A knot-tying demo from MWA's very own Backcountry Bob
Be sure to come hungry because food trucks will be on site with tasty options catering to multiple dietary needs.
- Sushi and Asian tapas from Indah Sushi
- Delicious smoked pulled pork and brats from Knucklhed BBQ
- Fragrant stir-fries, curries and more from My Thai To Go
- Ice cream from Sweet Peaks
We're also excited to partner with Blue Moon Nite Club to provide local beer and wine throughout the weekend. Non-alcoholic beverages will also be provided.
5:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Jameson and the Sordid Seeds is a rock/reggae/blues/soul powerhouse known for its electric live performances and captivating songwriting. Hailing from Whitefish, they have developed a solid following throughout the western United States performing mostly original songs alongside occassional covers from Paul Simon to Sublime. We dare you not to dance! Be sure to stick around on Saturday to enjoy their great tunes.
Looking to stick around the Flathead Valley after WildFest? Explore town, visit Glacier, and get lost in the beautiful Jewel Basin. Check out Visit MT to see more lodging options and things to do in the beautiful Flathead Valley. If you're looking for more hikes, you can find them on our online hiking guide.
We need volunteers to help us set up, clean up, sell merchandise, assist in the bucket raffle, greet our guests, and more! Volunteers are a crucial aspect of WildFest and we wouldn't be able to pull it off with your time and effort. Register for shifts here.
Thank you to our event partners