• A summer virga over the Little Belt Mountains and Middle Fork Judith River WSA.

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Photo by Patrick Colleran
Sep 28 2016

For the Flathead

With the forest plan comment period nearing an end, now is the time to speak up for wild places in northwest Montana

Featured, Your Stories

We recently teamed up with northwest Montana’s literary and arts journal The Whitefish Review to host two poetry readings that celebrated special places in the Flathead National Forest. The purpose of the readings was to encourage those who care about these places to participate in the Flathead Forest plan revision process. We featured almost two-dozen different pieces from local authors. Their words were truly inspiring. In the spirit of protecting wild places, these writers stood up and eloquently shared their poetry and prose inspired by places in the majestic Swan Range, the remote Whitefish Range, the beloved Bob Marshall Wilderness, and the rugged Mission Mountains Wilderness.

Here is one poem by the talented Amy Pearson called “It Came to Me,” inspired by the Bob Marshall Wilderness. She read it at our events in Missoula and Whitefish.

it came to me
one morning
after 30 days alone

a reflection,
brown and orange
amongst the shadows
painted grey

i thought:
soft like cloud
bare like rock
large like mountain
strong like tree
steady like river

after 30 days alone
it came to me: beauty

You too can speak up for and share your love for wild places. You have until October 3 to submit your comments and ideas to the Flathead National Forest.

Right now, the Flathead National Forest is revising its current 1986 management plan, and the public has a rare opportunity to comment, share experiences, and offer the agency suggestions for how these lands should be managed for the next twenty-plus years. Areas in the Whitefish Range, Swan Range, and Mission Mountains still lack the critical Wilderness protection they need to permanently thrive. Now is our time to secure these places.

So, as you craft your management recommendations to the Forest Service, we hope inspiring words from local authors will help jog your memory and guide your pen.

Here’s another poem. Called "Heaven on Earth," this is by Nate River and inspired by Upper Rumble Lake in the Swan Mountains

Take Me Where the Alpine Air
Is Filled with Flowers Blooming Fair,
Snow Capped Peaks Glistening Bright,
Reflecting Eyes in Alpenglow Light.

Bring to Me the Waterfall,
Tumbling Down the Mountain Tall,
Where Ermine’s Dance and Eagle’s Fly
And Shooting Star’s Draw Twilight Skies.

Sing to Me the Forest’s Song,
From First Light Till Tomorrow’s Dawn,
Earth’s Heart Beating Next to Mine,
Heaven’s Ground Pure, True, Divine.

Our deepest thanks to all the writers who participated in our events. Thank you for sharing your support for more wild places in northwest Montana, and don’t forget to send the Forest Service your comments today.

Here’s one more piece from yours truly:

Soon, larch trees will paint high country hillsides in the Whitefish Range, concluding another summer with a golden-colored exclamation point. For thousands of years, these larches have scratched the backs of grizzly bears and held their territorial scent. They have grown capes of lichen to be recycled into the nests of birds and squirrels. They have listened to the alpine chirp of the pika and the trickle of clear low-valley streams. These trees have witnessed the first flight of fledgling bald eagles and the annual drop of their golden needles has nourished the rich soils at their feet. These are the forests of the Whitefish Range: richly diverse, ecologically whole and uncommonly pristine.

- Grete Gansauer, MWA wilderness fellow