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Welcome to the website of the Seeley Swan Pathfinder.
The Pathfinder is the award-winning weekly newspaper serving the communities of Seeley Lake, Condon, Swan Valley and the Blackfoot Valley of Montana.

Highlights from the July 2, 2015 issue

Visit the Seeley Swan businesses with links below.
Their sponsorship makes this website possible.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Montana Properties
(Real Estate sales in Seeley Lake)

Blackfoot Valley Dispatch
(Local news source for Lincoln, Ovando, Helmville
and Canyon Creek)

CLB Custom Landworks
(Landscaping, Tree Care and Fencing)

Clearwater Montana Properties, Inc.
(Proudly partnering with Cabela Trophy Properties
for Real Estate Sales)

Double Arrow Resort
(Historic Lodge & Golf Course)

Great Bear Properties
(Real Estate Sales in Seeley Lake)

Lindey's Prime Steak House
(The Place For Steak & Burgers on the Bay!)

Montana Loon Society
(Supporting Montana's Common Loons)
Pine Hills Outfitters
(Outfitting in the US)

Swan Mountain Outfitters
(Outdoor Recreation Services and Exclusive Lodging)

Swan River Valley Real Estate
(Real Estate Brokerage)

Swan Valley Centre Cabins
(Vacation Lodging in the Swan Valley)
The Upper Falls on Morrell Creek is not frequented nearly as often as lower Morrell Falls. There is an unmarked trail 100 yards before you reach the lower falls that takes you to the upper falls. It is a steep climb and is not maintained; use extra caution. For full hike details see page 15.

- July 4th Schedule for Seeley Lake, Ovando and Condon. Click HERE!!

- Fireworks Prohibited - Stage 1 Fire Restrictions

Stage 1 Fire Restrictions have been imposed in Missoula, Flathead, Lake, Lincoln and Sanders Counties, effective 12:01 a.m. Friday, July 3.

Missoula County Commissioners decided Tuesday, June 30 that Stage 1 restrictions extend the perpetual prohibition of fireworks from county parks, Forest Service and state lands to private lands. No fireworks will be permitted on any land in Missoula County, public or private. For other counties, please contact your local fire department for fireworks restrictions.

- Hopping About Hoppers!

POTOMAC - Since mid June Potomac residents have seen many grasshoppers covering roads and fields, sometimes so thick that the ground looked as if it were moving. All across Montana they can damage cropland and rangeland. Although grasshoppers are common to Potomac during the summers, the densities seen this June are not.

- Please Pause for Pets and People

- Smith Creek School Gains New Home

SWAN VALLEY - The Smith Creek School house was in session during the early years of the settlement of the Swan Valley. It opened in 1918 to the children of the first settlers and homesteaders. Children in grades one through eight were taught there until its closure in 1932. 

- Notice of a Finding of No Significant Impact

The USDA, Rural Utilities Service has received an application for financial assistance from the Seeley Lake Sewer District. The proposal consists of installing a sewer collection system throughout the community of Seeley Lake and the construction of a wastewater treatment facility on the Northeast edge of the community.

As required by the National Environmental Policy Act and agency regulations, the Rural Utilities Service prepared an Environmental Assessment of the proposal that assessed the potential environmental effects of the proposal and the effect the proposal may have on historic properties. The Environmental Assessment was published on April 30, 2015 for a 30-day public comment period. One comment was timely received; a response to that comment has been appended to the Environmental Assessment. Upon consideration of the applicant’s proposal, federal and state environmental regulatory and natural resource agencies, and public input the agency has determined that the proposal will not have a significant effect on the human environment and for which an Environment Impact Statement will not be prepared.

Copies of the Environmental Assessment can be reviewed or obtained at USDA Rural Development Missoula Area Office, 3550 Mullan Road, Suite 106, Missoula, MT 59808 For further information, please contact Daniel E. Johnson, Area Specialist (406) 829-3395 Ext. 108. MNAXLP

- Opinion Letter to the Editor - Tired of Dealing with Crap!

- Seeley Lake Sewer District - Rovero’s Waits as Funding Carrot Dangles

The Seeley Lake Sewer District (SLSD) board was told, at their June 18 meeting, they would have to wait another six weeks to see their possible funding package. Also at the meeting, the board learned that Rovero’s may be forced to replace its septic system depending on the sewer’s timeline. 

- Safety Messages from Missoula County Sheriff’s Deputy Robert Parcell

• Have fun but be safe!
• Avoid over consumption of alcohol and don’t be driving while doing it.
• Everyone has a right to peace and quiet just like others have a right to make noise.
• Slow down on congested roadways.
• Be careful with fire including extra caution when smoking and driving a hot vehicle on dry grass.
• Follow all Stage 1 restrictions and report the use of fireworks.
• Private property is the only area in question. If a firework starts a fire, whoever lit it is responsible for property damage and suppression costs.
• Show courtesy to others. Treat others like you would like to be treated.

- Seeley Lake Resident Returns Home After Accident

SEELEY LAKE - The last thing Seeley Lake resident Sean Dalrymple remembers after driving off Boy Scout Road May 22 was that he was cold and needed to get out of the truck to warm up.
Dalrymple’s Chevrolet truck went into the ditch near Seeley Lake Campground and a dead lodgepole snag went through the windshield and out the back window. Dalrymple’s head was impaled with a branch, breaking every bone in his face.

- Celebrate Independence Day Safely

MISSOULA – Fire management officers announced Monday that fire danger is now extreme for the Lolo National Forest and for Department of Natural Resources lands in west-central Montana. Officials are reminding the public that as the Fourth of July holiday approaches, the possession or use of any type of fireworks on public lands, and private lands in Missoula County, is prohibited. These lands include National Forests, BLM, State Trust and all classified forest lands.

- Seeley Lake Fourth of July Traditions

We Americans love our traditions. This time of year, as we celebrate our independence and the birth of the greatest nation on earth, the traditions that come to mind are near and dear to the heart of every American: parades and fireworks.

- Seeley Lake Farmers Market Offers More Than Merchandise

SEELEY LAKE - Since 2008 a variety of vendors have arrived every Sunday throughout the summer to display their wares on the grassy lawn across from Seeley Lake Elementary School. Officially named Littlebird’s Marketplace Seeley Lake Farmers’ & Crafters’ Market, vendors usually refer to it as the Seeley Lake (SL) Market. 

- Country Cottage Built to Support Elementary Athletics

SEELEY LAKE - The Country Cottage makes its debut appearance at the Seeley Lake Fourth of July parade. The children’s playhouse, built by Seeley Lake resident Doug Richards, will be raffled off to support Seeley Lake Elementary (SLE) Athletics.

- Celebrate the Swan Race Offers Slower Pace

CONDON - The Swan Ecosystem Center held a “Celebrate the Swan!” Race for the Trails Fundraiser, Saturday, June 27 in the Swan Valley on Falls Creek Road. Proceeds from the race go to the maintenance of 90 miles of recreational trails along the Swan Front and Mission Mountains Wilderness, employing experienced and dedicated trail stewards.

- Norman Maclean Country – The Untold Stories

SEELEY LAKE – The tragic family story told by Norman Maclean in “A River Runs Through It” has produced more interest in the state of Montana than any other creative effort, as documented by the Montana State Department of Commerce which titled it “A River Runs Through It Syndrome.” In 2002, a department spokeswoman stated “the impact for the state of Montana has been priceless as far as promotional value. It just draws people to the state.”

- Celebrating 50 Years of Memories from SSHS - The Bus Trip to Missoula, Choosing School Colors and Basketball Beginnings
SEELEY LAKE - Carolyne Jones was in the first class to graduate from Seeley Lake Elementary in 1958. Jones attended Hellgate and Sentinel High Schools and then moved. She graduated from Thompson Falls in 1962.
Although it took nearly 10 more years for the Seeley-Swan High School (SSHS) to be built in 1965, Jones shares her memories of the bus ride to Missoula, picking SSHS’s colors and the beginning of basketball for Seeley Lake.

- Celebrate Fourth of July with The Kramers
CONDON & SEELEY LAKE - The Kramers will be performing in Condon, July 3-5. Join the Condon Community Church on Friday at noon for a ladies luncheon at the church. The Kramers will perform at the Swan Valley Community Hall at 7:30 on July 5 and will lead worship July 5 at 10:30 a.m. at the Condon Community Church. Their final performance in the valley will be at Mission Bible Fellowship in Seeley Lake July 5 at 6 p.m.

- Swan Song - Jeanne Wilson Sticht Sr. - 1925 ~ 2015

SEELEY LAKE - Jeanne Wilson Sticht Sr., 90, passed away Wednesday, June 17 at St. Pat’s Hospital, Missoula, Mont. of natural causes.
Born and raised in Missoula on a “truck garden” he enjoyed gardening all his life. He purchased his home on Lake Inez in 1952 and considered it his favorite place on earth. He spent weekend and vacations at the Cabin until he retired permanently there in 1988. 
Jeanne retired from the USAF as a Major. He claimed three wars was enough - WWll, Korea and Vietnam.
He loved working in the woods, using his sawmill, boating, seeing the wildlife, bad puns, telling stories and family. He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Jan Hansen Sticht, 12 children, 27 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren. He will be missed by all.

- A Permanent Pillar in Seeley Lake

The Seeley-Swan Medical Center hosted its Open House, June 23, giving tours and answering questions to more than 75 attendees. The board, staff and Partnership Health Center (PHC) are excited about the ability of the clinic to offer more services because of the facility’s expansion..

- Met Versus Unmet Needs for Seniors Discussed

SEELEY LAKE – Area residents interested in resources for senior citizens gathered at the Seeley Lake Senior Center for a presentation and discussion from Missoula Aging Services (MAS). This discussion was meant to be the first of many in an effort to bring more services and resources to Seeley Lake that seniors want and need.

- Morrell Falls National Recreation Trail #30

Directions: Head north on Highway 83 from Seeley Lake 0.5 miles. Turn east (right) onto Morrell Creek Road just north of the Seeley Lake Veterans Memorial Park. Follow Morrell Creek Road for one mile. Turn north (left) on West Morrell Road (Forest Road 4353). Follow the road for nearly six miles. Turn east (right) on Pyramid Pass Road #4381, go .25 miles. Turn north (left) on Morrell Falls Road #4364. Continue for 1 mile to the Morrell Falls Trailhead. The route is well marked.
Overview: This is one of the most popular trails on the Seeley Lake Ranger District. It leads to Morrell Lake and beautiful Morrell Falls at the base of the Swan Mountain Range.
The first portion of the trail is located through a lodgepole pine flat. The remainder passes through a mixed forest of pine, fir, larch and spruce. The drainages in this area support a variety of wildlife including beaver, bobcat, black and grizzly bear, elk, deer, mountain lion and moose.
Morrell Lake is located approximately 2.3 miles from the trailhead. Views of the Swan Mountains are tremendous from the 23-acre lake.
Morrell Falls, located past the northeast corner of the lake, marks the end of the main trail. Morrell Creek cascades down a spectacular 90-foot double falls.
A short, steep climb up a trail 100 yards from the falls provides a rewarding view of the falls from above and leads to the upper falls. Climbing on and around the falls is very dangerous and should be avoided.
Safety & Etiquette: This trail is in grizzly bear country. Visitors are reminded to take appropriate precautions including traveling in groups, carrying bear spray and hanging food or using bear resistant containers.
Hikers botanizing along the lakes should be careful near the edges as the vegetation may be on floating mats.
Raingear and bug spray are recommended.
Visitors are also reminded to practice Leave No Trace, Leave No Weeds and proper trail etiquette techniques.
Associated Trails:
• Grizzly Basin Trail #409: An old hunter/trapper trail that heads six miles north into the Grizzly Basin area. Leaves main trail about 100 yards from the base of the falls and heads into the Swan Mountains along the east fork of Morrell Creek. This trail is unmaintained and can be difficult to follow. It offers solitude and more natural and physical challenges.
• Morrell Creek Trail #383: A primitive trail that takes off from main trail near Morrell Lake. It goes up the west fork of Morrell Creek to Trail 430. Three and half miles long and infrequently maintained.
• Crescent Mountain Trail #391: A primitive trail that takes off from the beginning of the main trail and climbs onto the flank of Crescent Mountain. A mile and a half long and is not maintained.

- Business of the Week: Lindey's Prime Steak House & Bayburgers

- Community Briefs

Calling all Students who went in Washington D.C. in 2013 & 2015; Swan Valley AARP Picnic July 6; Discover the Place where Adventure and Science Meets, Wildlife Explorer’s Camp; Discover the Art of Wildlife Tracking in the Swan Valley; School Immunizations Available; FWP Seeks Comment On Proposed Apprentice Hunter Rule;Missoula County
Sheriff’s Department Call Activity 6/22/15 – 6/29/15


Copyright 2015 Pathfinder LLC PO Box 702, Seeley Lake, MT 59868, 406.677.2022.
All rights reserved, no photograph, writing or other material may be used
without prior permission.
Please enjoy select archived articles, Passages columns, Swan Songs (obituaries) and Eye on The Environment columns from local organizations. Links to these offerings are available on the left side of this page. Also at the left you will find links to local area information and our site sponsors and other potentially interesting or useful websites.

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Please email comments, letters or other matters to: pathfinder@seeleylake.com This website is maintained by Andi & Nathan Bourne, Editors and Publishers, Seeley-Swan Pathfinder, PO Box 702, Seeley Lake, Montana 59868. Phone 406.677.2022.