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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 October 23, 2014 issue

Visit the Seeley Swan businesses
with links below.
Their sponsorship
makes this website possible.
- Montana Wood Products Week
Maintaining the Grade with Diversified Products

“I think people need to understand the value of renewable resource wood provides,” said U.S. Forest Service Regional Forester Faye Krueger. “I think [Montana Forest Products Week] is an opportunity to highlight the many uses of forest products and importance of on-the-ground management in forests.”
Pyramid Mountain Lumber Incorporated (Pyramid) is the area’s largest producer of forest products. With more than 3,000 different products, Pyramid has been able to react to fluctuations in the timber industry for more than 60 years. While the bulk of production focuses on dimensional lumber, Pyramid offers a variety of wood products to distributors for a variety of uses.

- Creating a Healthier Generation

Seeley Lake Elementary (SLE) is now part of an exclusive national group, earning two Bronze Awards in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC) program. SLE received one award for the elementary grades kindergarten through sixth grade and another award for the middle school grades seven and eight.

- Swan Song - Joe Lawrence

- Recreation Report ~ Week of Oct. 20

• ROAD UPDATES. 1. The south access to Clearwater Lake Trailhead via Forest Road #4353 is still closed due to a culvert replacement project. 2. The road to Lake Elsina is rough, rocky and muddy beyond the barricade at the warming shack. Travel to the trailhead is not recommended. 3. Work is ongoing in the Colt Summit project areas on both sides of Highway 83 and visitors can expect increased vehicle traffic. Some road decommissioning has begun inside the project boundaries.

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)

Prudential Montana Real Estate
(Real Estate Sales in Seeley Lake)

Pine Hills Outfitters
(In Canada and 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 Swan Range towering over Seeley Lake’s Pyramid Mountain Lumber Inc. Oct. 23. Pyramid makes more than 3,000 different products out of six different species. Bottom right photo shows the pattern otherwise known as tongue and groove on 1 by material produced by Pyramid.

- Parks and Trails Bond – What Is In It for Rural Missoula County?

Presenters Michael Caldwell and Tate Jones from the Citizens for Parks and Trails group gave a presentation and entertained questions regarding the Missoula County Parks and Trails bond at the Seeley Lake Community Council meeting Oct. 13.

- Seeley Lake Sewer District Surveyors Working in Area

County surveyors have been working in Seeley Lake area and will continue work in the coming weeks. The Seeley Lake Sewer Board was updated on the work at their monthly meeting Oct. 16. An idea to help fund the Seeley-Swan High School’s (SSHS) water testing project was also discussed.

- Seeley-Swan and Blackfoot Valley Real Estate Shows Strong Sales

REAL ESTATE TODAY The real estate market in the Seeley-Swan and Blackfoot valleys continues to improve in both strength and value. Real estate in
the valley saw more buyer activity thus far in 2014 than we have seen in recent years.

- Changing of the Guard

Late fall is my favorite time to be in the Seeley-Swan. The blaze-yellow larch and aspen stand out against clear blue skies and the first dusting of snow in the high country. The days are usually warm but you can sense a heightened urgency in the air as the Valley’s residents—human and otherwise—make final provisions for the coming winter. Change is coming.

- Donations Provide Free Bear Spray to Some Blackfoot Hunters 

MT FWP - Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) is working with local partners to get free bear spray and safety tips into the hands of hunters headed to a few Blackfoot Valley hunting spots that have a history of bear encounters.

- U.S. Senator John Walsh Facilitates Congressional Timber Task Force in Seeley Lake

Montana Wood Products Association hosted a Congressional Timber Task Force meeting in Seeley Lake Friday, Oct. 17. Senator John Walsh attended along with congressional representatives for Senator Jon Tester and Representative Steve Daines. More than 50 other representatives from the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), state of Montana, members of the Montana Logging Association and all but one of the major timber producers in Montana also participated in the discussion.

- Please Pause for People and Pets - Elinor Williamson

- The Shot of a Lifetime

Lexi Carpenter, a freshman at Seeley-Swan High School, was drawn for the only bull elk tag issued in area 282-10, the Blackfoot-Clearwater Wildlife Management Area or “the Game Range.”
Lexi is excited about the opportunity to get a really big bull but she says she won’t pass up a nice one versus not getting one at all.

- Mama B’s Field of Screams Is Back

After taking a one-year hiatus, the Bernstrauch family is back for their eighth year hosting a walk-through haunting Friday, Oct. 31. At their new location, 449 Grizzly Drive, and nearly an acre of land to haunt and scare, more than 11 volunteers will welcome anyone brave enough to walk through Mama B’s Field of Screams.

- Opinion - Letters to the Editor

Vote the Thugs OUT!; Missoula County Trails Bond – Service to the Seeley Lake Area?; Ask the Question Before You Vote; Civility of Political Discourse Should be Emulated; Protect Right to Hunt and Fish – Vote Strohmaier; Not so NRA John Lewis

- U of M Jazz Band to Perform in Condon

The University of Montana’s (UM) top jazz ensemble, Jazz Band I, will perform a residency in the Seeley Swan communities Nov. 2-3, starting with a public concert at Swan Valley School in Condon at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 2. As always with AAI’s 2 Valleys Stage concerts, persons 18 years and younger are admitted free with an adult.

- Trains in the Valley

The Seeley-Swan Valley is one of the longest in Montana that never had a railroad running through it. But railroads have had a very important influence on the area.
In the mid-1800s, the U.S. government wanted to encourage building railroads and telegraph lines. Building a railroad was a very expensive venture. Private banks were reluctant to loan money to rail companies. To remedy the situation, Congress offered land grants to the railroad that they could sell to make money.

- Community Briefs

Community Thanksgiving Dinner Seeking Coordinator; Seeley Swan Community Food Bank Donation Bags Available at Cory’s Valley Market; Blackfoot Grizzly Relocated after Killing Cow; Open Book Club Hosts Pete Fromm Oct. 25; Public Asked to Nominate an Outstanding Volunteer; Missoula County Landowner Grants Application Available

- Swan Valley Regional Planning Committee Addressing Comments, Moving Forward

he Swan Valley Regional Planning Committee (SVRPC) discussed public comments and Missoula County Community and Planning Services (CAPS) response to the SVRPC proposed draft goals, policies and actions for the proposed update to the 1996 Swan Valley Comprehensive Plan. The SVRPC would like to have its plan submitted to the county staff prior to the finalization of the Missoula County Growth Policy which is scheduled to be finalized fall of 2015.

- Medical Center Expansion Community Informational Meeting

The Seeley-Swan Hospital District board agreed to host a community informational meeting to allow the public to meet the new medical providers, view updated expansion plans and hear the construction update. The meeting will be held Nov. 10 at 6 p.m. at the Seeley Lake Community Hall. The meeting will also kick off the Seeley-Swan Medical Center capital campaign. All who are interested in learning more about the changes at the medical center are invited to attend.

- Grace’s Gallery and Dining Area New Additions at MMM

Visitors to the Swan Valley will discover that the Mission Mountain Mercantile (MMM) sports a new dining area and a specialty gallery, Grace’s Gallery has been added to the nearby building that contains the United States Postal Service.

- Candidates for House District 92 Respond to Reader Questions and Concerns - Strohmaier and Moore

- Comments Requested Updates to Missoula County Shoreline Regulations

The Missoula County Shoreline Regulations are currently being updated. The Community and Planning Services (CAPS) staff encourages the public to review the draft document ( and submit comments and questions by Nov. 14 at 5 p.m.

- Who is Jesus to You?

Someone asked me recently to answer the question, “Who is Jesus to you?” without using any church lingo or biblical words. For anyone who has been in the institutional church a while, this is a very difficult task. We become so accustomed to church-ese and we toss around words like “Lord” and “Savior” without much expenditure of mental energy. We think we know what the words mean – but a close examination of our lives often indicates otherwise.

- Montana Newspaper Association Launches New Public Notice Website

Public notices – the means by which government announces day-to-day activities important to citizens – are now easier than ever to find, thanks to a new statewide website supported by member newspapers of the Montana Newspaper Association (MNA).

- In Sports:

SSHS Hosts First Cross Country Race; Blackhawks Cross Country Set New Personal Records; Lady Blackhawks Win Two on the Road; Potomac Teams Summon Small Town Pride; Blackhawks Bury Red Devils

Copyright 2014 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.

* Disclaimer: This website is undergoing a revision so you may find new as well as very old pages!
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Please email comments, letters or other matters to:
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.