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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 23, 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)
Morrell Lookout sits at 7,700 feet atop Morrell Mountain overlooking Seeley Lake. It is staffed every summer from early July through mid October, depending on the fire season. It is open to the public when it is staffed.

- Energy Code Requirements Raise Questions for Log Home Builders

MISSOULA COUNTY - New energy code requirements are leaving local log home builders questioning their ability to offer affordable log homes in the future. Current codes adopted by the state of Montana last November require: log diameter to average 14 inches; include a continuous air barrier that seals all the joints; and have a whole-house mechanical ventilation system. A blower door test is also required to meet code. Log home construction is one of the industries that supports the economy of the Seeley and Swan Valleys. All new homes, including log residences, built in Montana must meet the current energy codes.

- A Bird’s Eye View

SEELEY LAKE - From a perch 3,700 feet above Seeley Lake, the Morrell fire lookout keeps a watchful eye for any sign of suspicious smoke in the 20-mile plus view shed from Morrell Mountain. Fire lookouts have played a historic role in the west by spotting wildfires when they are small, protecting forest interests and the communities. Morrell Lookout is one of less than 40 lookouts across Montana that is still staffed every summer.

- Psychological Perspectives, Center of Attention

– Letters to the Editor: Support Patriots Day Parade; Change the Fisheries Management on Seeley Lake – Part 1

- Everyday Heroes Educate at Potomac Library

POTOMAC - Readers and participants of all ages enjoy the summer reading program at the Potomac library. The program is part of the Missoula Public Library (MPL) summertime reading fun offered at all the branch libraries.
Organized by Potomac resident Maureen Talbert, and supported by MPL, the weekly events have an average of 20 children reading and doing activities at each presentation.

- Discussion Continues on Hwy 83 Safety

SEELEY LAKE - The Seeley Lake Community Council (SLCC) continued to discuss its proposal for safety improvements on Highway 83 as it passes through town. The council also chose to take no action against a contentious Highway 83 access south of Salmon Lake and approved a SLCC Facebook page at its July 13 meeting.

- Local Counties Among 15 Counties Designated as Natural Disaster Areas

HELENA – Governor Steve Bullock announced July 15 that fifteen Montana counties have been designated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as primary natural disaster areas due to drought conditions and nine additional ones have been named contiguous disaster counties. Secretary Tom Vilsack notified Bullock through a letter.

- 2015 Recreational Trails Program Grants Awarded for Local Projects

HELENA – Montana State Parks (stateparks.mt.gov) announced that 60 trail organizations, communities and various land-managing agencies throughout Montana will receive federal Recreational Trails Program (RTP) federal grant awards for their projects in 2015. Local recipients include the Seeley Lake Driftriders, Seeley Lake Nordic Ski Club and Swan Ecosystem Center.

- Swan Valley’s Summer Offering - Berry Picking Tradition

The Swan Valley is home to an abundance of huckleberry plants growing throughout the forested mountain slopes of the valley. Known by many names - bilberry or whortleberry among others – the huckleberry grows on moderate to steep slopes in moist, well-drained soils with just the right balance of shade and sunlight at elevations between 3,500 to 7,200 feet.

- Public Comment Sought on 2015-2016 Snowmobile Program Grant Awards

HELENA – Montana State Parks (stateparks.mt.gov) is seeking public comment on recommended funding levels for 2015-2016 Montana Snowmobile Program grant applications. Public comments are due by Friday, July 31 at 5 p.m.

- Beck Creek Gardens Thrive in Swan Valley

Can you grow food in the Swan Valley? Beck Creek Gardens is answering that question.
Beck Creek Gardens is a small-scale, organic food production site at the Beck Homestead, where Northwest Connections (NwC) currently operates. NwC is a conservation and education non-profit based out of Condon. They offer accredited field courses for university students, as well as K-12 and adult education opportunities. When they aren’t teaching, NwC staff is involved in a variety of monitoring and community outreach projects throughout the region. Among their programming is Beck Creek Gardens.

- Tour Reveals Good and Bad Aspects of Fire

SEELEY LAKE - “Do animals really sense a fire and flee ahead of it?” That was one of the questions asked by an out-of-state visitor on the July 12 Wildland Fire in Seeley Lake Tour associated with the Norman Maclean Festival. The answer came from Rick Trembath, one of the participants on the tour.

- Road Closures Due to Bridge Replacements

SWAN VALLEY – The Flathead National Forest will be replacing three bridges located on the Swan Lake Ranger District of the Flathead National Forest.

- PSC Meeting Seeks Abandonment Comments

SEELEY LAKE - The Montana Public Service Commission (PSC) held a public meeting July 13 to seek comments on abandoning the propane pipeline that services Seeley Lake. Five Valleys Gas Company (Five Valleys) has proposed to abandon their pipeline and change its customers to individual tanks that would be serviced by Energy Partners, LLC (EP). EP wholly owns Five Valleys.

- Medical Center Continues to Move Forward
SEELEY LAKE - Construction for the Seeley-Swan Medical Center expansion is complete including all outdoor projects.

- Swan Valley Regional Planning Committee - Natural Resource Objectives Best Met through Best Management Practices
SWAN VALLEY - Urban Planner and contractor Bob Horne presented the Swan Valley Regional Planning Committee with the Natural Resources and Environment element of the Regional Plan at the July 15 meeting. Most of the committee agreed the best management practices (BMPs) were the best alternative to preserve and enhance the hydrologic and environmental functions of the streams and wetlands of the valley and address wildlife concerns.

- Schmitz a Hit with NBC Heat
Seeley-Swan High School senior Kyndee Schmitz returned July 12 from her trip to the United Kingdom (UK) with the NBC International Volleyball Travel team. Her team, NBC Heat, along with the other travel team, NBC Dream Squad, ended their tour with 10 wins, five losses and two ties.

- Conley Receives Foundation Scholarship
SEELEY LAKE — The Seeley Lake Community Foundation is proud to announce KeAnna Conley as its $1,000 scholarship recipient for the 2015-2016 academic year. Conley is studying Business Administration at the University of Montana Western.
The Foundation has provided $8,000 in scholarships to Seeley-Swan students since 2006.

- A Miraculous Relationship
How awesome! Do you realize you can have a personal relationship with the CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE? Let that soak in for a moment … God Almighty created the mysteries of the Universe, the spectacular beauty and powers of our world and, also, created us with all the intricacies of our human bodies and minds (Ps. 89:11). And that same magnificent God loves us with an unfathomable love from which nothing can separate us. By His plan we can personally walk and talk with Him.

- Recreation & Trails Update ~ Week of July 21
For more information please visit the Lolo National Forest website (http://www.fs.usda.gov/lolo) or call the Seeley Lake Ranger Station 406-677-2233.
• Effective July 3, Missoula County is under a Stage 1 Fire Restriction. Open burning and fireworks are prohibited. Campfires are prohibited unless in an approved fire ring in a developed recreation site. Contact the Seeley Lake Ranger Station with any questions.
• The Clearwater River Canoe Trail is low but passable. Please call the Ranger Station for a current update.
• Cottonwood Lakes Road #477 will be closed between mile markers 10.9 - 11 (near Little Shanley Creek #4384), beginning July 13 to Aug. 1 for the installation of a new culvert. Alternate routes from the South or East of this closure can be accessed by travelling to Ovando and North on Monture Road #89.
• Lodgepole Creek Trailhead is now open. Construction will continue with the possibility of temporary delays until Sept. 7. Please watch for heavy equipment operating in this area.
• Trail crews and volunteers have been busy out there clearing many of the trails. For a recent update of trail conditions visit the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex webpage at www.bmwf.org/trail_conditions or visit the information kiosks located at the Seeley Lake Ranger Station.

- Business of the Week: Creative Interiors

- Community Briefs

Holland Lake Campfire Program: Loons with Jessica Curry, USFS; 12th Blackfoot River Clean-up Seeks Volunteers; Blood Drive in Condon; Film, Fiddlers & Fun: Honoring the Western Heritage of the Swan Valley; Proposed Shoulder Seasons -Seeking Public Input on Elk Hunting Seasons; Missoula County Subdivision Rewrite Update; Missoula County Sheriff’s Department Call Activity 7/13/15 – 7/19/15


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.

* Disclaimer: This website is undergoing a revision so you may find new as well as very old pages! Follow us on FACEBOOK for more immediate news feeds.

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.