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Volume XXIV, Number 57

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Kootenai Creek Fire Update

Fundraising rider passes through the Bitterroot

By Michael Howell

Phil Dawson is on a record setting 2,000-mile long pack ride to raise money for the families of children in need of organ transplants. CEO of America Fundraisers, Inc., a non-profit organization headquartered in Hagerman, Idaho, Dawson is hoping to raise $10 million for his charitable organization by using his lifelong experience as a horse and mule man to raise people’s awareness and draw donations to the cause. More...

Phil Dawson, CEO of America Fundraisers, Inc., passed through the Bitterroot Valley last week on a 2,000-mile pack trip to raise funds for families of children in need of organ transplants. He drew a crowd of onlookers as he neared Stevensville, one of whom was 93-year-old Billy Hoblitt. If anybody in the Bitterroot knows a thing or two about saddle horses and packing mules, it’s Billy Hoblitt.

Dawson showed Hoblitt the GPS transmitter that he carries, enabling people to track his movements on the internet. Hoblitt listened attentively to Dawson’s story about the fundraising ride. Then he checked out the Decker packsaddle that Copper Penny was carrying. He checked the weight. He tugged on it to check the balance. He was impressed. As a sign of his approval he gave Dawson some cash for “beans and bagels” down the road. Michael Howell photo.

There are at least two sides to every logjam

By Michael Howell

The Bitterroot Conservation District passed the buck last week when it approved issuing a disputed 310 Permit to remove a logjam from Bear Creek but placed a proviso on it that a court must first rule that the logjam is a nuisance. More...

One landowner sees this logjam on Bear Creek as a manmade pile of junk, including sawn logs, old tires and household debris that is posing a safety hazard to recreationists and threatening to wash away his property.

Another landowner sees it as a naturally occurring and reoccurring process along the stream that creates beneficial fish habitat and should be left in place. The Bitterroot Conservation District has agreed to issue a permit for removal of the logjam, but only if a court first declares it to be a “nuisance.”

Latest blowdown re-fuels debate about River Park management

By Michael Howell

A storm with high winds that blew down several trees across the valley last Sunday evening also blew down two tall cottonwoods in the northern three acres of River Park in Hamilton. This has at least one Parks Department employee saying, “I told you so.” More...

Parks Department employee Guy West, an outspoken opponent of the new park management policy, believes that most of the cottonwood trees in the northern section of River Park should be removed because they are a danger to the public. Michael Howell photo.

Two cottonwood trees in River Park fell over in a wind storm Sunday evening, re-fueling the debate over the city’s new park management policy. Michael Howell photo.

Portage routes examined

By Michael Howell

The Ravalli County Commissioners held site visits at each of the three Portage Routes being considered for fishing access on Mitchell Slough. Under Montana’s Stream Access Law, recreationists have the right to go onto private property to portage around any manmade obstacles that obstruct access to state waters. The law allows for establishment of an “official” portage route at the request of either a landowner or a recreationist. The Bitterroot River Protection Association, following successful litigation that assures public access to the river channel, requested that official Portage Routes be established at three places along the slough to facilitate access at Tucker Headgate and at Victor and Bell Crossing Roads. More...

Stevi to settle over water rights objection

By Michael Howell

The Town of Stevensville is trying to change its water rights to include the use of a new well field to be developed on property adjoining the Twin Creeks subdivision. At its August 24th meeting the Town Council agreed to a stipulated settlement with the lone objector to the water right change. More...


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