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Mountain High



The Lolo National Forest is currently revising its forest plan and would like to hear how you want the forest managed. Note that the updated Forest Plan will regulate the entire two million-acre forest and not just the proposed megaresort slated for Lolo Peak—although that does indeed seem to be the most controversial aspect of the forest’s future.

While both the Bitterroot and Lolo forests rebuffed Tom Maclay’s proposal to build a golf course, chairlifts, condos and a shopping mall on the hillsides beneath Lolo Peak, the revision will look at this and other ways people use, and might use, the forest.

Got opinions? Want your voice heard? Then head to the Lolo N.F.’s public meeting May 26 at 7 p.m. at Missoula’s Doubletree Hotel and speak up. NOTE: Although the planning process used by the agency once provided multiple choices proposed by forest users, they’ve streamlined the process into a single “preferred alternative” meant to address the concerns of all participating groups. While it’s intended that this alternative will be a compromise among a wide range of voices, make sure that you’re one of them.

The Ecology Center Classic, “a premiere Northwest stage race,” will tempt top cyclists from around the country to compete for a fat $10,000 purse. May 28–30, cyclists will participate in multiple races, including a three-day, four-stage number, although it’s the Memorial Day criterium that’s most spectator-friendly. Racing through downtown Missoula, the “crit” is a fast, often-bloody and viewer-friendly sprint that includes riding on brick and fast, wide turns. Other events—like cheap kiddie helmets from 10 to 2 at the Iron Horse and a party later on—are on the docket, so call 544-8502 or log on to to get in the game.

The Montana Conservation Corps and Mountain Bike Missoula are looking for volunteers to celebrate National Trails Day June 4 by working on the Rattlesnake’s Woods Gulch Trail. After meeting at the trailhead, MCC crews will lead volunteers “up the trail to reroute sections to mitigate erosion and to add twists and turns to keep every type of user happy.” Tools and lunch are provided, so wear appropriate work clothes and get ready to work. Call Chase Jones at 728-2720 or email and make it so.

It’s time for Montana Audubon’s 2005 Bitterroot Bird Surveys! This science-based monitoring program is designed to “inform and educate the public about wildlife response to the Bitterroot fires of 2000” by looking at “the nesting success of cavity-nesting birds in burned logged and unlogged habitats at locations throughout the Bitterroot National Forest.” You’ll find nests, monitor them throughout the breeding season and learn how to be a field researcher. You can choose your level of involvement, so contact the Montana Audubon at 961-1552 or go to

More immediately, bird lovers can join in on the 13th annual Bill’s Bird Count at Teller Wildlife Refuge June 3–4 to case the 880-acre refuge and get a solid bird census. Participants can join in on one of three birding walks (a cheep-cheep $25 donation is vigorously encouraged; this is a fundraiser for the refuge, after all) to help the refuge build a nest egg. For more information, call 961-3507 or log on to

The Bob Marshall Foundation is recruiting volunteers to work in its namesake wilderness this summer, with opportunities to perform trail maintenance and campsite and cabin restoration. Projects start now and continue through mid-October, with everything from easy to challenging options available. Help clear trails around Holland Lake June 4 for National Trails Day or join in on a day trip up Ousel Peak in the northern Great Bear Wilderness June 18. More trips are available throughout the summer, so log on to to learn more and download registration forms.

The University’s Outdoor Rec Program is hosting an ACA certification Kayak Instructor Course June 6–9; this is your chance to get prepared for an occupation not dissimilar to that of a mother duck in whitewater. You’ll learn teaching progression, learning theory and strokes and maneuvers up to a whitewater level. Participants must be qualified boaters before setting out, so just drop $450 and you, too, can be another well qualified but out-of-work kayak instructor. Call 243-5172 to learn more.

Anyone planning to be ready to act when whitewater situations go belly-up should check out the Whitewater Rescue Clinic on Alberton Gorge on June 4–5. An ACA-certified course, this intensive session teaches “practical rescues by paddlers with minimal gear.” By focusing on rescue equipment, philosophy, organization and physical skills, participants will be able to set up a rescue, deal with vertical pins, throw a mean rescue rope and tow swimmers to safety. Your $190 gets you lunches, ACA certification and transportation, so call 243-5172 before May 31 to get in on it.

Speaking of rescues, the Lochsa is in prime shape—are you? Join the Outdoor Rec Program as they tackle “the best Class IV whitewater in the country” June 9 and 16. For $80.00 you get transportation, river clothing, lunch, equipment, and expert guides courtesy of Lewis & Clark Trail Adventures. Register by June 7 or June 14 (respectively) by logging on to

Runners who like it flat but wild can head to the Teller Wildlife Refuge Slack Barn outside Corvallis May 30 for a 5K or 10K Memorial Day Refuge Fun Run. Registration starts at 7 a.m., the race at 8, but call 777-1339 to learn more.

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