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Open House Monday at
Ecosystem Center in Swan Valley

An Inland Alaskan Grizzly mount greets visitors at the center.
The mount is on loan from Don Young of Condon.

Mounts of birds and other forest inhabitants are on display at the center.

by Patricia Swan Smith
For the Pathfinder
October 14, 1999

Seeley Swan Pathfinder
Seeley Lake, Montana


Photo at Left: Left to Right: Some of the faces you'll see at he Visitors Center-Trista Morin, Summer Visitor Center Assistant; Jennifer Dyer, Visitor Center Coordinator; and Diann Ericson the Education Coordinator.

Photo at Right: These women cook all the great meals for the center's activities. Department of Natural Resources and Conservation holds numerous firefighting classes and helicopter training at the Center each year. Left to Right: Clarie Wood, Evie Anderson, Delores Freholtz and Leita Anderson.

Mark your calendar for the Swan Ecosystem Center and U.S. Forest Service Condon Work Center open house on Monday, October 18th between 1 and 6 p.m.

The center is located at 6887 Highway 83 in Condon. The open house will be followed by a dinner and program at the Condon Community Hall. Please RSVP at 754-3137.

Executive Director Anne Dahl said she is looking forward to the open house and hopes that they have a good turn out.

"One of the Center's main objectives is to maintain a connection between the community and the Forest Service," she said.

The center's activities and services have been possible largely due to all of the time donated. Each year there has been over 1,200 volunteer hours put in by local residents.

After a trip through the facility, you'll be able to recognize different species of plants trees, animals and birds. The three forest types are creatively displayed to teach visitors about open, closed and stream-side forest areas.

A walk on the 1.2-mile trail will allow you to learn about the animals and plants in the three forest types. You'll learn how natural forces and people create change, and how these alterations either force a specie to move out or allow others to move in.

There are 24 stops on the trail and you'll be able to discuss snags, Indian candy, tell-tale scars, grubs and many other interesting facts when you leave.

You'll also walk away with plenty of trivia regarding hunting in Montana such as:

1864 Montana territorial legislature protects trout;

1870-First game bird season, limit: 100 prairie chickens;

1872-First closed season on buffalo, moose, elk, deer, sheep, goats, antelope, and hares; season closes February 15 to August 15 each year.

1877-Act makes it unlawful to kill game animals for hides alone.

1895-Big game season dates September 1 to January 1, limits: 8 deer, 8 bighorn sheep, 8 mountain goats, 8 antelope, 2 moose, 3 elk.

1905-First resident hunting and fishing license required, $1 per family.

And the list continues with interesting facts through 1995.

Jennifer Dyer has created a wonderful replica of three forest types that you will find in our area.

The carpet even has tracks from the area animals, and this inspired a wonderful game.

The kids (and physically capable adults) can play a great game of "Paws-Tures", which is a lot like the game "Twister", only instead of colors to contort your body to, you get to use animal tracks.

"Right foot on the moose track; Left hand on the mountain lion track; Left foot on the black bear track." OOPS! Too far of a stretch. He's down. Everybody laughs, and they start all over again.

You'll get an up-close look at a grizzly, porcupine, Common Goldeneye and an American Kestrel to name of few of the animals and birds in the displays.

If you cannot make it to the open house, the center is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday from June 1 through September 30.

The winter schedule is 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday (October 1 through May 30). During the winter, Anne Dahl occasionally attends workshops out of the area, so please make sure to call her at 754-3137 before heading to the center.

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