June 21, 2001
Seeley Swan Pathfinder
Seeley Lake, Montana
This week's campfire program will focus on "Wildcats of the Swan," and will begin at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 30 at the Swan Ecosystem Center (Condon Work Center), mile marker 43 across from the Condon airstrip. Tom Parker of Northwest Connections will share information about mountain lions in the valley, and Jay Kolbe will present some of his findings from lynx studies in the Clearwater and Swan drainages.
The Condon Work Center has been bustling with researchers this summer. People have come from all parts of the country to study birds, voles, bears, salamanders, and other critters that live in the Swan Valley. The Forest Service offers housing and kitchen services to these researchers (many of whom are volunteers) for a reasonable fee.
In addition to the current wildlife research mentioned above, the Regional Office of the Forest Service in Missoula is also collecting on-the-ground data about forest conditions in the Swan this summer to update satellite information already on file. Other plant studies this summer include ongoing research about Howellia aquatillis, a rare plant found in many local marshes.
Several organizations and agencies, such as the Flathead National Forest, the University of Montana, and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, coordinate research efforts with non-profit groups such as Northwest Connections at Condon and the Wildlands Volunteer Corps in Missoula which provide volunteers and local expertise. The Swan Ecosystem Center has scheduled several public programs this summer hosted by some of these research teams.
In other outdoor news this week, main trails into the Mission Mountains have been opened, but backcountry travelers can still expect snow and wet conditions at the higher elevations.
Along the Swan Front, trails #415 (East Holland Connector) and #35 (Holland-Gordon) into the Bob Marshall Wilderness from Holland Lake have been opened. Forest Service crews from the Swan Lake Ranger District will be working on the Foothills Trail #192 this week, and in the area of Sapphire Lake and Pendant Pass after July 4. the Holland Falls Trail #416 is under construction this summer. Hikers may encounter crews working on that trail.
Please remember that the Flathead National Forest asks visitors to keep food items out of the reach of bears, in bearproof containers or suspended high in a tree at night or when camps are unattended.
Holland Lake Campground is closed due to construction. The swimming beach and boat launch will be open this weekend and for the July 4th holiday.
If you would like information about other camping areas in the Swan Valley contact the Swan Ecosystem Center, 754-3137, located at the Condon Work Center.