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Irrigators, anglers on edge over low water situation

By Michael Howell One undeniable fact that has Bitterroot River irrigators and anglers on edge right now is that the river is flowing at one third its average volume for this time of year. An unusually hot and dry April jump started an early runoff of the snow pack and already plans are being made…

Bitterroot Trail bustling on bicycle celebration day

Roger DeBrito of the Bitterroot Trail Preservation Alliance presents Gretchen Spiess of Stevensville with a certificate of appreciation at the Stevensville Hotel Bike Camp on Saturday. “We honored Gretchen not because she rode a bicycle across the country, but because of the kind of person she is,” said DeBrito. Both Spiess and DeBrito rode across the country in the Bikecentennial 40 years ago. Michael Howell photo.

By Michael Howell Stevensville was prepped and ready for the Montana Bicycle Celebration last Saturday, complete with a brand new Bike Camp at the Stevensville Hotel, and a “Bike and Brew” celebration planned for the late afternoon on Second Street. Most of the hundreds of riders stayed on the main Bitterroot Trail, which now runs…

Stevi airport project could have design change

By Michael Howell The Stevensville Town Council is planning on some last minute design changes to the runway  reconstruction project at the Stevensville airport. The council went ahead and approved the approximately $2 million project as originally designed but plans on making a grant application amendment including the new design change at its next meeting….

Bitterroot Trail to officially open

A ribbon-cutting ceremony and celebration of the completion of the final segment of the Bitterroot Trail, the 50-mile bicycle path that stretches from Missoula to Hamilton alongside Hwy 93, will take place Saturday, July 16 in conjunction with the Montana Bicycle Celebration which marks the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Bikecentennial cross-country ride. MT Department…

New bicycle camp to open at Stevensville Hotel

Gene Mim Mack and Robbie Springs, owners of the Stevensville Hotel, look over the grounds of their new bike camping facility that is currently under construction and will hopefully be finished in time to coincide with the offical opening of the Bitterroot Bike Trail on July 16. Michael Howell photo.

By Michael Howell The owners of the Stevensville Hotel, Gene Mim Mack and Robbie Springs, are putting in a bicycle camping facility on the hotel grounds, behind their historic building at 107 E. 3rd.  It’s been a long time coming but it may be just in time for the expected surge in bicyclists associated with…

Westside forest management project approved

By Michael Howell Bitterroot National Forest Supervisor Julie King has signed a Decision Notice and Finding of No Significant Impact (DN/FONSI) for the Westside Collaborative Vegetation Management Project. The decision authorizes the forest to move forward on plans to thin approximately 2,300 acres of overstocked National Forest System (NFS) lands between Lost Horse Creek and…

Key issues identified for Stevensville growth policy update

By Michael Howell The Town of Stevensville is updating its growth policy and several residents showed up to participate in the process at a meeting last week hosted by John Kellogg of Professional Consultants, Inc. and Matthew Rohrbach of Land Solutions, who are spearheading the effort. Attendees got a chance to help identify Stevensville’s assets…

Wildlife managers from around the world visit the Bitterroot

Lea Guthrie, Stewardship Coordinator for the Bitter Root land Trust, and Dave Campbell, board member and retired Forest Ranger, discuss weed control, irrigation, and conservation easements with land managers from around the world. Michael Howell photo.

By Michael Howell Twenty-six land and wildlife managers from 16 different countries visited the Bitterroot Valley last week as part of the 2016 International Seminar on Protected Area Management. The trip to the Bitterroot was only one part of a jam-packed tour of Western Montana that included trips to Glacier National Park, the Iverson Ranch…

Cal Ruark, Darby’s ringleader

Cal Ruark has been working steadily the past few years to turn Darby from a down-and-out timber town into a up-and-coming rodeo capital of the region. Jean Schurman photo.

By Jean Schurman Although he probably wouldn’t be totally comfortable with the label of ringleader, Cal Ruark is a man who gets things done. When he decides upon a course of action, he never moves back from that. There may be some bumps in the road but he just takes them in stride and keeps…

Initial ruling made in judicial candidate’s case over ad

By Michael Howell U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy has issued an initial ruling in attorney Robert Myers’ case against Shaun Thompson in his official capacity as Chief Disciplinary Counsel for the State of Montana. Thompson took action against Myers claiming that he violated the state’s Code of Judicial Conduct and the Rules of Professional…