The Blackfoot Valley Dispatch is the only newspaper devoted to Lincoln, Montana and the upper Blackfoot Valley and has been the best source for local news from Lincoln, Ovando, Helmville and Canyon Creek since 1980. With a circulation of more than 650 in 37 towns across Montana and in 25 states, we reach an estimated 1500 readers each week. We are member of Montana Newspaper Association and are working hard to provide our readers with the best possible local news and advertising. We appreciate feedback, so let us know what you think and how we can improve.You can contact us at 406-362-4131 of by email at email@example.com Check our new ' Recent stories' page for selected stories from recent editions
Dec. 13 Headlines
Willow Creek open house provides info on Dalton-area Farm Bill project
Envision Lincoln reviews community input, forges ahead with detailed planning process
UM grad student presents case to extend Crown of the Continent south of Lincoln.
Op-ed: Military memorial maintenance needs require action
Op-ed: Protecting public use of public lands
Tis the Season for Scams
Lynx boys clean up against Clark Fork
Jr Hi Lynx battle St. Andrews Griffins
Lady Wildcats steal victory from Lady Lynx
Geary: On the mend after a stretch of pain & weakness
UM grad student presents case to extend Crown of the Continent south of Lincoln. Hope Quay Putting Lincoln “on the map” as a destination immersed in one of the world’s most impressive alpine ecosystems was the topic at hand in the Lincoln Community Hall at noon Wednesday, Dec. 6. Representatives of several groups and organizations gathered for a presentation of University of Montana Graduate Student Katie Shank ‘s research on a possible expansion to the boundaries of the ecosystem known as the Crown of the Continent. As an ecological unit, the Crown of the Continent encompasses more than 10 million acres of the northern Rocky Mountains. With the Continental Divide as its defining landmark, it stretches 250 miles south from the headwaters of the Elk and Highwood rivers in Alberta and British Columbia, into the Blackfoot River Valley. Roger’s Pass is generally accepted as the Crown’s southern boundary. Considered by scientists to be one of the largest intact, pristine ecosystems in North America, the Crown is full of rich history and biodiversity, and home to a list of plant and animal species that have remained largely unchanged since the time of the Lewis and Clark expedition. U of M Geography Professor Rick Graetz has been working to expand local knowledge of the Crown of the Continent and what it could mean for Lincoln in terms of recreation, tourism and commerce since his first presentation here in 2014. Often accompanied by Shank and other students, Graetz has since been a presence at various community meetings, where he and his students have provided input on the area’s attributes. He urges local groups and organizations to take advantage of the University’s resources and knowledge to re-brand Lincoln as the “Gateway to the Crown of the Continent,” a nod to the town’s key location at the Crown’s southernmost tip. Shank has spent the past two and a half years studying the ecology, terrain and history of the area to assess whether the region from Rogers Pass, south to Black Mountain should be considered as an addition to the current boundaries of the Crown of the Continent. “Something that I noticed while starting my research was the amount of different Crown of the Continent Maps that are out there. Every single organization has one, and they’re all different. All of the boundaries and borders within them are different,” Shank said. “I know that a lot of people already include this portion of the Crown onto their map, but a lot of people don’t, so I spent this time to investigate it and understand it more, and see if I could change people’s idea of why it should or should not be included on the map.” Any expansion to the mapped area of the Crown would be in name only, since it refers to the region’s overall ecosystem, rather than an official management area. Shank stressed the need for a list of criteria to determine whether an area should be added to the COC. The original boundaries of the Crown didn’t have much criteria, Graetz explained. Coined in 1901 by famed conservationist George Bird Grinnell, who was instrumental in designating both Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, the term Crown of the Continent was originally focused on Glacier Park, and has slowly expanded over the years with scientists growing understanding of how ecosystems work. “If this proves out, Lincoln can say they’re surrounded by the Crown of the Continent – a pretty cool thing to say,” said Graetz, who continues to encourage Lincoln and other small communities to take advantage of the economic opportunities provided by public interest in Montana’s wild places. “I’m all for this expansion,” Lincoln District Ranger Michael Stansberry said of Shank’s suggested adjustment to Crown of the Continent boundaries. “I think it fits, it feels right.” Shank focused on several variables within the area of study, much of which is Inventory Roadless Area, or IRA– an underdeveloped area that exceeds at least 1500 acres. She studied aspects of the region including keystone species, biodiversity, existing roads, water, recreational use and human imprint. She found proof of crucial habitat for grizzly bear, wolverine and Canadian lynx and a highly diverse assortment of flora within the proposed expansion area. Home to the headwaters of the Blackfoot River, the area Shank studied also contains crucial habitat for bull trout and cutthroat trout. There is currently no active mining in the IRA, and only minimal use of timber. Recreation is also limited to mountain biking, hiking and horseback riding, with no other motorized or non-motorized vehicles allowed. Much of the region in question has already been proposed as recommended Wilderness area by the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest, a designation that Stansberry noted is only in the proposal stage. “It should really be thought of right now as a proposal for a proposal,” he said. “We are required by law to look at parcels of ground that fit Wilderness character, greater than 5000 acres. This area does have…aspects that do make it a nice fit, but…it is still going through the process of Forest Plan revision.” Stansberry said of the 600 comments received from the public on the Forest Plan revision, the vast majority have been about Wilderness. “There’s quite a bit of discussion going on right now,” he said. Although Shank’s work could potentially change how the world sees the Crown on a map, placing Lincoln completely inside of its boundaries, it wouldn’t impact the Forest Service’s management plan for the area. “The University of Montana is a public University and I’ve always felt that when a student does research…we have an obligation that what we do should be shared with the public, and I think we should do things that benefit the public,” Graetz said. “In my opinion it’s promoting a stable economy, based on our public lands.” “I think everyone is in this for the same thing,” said Shank. “Everyone wants to keep this place pristine, and healthy and beautiful.”
Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.