Online Auction set to offer local art,
experiences for wilderness cause

Submitted by
Friends of Scotchman
Peaks Wilderness

One of the best things about wilderness is that it brings people together. It builds community around a love for our shared wild backyard. The Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness is aiming to do just that at the Incredibly Wild Online Auction.

The past year, our ability to engage with our community was drastically altered. Many of us missed celebrations with family, dinners at our favorite restaurants, and opportunities for travel and adventure. Our local business owners and creatives shouldered the burden. Meanwhile our local trails like the Scotchman Peak trail experienced record-breaking use.

“The pandemic has reminded us of what really matters — family, a community that cares, and the wild places that keep us sane during hard times,” said Kelsey Maxwell, FSPW’s Communications and Outreach Coordinator. “That’s why at the Online Auction, we’re raising money for the Scotchmans while also building community and supporting local businesses.”

The auction will feature over 60 items — from local art to weekend getaways.

Looking to get into nature? The auction includes a horseback ride into the cabinets, a sunset sail on Lake Pend

Oreille, a day floating and fishing on the
Kootenai, and a plane ride over the Scotchmans.

Trying to plan family get-togethers? You can bid on a group baking lesson with wild huckleberries, a farm and wildflower tour, or a private beer tasting.

Each item in the auction was donated by a local community member or business who supports Friends of Scotchman Peak Wilderness and the auction’s mission to invest in our local communities.

“We are so grateful for the overwhelming support we received from the community,” said Kelsey. “It’s clear that business owners, artists and outdoorsmen alike cannot wait to get out and build these community connections — especially around a shared love for our wild backyard.”

When you bid in the Incredibly Wild Online Auction, you’re supporting more than just our wild backyard. It also helps local artists, artisans and business owners, too. The goal is to build community, support local business and raise money for the Scotchmans. As local communities reopen and anticipate a busy summer season, a little help goes a long way.

The Incredibly Wild Online Auction goes live Wednesday, April 14, and runs until Wednesday, April 28.

Check out to browse everything being sold, and get ready to place those bids when the auction goes live!

Spring brings high water dangers;
Plan ahead and wear a PFD

HELENA—When spring is in the air, snowmelt creates high water in our streams and rivers. You might want to get out there in your boat, but high water can be deadly when conditions are too extreme for safe boating.

Although it can be hard to put safety ahead of adventure when you’ve spent hours planning a boating trip, sometimes the only safe choice is to stay off the water.

If you do go, make sure you stay safe by wearing a well-fitted
personal flotation device (PFD) or life jacket when on and around the water.

Even if you are only near a rapidly flowing river, wear a life jacket; it could save your life.

If you fall into cold water without a life
jacket on, you could
drown in a matter of minutes.

There are other times, especially for many less experienced boaters and floaters, when the dangers aren’t apparent until they’ve entered the

Here are some tips for navigating the dangers of high water:

*Don’t boat alone.

*Make sure someone on shore knows where you plan to put in, take out, and when you plan to return.

*If the water is in a stage you wouldn’t choose to swim in, then don’t launch your boat.

*Boaters should also make a study of high-water hazards and be prepared to cope with dangers like:

– debris in the water

– capsizing in cold water and the possibility of

– bridge abutments that catch debris and
create swirling waves

– turbid, muddy water that makes other hazards difficult or impossible to see

Don’t forget that high water can also cause damage and Fishing
Access Site closures, and restrictions are likely as spring runoff continues.

For updates on FAS closures, visit
and click Restrictions
and Closures.


“If in doubt, don’t go!”



All those with questions, please contact:

Sara Smith,
Boating Education
Coordinator for the
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Recreational
Boating Safety Program, at 406-444-5280 or

Spring Black Bear Hunting Season

Opens Thursday, April 15

Submitted by Montana FWP

The spring black bear hunting season starts April 15.

Hunters need to be aware that black bears must be presented for in-person inspection and tagging within 10 days of harvest. The hide and skull must be presented in a condition that allows full inspection and tooth collection (i.e. unfrozen). For local tagging information, contact the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks office nearest to you.

Three Black Bear Management
Units have quotas and mandatory
48-hour reporting: Units 510, 520,
and 700. When the quota is reached
or approached in each of these districts,
the black bear season in that district will close.

It’s important to know the difference between grizzly bears and black bears. Black bear hunters in Montana are required to pass the Bear Identification test to obtain a black bear license. Montana’s Bear Identification Program is intended to
prevent the killing of grizzly bears as a result of mistaken identity by hunters.

For more information on black bear hunting, visit: