Libby Area Trails


The Libby Outdoor Recreation Association met for a Libby Area Trails Meeting at seven p.m. on Tuesday October sixth. First topic was the Flower Creek Complex Recreational Development Plan. The group is working with other consultants, Rural Montana Water Systems, and Montana Access Project LLC, to finalize the plan, and quotes are forthcoming. The design for the 150 foot by 200 foot parking lot adjacent at Flower Creek Nordic Trails is on hold pending the hydrology study. The final design will require City Council approval. State Section 16 Land Use License, that is required to develop the mountain bike trail is in its final stages after the proposed trail has been adjusted. The revised application has been forwarded by Libby Department of Natural Resources and Conservation to the Kalispell office where it is being reviewed at this time.

The Nordic Ski Course is developing well, with some loops being widened, and an agreement on the water flow plan. The outside consultant firm, Montana Water Systems is looking at any and all potential impacts of the proposed drainage systems, and will be issuing a report soon. All concerns in the group agree that water shed safety is of primary concern, and they are preparing an Operations and Maintenance Plan for the course, which will provide a responsibility matrix for the course that will need approval by the Ski Club, the City, the State, the County, and the U.S. Forest Service. The Bobtail Ridge and Sheldon Mountain projects are developing well. Groups are looking at parallel trails for down flow mountain biking, with focus on Sheldon Flats for now, without adding any new trails. The RAC project for two corrals is also moving along, with materials purchased, and construction to begin in 2021.

Bobtail Ridge trail restoration is pending the timber sale completion this fall. Granite Creek Trail Bridge is complete along with four miles of new trail, and approximately 50 miles of trails in the Silver Butte area have been cleared by the Libby Back Country Horsemen. The East Libby Ripley Project did not receive any significant objections, and the group is waiting on Fish, Wildlife, and Parks review. The group is also looking at a grant for sign construction and placement. It is obvious that there is a lot of work to be done folks, and the more help the better. For more information or to volunteer to help these efforts email tpetrusha@yahoo.com, or call Cabinet Country Consulting at 422-3528. The next meeting is scheduled for November third at seven p.m..

It is encouraging to see these projects moving along. Even though with all the groups involved, at times it seems to be moving painstakingly slow. This reporter took a drive up Flower Creek, and walked a bit. It was quiet at the entrance. The autumnal view of Treasure Mountain was gorgeous. With my binoculars I followed the ridge lines up to the high basin, and on up to the peak. Both highlighting and contrasting the deep coniferous greens are the low to mid elevation Western larch. Up in the higher country the Alpine larch, like golden stringers shone in the late afternoon sun. Almost due west, an Indian’s head looks out across the Kootenai Valley. A Red-shafted flicker sounded off and flew, its salmon colored adornment blending into the high shrubs yellow – orange glow. Moose, elk, and Black bear tracks were subtle, but evident in spontaneous patches of dried mud.

If there needs to be a place for humans to build, so that adults and young people can enjoy winter sports and biathlon events, this is good ground to do it. Yes, the process can be slow. But as old fur trappers and young research scientists know, breaking trail in winter through snow drifts on snowshoes takes much daily and moonlit night efforts at first. But eventually the trail gets packed down, making things much less difficult. All that work on and support this effort, might not live to see its complete fruition. But if the youthful laughter of enjoyment resounds below the mountain of treasure for many winters, it will all be worth the effort and patience.

By Brian Baxter, The Montanian


Koats 4 Kids Offering One-Time free Winter Clothing Event

Kootenai Kiwanis members will be opening the doors to their free winter clothing closet for a one-time distribution event later this week.
Saturday, October 17, from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm at Asa Wood School, 700 Idaho Avenue in Libby.  All those in need of winter clothing for the coming season are welcomed to this ‘liquidation’ event where all currently stored coats, boots, hats, mittens, snowpants, scarves, socks and more will be available for Lincoln County children and adults.
“At this time, we are not going to be taking any further donations for the 2020 Season,” shared Koats 4 Kids coordinator, Kate Hunstberger.  “We are refraining from accepting incoming items due to the virus at play in our community.”
This clearance event comes as the Kiwanis closet’s home for nearly two decades will soon be relocated due to the pending sale of the Asa Wood building which is expected to changeover to an assisted-living facility.
How future Koats 4 Kids events will play out is at this time unknown, according to Huntsberger, “We will give out winter gear, we are just not clear yet on how that will happen.”
Any remaining gear left on-hand following this one-time event will have a temporary home in a small space set aside for the Kiwanis Club at the McGrade building on Farm to Market Road.  All distribution efforts will then be put on hold for a potential reboot in the 2021 Winter Season.
Those families and community members who expect to attend this weekend’s “one-time only” winter gear giveaway are asked to please wear protective facial masks and practice social-distancing while in attendance.
Those with questions regarding this year’s event or how to become involved in planning for the future may contact Kate at 293-5363 or Ray at 293-7424.

By Stacy Bender, The Montanian


A look into the City of Libby’s
Continued from Page 1

The water in the reservoir flows out from underneath the massive concrete structure, through a 36 inch valve that can be adjusted for output, mainly temperature control for native Bull trout. Right now, Salter said the outflow is approximately three inches, just enough to keep the water in Flower Creek running steadily all the way down to its next destination, the city’s secondary diversion reservoir, tucked into the hillside by Cabinet View Golf Course.

Much smaller than the main reservoir, this secondary holding area diverts most of the water, for about 2 miles,  through 18 inch pipes buried 15 feet under the road, and from the golf course to the city’s water treatment facility.

First it passes through a sedimentation tank, where some of the larger sediment is removed. Some water is then released back into the natural Flower creek bed to flow down into town, past houses and neighborhoods and flowing right by Rosauers in downtown Libby.

There is little to foul or contaminate the pristine high mountain snowmelt before it gets to your tap, beyond the occasional clumsy deer or heavy rain, and our water is truly some of the purest in the world.

The Montanian will continue this series of articles with an in-depth look at the water treatment plant and distribution system. And finish with a look at what happens to the wastewater we flush and pour down our toilets and drains.

By Moira Blazi, The Montanian