Submitted by the United States Forest Service
Huckleberry season has finally arrived in Montana and we hope you have the best time out and about on the forest in search of this delicious fruit. Just a friendly reminder that while gathering huckleberries for personal use is free on the Kootenai National Forest, we do not allow commercial picking or the reselling of those huckleberries. Here are some other huckleberry tips and information.
Did you know that the huckleberry was officially designated as the state fruit of Montana earlier in the year by Governor Greg Gianforte? We ask that people only pick the amount of berries they will consume for themselves. The KNF currently operates on an “honor” system in which people self-assess and self-manage the quantity they are picking for personal use. There is no permit required for huckleberry picking on KNF, but rules can and do vary by National Forest. Visitors should check with their local forest before picking. There are no designated collection areas.
Huckleberries may be harvested anywhere on KNF for personal use unless otherwise restricted. People often keep their favorite picking locations a secret and we encourage you to find your new favorite spot.
Methods for huckleberry gathering vary widely, but pickers are strongly encouraged to hand pick their berries. This ensures that the bushes are not damaged and only ripe berries are harvested. We want our huckleberry bushes to remain healthy and productive for many years to come! Any methods that damage or destroy the bushes are illegal and may result in a fine for damaging natural resources.
Always practice Leave No Trace principles whenever recreating on National Forests so that everyone can enjoy their outdoor experience. Pack out any garbage and clean up your site before leaving. Finally, huckleberries are delicious favorites of both people and bears.
Because bears love huckleberries and make them a major source of nourishment, huckleberry pickers should always carry bear spray and be bear aware when picking. For more information about huckleberry picking on the Kootenai National Forest, please contact your local Forest Service office. Thank you for your cooperation to keep this awesome activity a great experience for all forest users!
Ripe Huckleberries on the bush. Photo Courtesy United States Forest Service, Kootenai National Forest
Fire Season Has Arrived on the Kootenai with High Temperatures and Low Humidity Conditions
By Ashley South
Fire season has arrived on the Kootenai National Forest (KNF) and across the nation. The KNF had 9 new fires reported on July 14, 2023. The new fires are from lightning and human caused incidents. Small fires have started across the district from Eureka to Troy. Two fires were reported along the Champion Haul Road in Libby, which is now contained. Helicopters and retardant air tankers were dispatched to dump tons of water on the Haul Road fires from the Kootenai River. Fires were reported in the Sheldon Flats, Cedar Creek, and River Bend, Spar Lake, Waper Ridge, and Farm to Market areas. As the summer season continues with high temperatures, be advised of local fire information before recreating on the KNF. Dry conditions and low humidity are foreseen for the near future.
“Information on some website links might take a bit to update to the most current information at times, please be patient.” Said the KNF. For recent incidents please find information at wildwebe.net. For major incidents visit inciweb.nwcg.gov. The National Incident Situation Report is updated every day and you can find out more national fire information at nifc.gov/nicc/sitreprt.pdf
Eat Healthier on a Budget
Submitted by Annette Galioto, Nutrition Education Program Coordinator
Lincoln County and the Montana State University Extension Nutrition Education Program is offering a series of online classes focused on basic nutrition, food preparation, and becoming healthier! The class is part of the SNAP-Ed Program (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education) and provides a free 9-session series of classes designed for families and persons living on a limited income. The series of classes will cover topics including easy meal planning according to MyPlate, ideas for stretching food dollars, tips for increasing physical activity, and tasty ways to eat a healthier diet.
Those who receive SNAP benefits will receive a $10 coupon each week that they attend, to be used to purchase fruits and vegetables at any of the local farmer’s markets! Classes will be held on Wednesdays, beginning July 19, 2023 from 11:00 – 12:00. Further information will be provided once you have registered. To register for a class, or if you have questions, please contact Annette Galioto at 283-2452 or firstname.lastname@example.org. More information and the opportunity to sign up online can be found at the program website www.buyeatlivebetter.org or check out recipes and health tips on the Buy Eat Live Better Facebook and Pinterest pages.
Awareness About Parkinson’s Disease
By Karen Morrissette
Parkinson’s is a progressive illness of the nervous system occurring in about 2% of those over age 65. It is much less common in younger individuals, but actor Michael J. Fox, of Back to the Future fame, is probably the best known public figure suffering from the disease. His foundation has played a significant role in advancing the science regarding this condition.
Parkinson’s begins with the destruction of specific nerve cells in the brain that produce a chemical called dopamine. Decreasing levels of dopamine over time lead to worsening nerve dysfunction, that in turn results in the associated symptoms. No one knows for sure what causes this illness, but people with certain genetic markers may be more likely to develop Parkinson’s Disease. Exposure to certain environmental toxins may also play a role, but researchers are still trying to better define what that risk may be.
The onset can be insidious, presenting only as mild tremors or increased stiffness of movement. Over time, the face may lose its expressiveness while speech slurs. In more advanced disease, movements become progressively more slow and stiff until the individual is unable to get out of a chair, walk properly, write, blink, swallow, or smile. Some people with Parkinson’s may eventually develop dementia, a decline in their ability to think, reason, and remember. Some studies indicate that the longer a patients lives with the disease, the more likely dementia is to develop.
There is currently no specific test used to diagnose Parkinson’s Disease. A neurologic specialist may use a detailed history, imaging of the brain, and blood tests to make the diagnosis. Sometimes a trial of medication that can increase levels of dopamine is given to confirm the diagnosis. If it helps, then Parkinson’s is the most likely diagnosis. There are more specific tests under development that may make diagnosis easier.
Medication is often given to increase the levels of dopamine in the brain. The most commonly used of these is carbidopa-levidopa, but there are others. Sometimes other medications may be prescribed to treat specific symptoms related to the disease. In certain patients who do not respond well to medication, inserting a small electrode into the brain to stimulate specific areas has been found to reduce symptoms. Since this is an invasive procedure, it is not a first line choice for treatment. In the early stages of disease, exercise and physical therapy can be very beneficial. Research is ongoing to find improved treatments.
Lincoln County Library hosts “The Veteran Experience and Military Culture”
Submitted by Alyssa Ramirez
Lincoln County Library hosts Montana Conversation “The Veteran Experience and Military Culture” with Elizabeth Barrs on July 24, 2023. The program is at the Libby Branch at noon and at the Troy Branch at 4pm. The presentation is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided by Friends of the Library. One in ten Montanans is a veteran, yet how much do we know about the veteran’s experience and military culture? Literature, history, movies, and other media often portray the veteran in stereotype – brave hero, troubled youth, skilled warrior, apathetic killer, or unflappable leader. In this talk, Elizabeth Barrs, an army combat veteran and instructor of Veterans Studies, explores the real experiences of the American veteran in combat and in peacetime. She discusses military life as well as the historical and current military culture that helps to shape how veterans relate to society. The discussion also explores the experiences of military families and the contemporary challenges and triumphs of veterans as well as what our society is doing to address those challenges. Elizabeth Barrs is a retired army officer and instructor of Veterans Studies at the University of Montana. For more information, please call Lincoln County Library at 406-293-2778.
Photo Right of Elizabeth Barrs. Photo Courtesy Lincoln County Library
Kootenai Valley Resource Initiative Meet for Grizzly Bear Sub-Committee
Submitted by Kierstin Cox, Administrative Assistant for the
Kootenai Tribe of Idaho
The upcoming Grizzly Bear Subcommittee meeting is scheduled to take place on Thursday, July 27th, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. held at the Boundary County Annex Building located at 6566 Main Street, Bonners Ferry, Idaho.
During the meeting, the sub-committee will be discussing several important topics related to our efforts in grizzly bear conservation. Multiple presentations will be held including, Bear Conflict Prevention Infrastructure Survey 2022 by Chris Anderson from People and Carnivores. Conditioned Food Aversion with Odor Association to Mitigate Human-Bear Conflict by Professor Heiko Jansen, PhD and Heather Shuravloff from Washington State University. A Conflict Specialist update by Rob and Jeremy explaining updates for the livestock pick-up program. The International Grizzly Bear Subcommittee will have community packets withbear country brochures and educational information. This meeting is open to the public and can be accessed by Zoom, register by emailing Kierstin@kootenai.org