Swede Mountain Lookout fundraiser

The Northwest Montana Chapter of the Forest Fire Lookout Association is holding a fundraising month in March. On all Thursdays from 6 until 8 p.m., the 5, 12, 19, and 26, at Cabinet Mountain Brewery, Brews for Benefits will be held to support the cause.

On March 26, there will be music by Tim Helnore and a raffle for a Savage Mark 2 .22 caliber bolt action rifle.

Swede Mountain Lookout, also known as Big Swede, is located on the Libby Ranger District and is a staffed lookout. The Forest Fire Lookout Association (FFLA) has already replaced the roof, but there is still maintenance and upgrade work that needs to be done. Materials need to be purchased and transported up to the lookout, and the work must be completed before the fire tower is staffed this summer.

FFLA’s website (nwmt-ffla.org) says, “if you ever want your soul to dance in the clouds, you will at some point have to juggle lightning and taste thunder.”

The saying by Christopher Poindexter is relevant as he and anyone who has worked in a fire lookout during a busy fire season knows, is so true. Lookouts express that it can be exciting to say the least during the day. At night, surrounded by the flashes of lightning and echoing vibrations of thunder, it has been described as an ethereal experience. Especially in a high tower that stands spear-like into the big skies of Montana.

Swede Mountain is one of the closest and oldest lookouts in the Libby area on the Kootenai National Forest (KNF).

The KNF is 2.2 million acres in area and dotted across Lincoln and Sanders Counties, there are still eight lookouts available for public rental. These include three in the Eureka, Rexford, and Fortine at McGuire, Webb, and Mount Wam. Two are in the Troy locale, Mount Baldy – Buckhorn Ridge and Yaak Mountain, and two are in the Trout Creek territory that include Gem Peak and Sex Peak. In the Libby area, there is Big Creek Baldy, a local favorite.

Historically on the KNF, there are at least 11 more lookouts remaining. At one time there were even more, but many were put out of commission in the past. What is a real treasure to find, and there are still a few out there, is the really old tree top lookouts used in the somewhat distant past by local rangers.

Chuck Manning, FFLA’s director, told The Montanian that they are planning on working on Mount Wam, Meadow Peak, Big Swede, and the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation’s lookout at Werner Peak.

“Restoring the simple functionality of a fire lookout structure which once served as a shelter and safe haven for many who staffed lookouts since the era of the big burn, is something I feel strongly about preserving,” said Manning. Certainly, his group is doing that.

“They now provide an avenue for people to experience nature’s wonders and reflect on what life was like on fire lookouts after the 1910 fires when hundreds of lookout structures dotted the horizon across northwestern Montana.”

Support the restoration of Swede Mountain’s lookout by attending Brews for Benefits or get involved with Northwest Montana’s chapter of the Forest Fire Lookout Association by contacting 406-253-8661 or emailing nwmtc.ffla@gmail.com. You can also find them on Facebook.

By Brian Baxter, The Montanian




native, Shannon Reny, earns GNAC All


Academic Honors at MSU

Shannon Reny earned Academic All-Conference Honors for her work maintaining a 4.0 grade point average during her second season of women’s basketball at Montana State University (MSU) in Billings.

Reny is one of six MSU Yellowjackets to earn the honor in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC). The team was eliminated from the GNAC Tournament by Western Washington University on March 5.

Reny competed in 15 games for the Yellowjackets averaging 6.3 minutes per game in her role off the bench.  She posted a career high 11 points and six blocks in 29 minutes of play on Nov. 6 against Rocky Mountain College.

The 15 game appearances doubles what she had her Freshman year when she was featured in seven games for the talented young Yellowjacket team. There are only four upper classmen on the MSUB roster that returned to the GNAC Tournament after missing out in the 2018-2019 season.

At Libby High School, Reny set the tone for her success both on the court and in the classroom. She was a four-year varsity basketball player and three-time state all academic award winner. Her junior year she averaged 16.9 points and seven rebounds per game as a team captain for the Loggers and won team MVP honors. She also played soccer as a goalkeeper for three years and threw for the track team one year to round out her high school career as a multi-sport athlete.


By Mati Bishop, The  Montanian


Cabinet Peaks


welcomes new family nurse

practitioner to the provider team

Cabinet Peaks Medical Clinic is thrilled to welcome JeNaia McGreevey, APRN, FNP-C to the care team at Cabinet Peaks Clinic Family Medicine.

JeNaia is a Certified Family Nurse Practitioner through the Association of Advanced Nurse Practitioners.  She graduated from Gonzaga University in 2018 with clinicals in rural based family practice clinics.  She has a particular interest in women’s health and helping patients improve their health through patient centered goals.

“I believe we are here to help patients understand their health issues, educate them, and provide them with the knowledge base to manager their health issues,” McGreevey stated.  “I provide a team approach to patient care and help guide the patient to be the healthiest version of themselves.  I like to incorporate lifestyle modifications to address patient health issues, as well as alternative therapies with evidenced based care.”

JeNaia was born and raised in the Mission Valley and most recently worked at Wholistic Healing, a locally owned clinic that provided care incorporating both eastern and western medicine treatment.  The clinic offered a lifestyle program including diet, exercise, infrared sauna, and medical follow-up for treatment of Diabetes, Hypertension, Obesity, and general well-being.

Moving to Libby was an easy decision for JeNaia when she met and married her husband Mark.  She has 4 girls who attend Libby schools and enjoy taking care of their three horses, two cats, and one dog.  Additionally, JeNaia enjoys many outdoor activities including hiking, fishing, hunting, kayaking, and spending time with her children at their sporting events.  She also loves to garden and work on landscaping projects at home.

JeNaia will begin her practice at Cabinet Peaks Clinic Family Medicine on January 27, 2020.  Patients can start making appointments with her today by calling 283-6850.


Submitted by Kate Stephens