Montanans interested in renewable energy projects, whether for their home or their business, can draw inspiration from a new Web site. AERO, Montana’s Alternative Energy Resources Organization, recently announced the launch of Repower MT (www.repowermt.org), which tells the stories of homeowners, businesses and other organizations across the state that have worked to reduce their energy footprint through either conservation projects or the installation of renewable energy. Making the leap to renewable — wind, solar, hydropower, geothermal — can be something of a step into the unknown for many, and this Website gives people a place to share their successes and challenges. There’s some how-to information, some encouragement and some cautionary tales, all of which should be of value to people interested in exploring alternative energy sources. We hope that as more people look to the sun, wind and water to meet their energy needs, sites like Repower MT will provide value and help with that transition.
All up and down the Rockies, it’s migration time. Freezeout Lake is busy, as are countless other waterways and flyways throughout our region, as birds of all stripes and feathers make their way back north with the warmer temperatures. Not all the migratory routes, though, are made by Mother Nature. Anyone who’s driven to Butte and back lately on Interstate 15, or to Great Falls and back on the same highway, has noticed another species of bird making its way north: snowbirds, as witnessed by the dozens of northbound recreational vehicles with Alberta license plates. Yes, it’s time for Arizona-loving Canadians to return home for the summer too — and with any luck, they’ll pull off the highway here long enough to fill the tank, maybe have a meal and check out some of what the Queen City has to offer.
Another sign of spring arrived this week, with the annual announcement from the National Park Service that spring plowing has begun this week at Glacier National Park. It may seem strange in these parts where snow has been a rare commodity this winter, but crews are reporting above-average snowpack in the iconic northwest Montana park, which typically isn’t open to east-west traffic for at least another couple of months — the earliest possible opening this year is June 15, according to the Park Service. Officials say there’s 91 inches of snow on the ground at a location two miles east of the Continental Divide at Logan Pass. So while it’s almost time to start enjoying the mountains in these parts, the hiking in one of Montana’s most spectacular settings is still a ways off.