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Bear spray (IR copy)

Montana Wild will host a bear awareness program from 6-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 11.

Learn the latest in bear awareness at Montana Wild

Do you trail run or mountain bike? Hike or backpack? Camp, hunt or fish? Float or trail ride?

Join Bill and Marti Cook, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks volunteers, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 11, at Montana Wild for an update on the latest in bear awareness. You’ll learn new information about grizzly presence in our region, new state-of-the-art bear safety products and the latest research on defense against bear attacks.

Hands-on instruction on how to use bear spray will be offered the last half hour of program.

Montana Wild is located at 2668 Broadwater Ave. The program is free, and no registration is required. To learn more, call 406-444-9944.

Drift boat clinic upcoming

Adipose Boatworks, Wolf Creek Angler and Headhunters Flyshop will be hosting a Drift Boat 101 Clinic and fundraiser for Mending Waters Montana on Saturday, April 13. The morning will start at 10 a.m. at Headhunters Flyshop in Craig. There will be instruction on drift boat transport, launching/loading the drift boat, rowing, anchoring, how to fish from the boat and general river etiquette. There will be off and on-the-water instruction during the clinic with the opportunity to row a drift boat. The clinic will end at 6 p.m.

A barbecue lunch will be provided by Headhunters. While there is no charge for the clinic or lunch, it is strongly encouraged that participants donate to Mending Waters Montana (formerly MT Project Healing Waters). Raffle tickets will be sold at the event for a chance to win rod and reel combos, Yeti products, free drift boat rentals and other fishing related goodies.

Mending Waters Montana is a nonprofit, volunteer group here in Helena that is dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of active military personnel and veterans through fly fishing. This includes fly tying classes and fly fishing trips.

To RSVP for the Drift Boat 101 Clinic, call or email Adipose Boatworks at 406-992-1519 or adiposeboatworks@gmail.com .

Reminder of seasonal closures in Elkhorn Mountains

The Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest, in partnership with the Elkhorn Restoration Committee, Elkhorn Working Group, and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, wants to remind all forest visitors that there is currently a motorized road closure in effect for many of the main roads in the Elkhorn Mountains.

The annual motorized seasonal closure is in effect until May 15, which includes major access roads such as: Weasel Creek (FS Rd. #405), Indian Creek (FS Rd. #4031), and Crow Creek (FS Rds. #424 and #621). These areas remain open for non-motorized use.

In addition to impacts to wildlife, many of the roads are of natural surface (such as dirt) and the Forest Service wants to make sure they are not impacted. Funding for road maintenance is limited, and it is beneficial to protect the structural integrity of the roads during the spring wet season.

Anyone operating a motorized vehicle in violation of the seasonal closure is in violation of 36 CFR 261.13. Penalties can include a $5,000.00 dollar fine, six months in jail and impoundment of your vehicle.

The Townsend District office has copies of motor vehicle use maps available; or you can find them online at: www.fs.usda.gov/hlcnf . For more information, contact the Townsend Ranger District at 406-266-3425.

New firewood permits now available

New Forest Service firewood permits are now available for purchase. The annual permit allows firewood cutting through March 31, 2020.

The cost of a firewood permit from the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest is $20 for a minimum purchase of four cords. Additional cords may be purchased for $5 per cord up to a total of 12 cords per individual per year.

A cord is the amount of tightly piled wood in a stack four feet high by four feet wide by eight feet long. The permit allows woodcutters to remove downed timber or to cut down standing dead trees under most conditions in the national forests and grasslands in Montana, northern Idaho, and parts of North and South Dakota, and on lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management in Montana and northern Idaho. 

For more information, check the firewood permit and the Forest Service’s firewood handout available from agency offices and at www.fs.usda.gov/bdnf. Beaverhead-Deerlodge NF offices are located in Wisdom, Philipsburg, Butte, Dillon, Ennis, Sheridan, and Wise River. Permits may also be purchased from Bureau of Land Management offices in Butte and Dillon. Forest Service and BLM offices are open weekdays, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The following businesses also have permits available to sell: Anaconda: Hardware Hank; Boulder: Hardware Hank; Ennis: True Value Hardware; Sheridan: McLeod Mercantile; Butte: Bob Wards and Butte Ace Hardware; Harrison: Wheat and Thistle General Store: Lima: Ralph’s Exxon; Deer Lodge: I-90 Auto Truck Plaza; Drummond: Fic’s Conoco; and Whitehall: Ace Hardware.

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