A Blackfeet Tribe troubadour and a former chief of the U.S. Forest Service are coming to the Inland Northwest to be part of a three-day event celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act.
An impressive mix of wildlife experts plus entertainment and educational programs are scheduled tomorrow through Sunday, July 11-13, at the Bull River Rod and Gun Club at Bull Lake on State Highway 56 south of Troy and Libby, Montana.
The setting couldn’t be more symbolic. Bull Lake is in a valley between the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness and the proposed Scotchman Peaks Wilderness:
• The Cabinets was among the original 54 wilderness areas designated when Congress enacted the Wilderness Act of 1964.
• The Scotchman Peaks wilderness proposal, which straddles the Idaho-Montana border, is the region’s most likely candidate for wilderness designation should the next Congress consider a wilderness bill.
Friday’s program includes a 3 p.m. talk on Grizzlies in the Cabinets by Wayne Kasworm, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grizzly research expert for the region. Capping Friday’s events will be a wilderness movie and performance by Jack Gladstone of the Blackfeet, who illustrates Western Americana through an entertaining fusion of lyric poetry, music and narrative.
Dale Bosworth, former chief of the Forest Service, will headline Saturday’s events with a 7 p.m. presentation on wilderness advocates.
Bosworth crafted the 2005 Travel Management Rule in response to the growth of off-highway vehicle use, which had more than doubled between 1982 and 2000. The rule allows OHVs to travel in national forests only on roads or routes specifically designated for their use.
Also on the Saturday schedule are programs on Wild Yoga, Critter Crafts, Backcountry Horses, and much more.
All three days include food vendors, a beer tent, horseshoe tossing, kayak rentals and a group campfire at the lake’s edge.
The lineup is worth looking into a motel room at Libby or camping on-site at one of the several National Forest campgrounds in the area.
Sunday’s programs cover compass skills, fly tying, a wilderness ranger reunion and primitive skills demonstrations.
Another wilderness celebration with programs on wildlife photography, grizzly bears, changing directions in the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness and more is scheduled for Aug. 23, noon-9 p.m. in Libby Riverfront Park.
The Libby event will feature a 7 p.m. family concert by the popular Wylie and the Wild West Show.