August Trail Report

Summer has definitely arrived! The sunny, hot weather of late has dried out the trail and created some dusty corners. I have been enjoying the early morning hours for my trail adventures in order to avoid the hottest (and smokiest) parts of the day. With cooler weather and some moisture in the forecast for this weekend, the smoke should clear out and open up the afternoon adventures again.
I finally got the chance to explore the recently built ‘Beaver Tail’ that connects the South Beaver Loop down to the shores of Beaver Lake. The cold, aquamarine water is the perfect destination on a hot summer’s day, so take a bathing suit and a pair of goggles to cool off. Construction on the lakeshore improvements has begun and will drastically improve this popular fishing access site. The boat ramp will no longer be the only place to enjoy the water! Thanks to the Montana Recreation Trails Program, donors Paul and Wendy Faganel, and our hard-working volunteers, we are creating a scenic viewing platform, picnic area, trail kiosk, more parking, and much needed pedestrian access to the water. Stay tuned for photos and updates!
With increased trail usage during summer, we often see an uptick in wildlife sightings on the trail. Recently Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has received reports of grizzly bears on or near the Whitefish Trail. A biker was approached by two sub-adult grizzlies on the Haskill trail last weekend, and he discharged bear spray to deter their curiosity. The encounter ended without incident and is a great reminder to carry bear spray, recreate in groups, and remember that Montana is home to bears, mountain lions, and other wild animals.
    
Flathead National Forest recently upgraded the fire danger to “very high.” The recent hot weather has dried out fuels making them susceptible to fire. Help us protect our local lands and community by practicing smart fire behavior: do not smoke, park in tall grass, or drag trailer chains. Also, if you have a fire or BBQ, completely drown the coals before leaving it unattended. Remember if it’s too hot to touch, it can start a fire.
Photo credits: @losingpreciousdays and Pete Sabin