National Geographic : 1950 Jun
735 Montana, Shining Mountain Treasureland giant "Buck" Winters in the sprightly resort town of Polson, at the lower end of Flathead Lake. Flathead Lake, gleaming among cherry orchards, at the foot of the snow-crowned Mission Range, is one of the beauty spots of Montana (page 707). Some miles from town we visited the superb Kerr Dam and power plant of the Montana Power Company, on the Flathead River (page 723). This dam has a generation capacity of 112,000 kilowatts of electricity and controls the water level of Flathead Lake between 10-foot limits. Built at a cost of 12 million dollars, the dam is attended by the men of only eleven families living in a charming settlement near the foot of the spillway. We drove up the east side of the lake through graceful cherry orchards and paused for the night at a rustic lodge at Big Fork on the northern end. The next day we were in the lively city of Kalispell, which has nearly doubled its population in the last ten years. Here Phil Kingston who, though born and educated in England, has become an enthusi ast for the romantic reaches of Northwest wilderness, took us to a mountaintop park from which we had an unobstructed view of 50 miles of matchless beauty. We could see the majestic peaks of Glacier National Park gleaming on the horizon. Where Ski Championships Are Decided In the afternoon we drove to the city of Whitefish and around Whitefish Lake, famous for fighting Mackinaw trout. A rugged road took us to the ski chalet on the shoulder of Big Mountain. Here in 1949 ski champion ships were decided on one of the most hair raising runs in the United States. To see a great lumber mill in operation, we drove through heavy forest to Libby. About 15 per cent of the Christmas trees sold in the United States each year are cut in north western Montana, and the little town of Eureka has been dubbed the Christmas tree capital of the United States. At the J. Neils Lumber Company in Libby we watched giant logs haled by machinery out of log ponds and put through the mills. Some were peeled, creosoted, and made into poles for telephone lines. Others were sawed into finished lumber. Of particular interest was one big mill where sawdust was compressed into "Prestologs," which burn cleaner and with more intense heat than coal. I watched thousands of these fire place logs tumbling out of the machines which roll them into rock-hard, shining cylinders. The next day we visited the site on the South Fork of the Flathead River where the U. S. Bureau of Reclamation is building Hungry Horse Dam (page 715). The tremendous project was well under way, and concrete pour ing was ready to start. On an observation platform hundreds of feet above the wide val ley we listened to a broadcast telling about the proposed structure, which, it is estimated, will cost $108.800,000. A large signboard near the eyrie held the announcement that the dam is to be a devel opment of Columbia Valley power. The Flat head River is a part of the system of streams that make the mighty Columbia.* Tired from many days on the highways, I came toward evening to the west entrance to Glacier National Park. Peace seemed to flow around me from the glorious setting as super intendent J. W. Emmert took me through fragrant aisles of fir and spruce trees and along the still, darkling waters of Lake Mc Donald to the massive structure of rough barked logs that is Lake McDonald Hotel. I stayed in the park four nights, one in the Lake McDonald Hotel, two in the Many Glacier, and one in the Glacier Park. To see the thousand beauties of this unspoiled Eden, I should have had at least three weeks, for Glacier is a place for hikes and saddle trips. There are more than 1,000 miles of well-kept foot and horse trails leading to the great soli tude where 60 glaciers have their source (pages 708 and 718). Mr. Emmert showed me around as much as possible in four all too short days. One morn ing we drove on a rough wood road far up Lake McDonald to a small tarn where a wild cow moose was wading near the sedgy shore. We stood on the porch of a ranger station at another time and watched through binoculars a flock of Rocky Mountain sheep high on a meadow above timber line. On a boat ride and hike from Many Glacier we were lucky enough to spy five magnificent mountain goats leaping from crag to crag a thousand feet above us (page 701). "Gertie," the Blond Bear, Back from Exile Bears, of course, were everywhere, and the park visitors as always were disregarding warnings by feeding and even petting them. "Gertie," the blond bear who had been de clared a nuisance, had been hauled away to a distant game refuge a week before my arrival. To Mr. Emmert's amused disgust, she was back at her regular stand the day we drove *See, in the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE: "Oregon Finds New Riches," by Leo A. Borah, De cember, 1946; and "Columbia Turns on the Power," by Maynard Owen Williams, June, 1941.