Happy Memorial Day!
Thank you Veterans – we appreciate all the men and women (and their families) who have worked hard to protect our freedom. And we especially want to take this time to remember those who have lost their lives in service; we are grateful. If you are in Missoula, please stop by the beautiful ‘Rose Park’ – Vietnam, WWII & Korean Memorials (Brooks Street)
Now continuing our travels; we find ourselves back (just past East Missoula) where we take the Bonner exit, cross over the Clark Fork River and begin to head North along the Blackfoot River; where the famed “A River Runs Through It” from author Norman McLean was conceived. The beauty and ruggedness of this canyon is still enthralling. Watch for Mountain Sheep along the high, jagged rocks. But after several miles, this narrow, rugged terrain drastically changes, yet again, and opens up into a wide valley known as the ‘Potomac’. There is a small convenience store, restaurant and school here. We again continue northeast, and now begin to look for our main point of reference, for our next turn off. Turn left at the big Bull. Yup, left at the Bull (an enormous cow statue). This is Clearwater Junction where continuing north brings us eventually to Great Falls. But now we turn left and head west. Watch for Elk along the right side of the Highway as you go pass the grasslands, but soon the road enters the forest again (please remember and drive cautiously as this area has an enormous deer population that are very hard to see beside the road, especially at dawn, dusk and after dark; widely known as “deer-thirty”) and we are greeted by the placid waters of Salmon Lake, from around the bend and a few miles ahead lies the town of Seeley, beside the lake of it’s namesake. This bustling little town in midsummer makes the town size close to 6000, but is reduced to about 1/2 that when the deep snows and cooler temperature of winter arrives. This is when jet skis and boats give way to snow mobile enthusiasts, with races being held right on the lake. A 9-hole golf course just South of Seeley Lake adds a new form of recreation. This entire area, the ‘Swan Valley’ is a hiker, equestrian and fishermen’s paradise with countless trails into the ‘Bob Marshall Wilderness’ to the east and the ‘Mission Mountain Wilderness’ to the west. Dotted with hundreds of mountain lakes and endless streams, teeming with trout, these vast recreation playgrounds remain very much the same as they appeared before white men ever ventured into this primitive land. Besides these incredible wilderness areas, there is a large portion of this part of the State, that is National Forest and State lands, as is the case with much of Western Montana. These lands (as well as those land grant parcels, given to the Rail Road years ago) have been managed by Plum Creek (the timber subsidiary of Burlington Northern) who maintain these areas of public access for many recreation activities. With less than 10% of the valley in private ownership, a very few larger tracts are ever available for sale, and values tend to be slightly higher than some other areas. However, the breath-taking vistas and countless recreation opportunities make this a very attractive area. If you do plan to enter the ‘Bob’ – remember that this is a true wilderness area. Pack accordingly and with safety in mind. This is land that is ‘untouched’ by man and is home to deer, elk, grizzly bear, mountain lion, brown/black bear and many other species of wildlife. The ‘Bob’ is isolated by a long stretch of mountains referred to as the ‘Great Wall’. This range limits access (only by hiking and horse trails) to the wilderness and allows for spectacular views and nature in its purest form. The entire ‘Swan Valley’ seems to be beautiful mountain views with easy access to lake after lake. From ‘Salmon Lake’ to ‘Seeley Lake’ to ‘Lindbergh Lake’, ‘Holland Lake’, ‘Lake Alva’, ‘Placid Lake, ‘Lake Inez’, ‘Swan Lake’ and the ‘Clearwater River’ – the water recreation activities are limitless. There is nothing finer, than spending a hot summer day up the ‘Swan’, on a cool mountain lake that is surrounded by pine trees and fantastic views or beside a bubbling stream amid green ferns in the cedar pines of a Montana rain forest. Our 2016 bare land listings near Bonner & Potomac: http://www.stelling.net/property/freedom-forest/ and http://www.stelling.net/property/potomac-privavcy/ and http://www.stelling.net/property/creekside-recreation/