See maps of the North Fork NOW! project area:
In the Crown of the Continent (download pdf 105 KB)
In the Flathead Watershed (download pdf 109KB)
In the Transboundary region (download pdf 102KB)
The majestic North Fork of the Flathead River is one of one of the wildest rivers in America. Rising in the lush forests of British Columbia, its pristine waters mark the boundary of Glacier National Park and flow hundreds of miles to Montana's Flathead Lake. The Flathead is a vital artery of the 10-million acre Crown of the Continent -- one of perhaps a dozen places on the planet that remains a complete and functioning natural system. It harbors the continent's most magnificent wildlife; grizzly bears, Canada lynx, wolverine, elk and all the other plants and animals that flourished before European settlement isolated them refuges like the North Fork. The Flathead River Valley is also the heart of northwest Montana's cultural and economic vitality.
The Flathead's crystalline waters are threatened by proposals for mining and energy extraction. One proposal's for a mountain top removal coal operation expected to process more than 2 million tons of coal a year for 20 years --coal destined for Chinese steel plants. Coal mining in the adjacent Elk River Valley has dramatically increased pollution. Such operations on the North Fork would do damage for hundreds of miles of the river and surrounding habitat.
After years of debate and stalemate, a binational solution to the conflict has been reached to stop all mining and drilling the the North Fork. In November 2011, The government of British Columbia passed legislation to end all permits for energy development on public land. In Montana, 80% of the mineral rights within the North Fork have been voluntarily surrendered.
In order to secure this historic agreement, The Conservancy and Nature Conservancy of Canada, an unrelated organization, have committed $10 million dollars to help cover the costs of withdrawing mineral rights in the North Fork. We are counting on those who love this wild place to lend their support to our effort to raise these funds.
We extend a special thank you to Warbug Pincus, Mike Goguen, and Tom and Teresa Quinn for providing major capital support for this project.
PLEASE MAKE YOUR GIFT TODAY.
The Flathead River system is at the heart of northwest Montana’s visitor and recreation economy that supports a string of small, rural communities. It’s estimated that Flathead-related tourism brings in $300 million to the economy. A 1997 estimate pegged revenues from fishing on the Flathead alone at $4.7 million – and that was 18 years ago.
Nature Conservancy programs in Montana and Canada, and the Nature Conservancy Canada are among many partners working to implement this agreement and the larger cross-boundary conservation vision to protect the Flathead Basin and the greater Crown of the Continent.
Other agencies and groups involved in this effort, include:
May 02, 2013