As we emerge from life on lockdown and begin to explore our summer surroundings through the prism of a pandemic, rallying for even the most routine activities requires an additional layer of planning and preparation. Perhaps it’s as simple as adding a mask and a bottle of hand sanitizer to the inventory of picnic-packing supplies, or tweaking travel logistics to accommodate the new norm of social distancing.
Either way, denizens of Northwest Montana are made of hardy stock, accustomed to the forces of nature bearing down at inopportune times, and adapting in the face of adversity.
To that end, the Flathead Beacon’s annual Outdoors Issue features tips on how to navigate the summer safely while still having fun.
Essential Outdoors Apps
Smartphone apps to enhance your wilderness ventures this summer
By Micah Drew
An outing into the wilderness was once lauded as a chance to break ties with civilization and technology. Now, the latter is as much a part of the journey as the year-old Clif Bar hidden at the bottom of a backpack — it’s not exactly what you want to be looking at on a mountaintop, but it can enhance the experience.
In addition to the essential camera, a smartphone can be configured for a host of outdoor-oriented uses. Here are some of the essential apps that, depending on your activity, could be helpful this summer.
Crowds Flock to Glacier Park
Going-to-the-Sun Road will remain closed above Avalanche over Fourth of July holiday; east entrances will be inaccessible for 2020 season
By Maggie Dresser
Ever since Glacier National Park reopened its gates to the public in early June, locals and tourists have gradually begun flocking to the West Glacier entrance following a two-month closure.
Passion for the Mission
Two Bear Air Rescue’s Chief Pilot Jim Bob Pierce has flown dozens of life-or-death operations to rescue stranded adventurers, all with the memory of a deadly avalanche never far from his mind
By Andy Viano
There’s a day that Jim Bob Pierce sometimes thinks about when he pilots Two Bear Air Rescue’s Bell 429 helicopter skyward before swooping down to put an end to the worst day of someone’s life.
The day is New Year’s Eve 1993, and it remains one of the darkest Pierce has ever had.
Paddles Up Flathead
Options for river and lake trips to beat the summer heat
By Micah Drew
Every year, boaters, floaters, swimmers and whitecap skimmers take to the waters of Northwest Montana. And sure, chugging around in a pontoon boat or firing up the motor to drag around water skiers can be a great source of summer solace, but nothing really beats bonding with the water by wielding a paddle.
Between the hundreds of lakes dotting the region and the alternating rapids and drifts of the Flathead River, it’s easy to find a watery surface to ply your paddle.
Science in the Crown
Glacier National Park’s Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center announces 2020 programs
By Tristan Scott
Viewed through the prism of research, Glacier National Park is a vast learning laboratory spanning more than a century of discovery, its lessons touching on everything from lichen to lynx, as well as the geomorphic layers that encompass the park’s 1 million acres.