A MONTANA PBS DOCUMENTARY ABOUT SMOKE ELSER Our friends and mentors (and previous owners of our business), Smoke Elser and his wife Thelma were recently featured in the 2011 Documentary of their life and 50 plus years as outfitters, the people they have taken into the Bob Marshall Wilderness and their love of the …
A MONTANA PBS DOCUMENTARY ABOUT SMOKE ELSER
Our friends and mentors (and previous owners of our business), Smoke Elser and his wife Thelma were recently featured in the 2011 Documentary of their life and 50 plus years as outfitters, the people they have taken into the Bob Marshall Wilderness and their love of the Wilderness.
In 2010, Smoke, Connie and Mack along with our friends Dan and Richard took a special trip into the Bob Marshall Wilderness to learn the history, lore and explore “lost” sites. The PBS crew went along to capture the splendors, the stories and much more about the wilderness. This gives a firsthand perspective of how we conduct our trips and how it feels to spend time in the Bob Marshall Wilderness.
You can watch the 1 hour PBS Documentary at the following link:
Bob Marshall (1901-1939) was a man of many talents. The early forester, author, explorer, wilderness preservation pioneer, and Wilderness Society co-founder was an avid leader for the protection of wild lands and pristine landscapes. Marshall died at the early age of 38 from heart failure. In spite of his heart condition, he logged many hikes of up to 40 miles in a single 24 hour day. Before he died he was able to lay out the preliminary plans for the wilderness area.
In 1941, not long after Marshall died, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Henry A. Wallace, designated the 950,000 acres surrounding the South Fork of the Flathead(established 1931), the Sun River (established 1935), and the Pentagon (established 1933) as Primitive Areas (later to become Congressionally designated Wilderness Areas). To honor the memory of the man who fought so valiantly to protect the area, it was officially named the Bob Marshall Wilderness on September 3, 1964, when Congress passed the “The Wilderness Act”. The “Bob” has received constant protection under this Act ever since and is a part of the National Wilderness Preservation System.
The shear diversity and beauty of the wildlife and landscape for a start. The spine of the Continental Divide runs from almost 60 miles within the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex which is made up of the Great Bear, Scapegoat and the Bob Marshall Wilderness areas. The “Lewis Overthrust” is a huge escarpment d called the Chinese wall which extends for over 20 miles, and provides breathtaking scenery. Elevations in the complex range from 4000 to just over 9000 feet in elevation.
The rivers and streams of the Bob are nothing les that spectacular. To the north are the Middle and South Forks of the Flathead River. To the east are the North, West and South Forks of the Sun River. On the southern end of the complex is the North Fork of the Blackfoot River. Smaller streams and tributaries feed these major drainages throughout the “Bob”. Native wild Bull Trout and Cutthroat trout, along with Rainbow Trout make this an angler’s paradise.
No surprise is the native wildlife that is still found in this critical habitat. The grizzly bear still roams the mountains here as they have for eons of time and shares the landscape with the wolf. The Canada Lynx and Bobcat make their home here as well. High in the mountains are the Big Horn Sheep and Mountain Goats along with the wolverine and Pika. Spread throughout the “Bob” is Whitetail and Mule Deer. Elk and Moose are abundant throughout the area. Many forest carnivores such as Fisher, Marten and Weasels live in the timbered mountain slopes. The birds of the “Bob” to name a few include Eagles, falcons, hawks and owls. Grouse, woodpeckers, Steller’s Jays, Clark’s Nutcrackers, nuthatches, chickadees and many more can also be observed.
But what is the best of all is the big beautiful sky and the awesome starry nights. You really want to see all of this!
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