Category Archives: Maps

US Forest Service map prices set to increase January 1, 2018

Hay Creek Drainage - West End

Hay Creek Drainage – West End

Well, rats. USFS map prices are going up. Here’s the meat of the official press release . . .

For the first time in nearly a decade, increasing costs of production, printing, and distribution are driving the need for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Forest Service to increase the price of its maps. Prices of USFS paper and plastic coated maps will increase to $14 on Monday, Jan. 1, 2018.

The Forest Service continually updates its maps and looks for ways to enhance maps. The Forest Service expects to shorten the revision cycle as cartographers continue to apply new digital technology to the map revision process.

The Forest Service is also working to increase the availability of digital maps. Digital maps for mobile applications can be downloaded here: Digital maps cost $4.99 per side.

There are three ways to order maps from the National Forest Map Store (NFMS):

  1. Online:
  2. By phone: (406) 329-3024
  3. By US Mail:

USDA Forest Service
National Forest Store
P.O. Box 7669
Missoula, MT 59807

In an effort to help offset the pricing increase for volume sales, starting Jan. 1, 2018 discount pricing will be made available on sales of 10 or more of maps of the same title. Discounted maps are only available when purchased through the NFMS.

The U.S. Forest Service is dedicated in researching, producing and distributing informative, accurate maps that can help improve the experience on America’s national forests and grasslands. Additional online resources that may help users enjoy the great outdoors:
Interactive Visitor Map to help you find great places to go and explore
Know Before You Go for tips that can help you enjoy the outdoors and be safe

Gibraltar Ridge and Weasel Fire – Road, Trail & Area Closures

Gibraltar-Weasel Closure Map, Sep 10, 2017

Gibraltar-Weasel Closure Map, Sep 10, 2017

This just in from the Flathead National Forest . . .

Media Contact: Janette Turk
(406) 758-5252

Kalispell, MT. September 10, 2017- The Gibralter Ridge Fire and the Weasel fire are burning in the Kootenai National Forest approximately 7 miles east of Eureka.  The east side of the Gibraltar fire has moved into the mouth of the Blue Sky drainage in the Whitefish Range.  The Weasel fire has moved near the Flathead and Kootenai forest boundary.  To protect health and public safety by keeping the public out of the active fire area, the Kootenai National Forest has closed a large area from the Whitefish divide to the west boundary of the Fortine District, and from the Canadian Border to Deep Creek. The Flathead National Forest has closed an area north of Link lake trailhead north to the Canada border and east of the Kootenai border.

The following NFS Road is partially closed:

  • A portion of NFS Road #114 (Trail Creek Road) from the Flathead National Forest boundary to the junction with Stoken Bridge/Foothills Road. To support these efforts the Flathead National Forest has installed a gate on NFS Road #114 (Trail Creek) and has closed NFS Road #114 from mile point 8.8 to 14.8, the boundary with the Kootenai National Forest.

The following NFS trails are closed:

  • Trails 19, 23, 114, 113, 22, 13, 28, 79, 11, 13, 106 and 26 from the Link lake TH to the north.

The following NFS area is closed:

  • Area from the Link lake TH north along the Kootenai/Flathead NF boundary to the Canada border

Forest fire fighting resources are supporting the fires listed above and are prepared with initial attack resources as needed.  For more information contact the Hungry Horse/Glacier View District at 406-387-3800.

Hay Creek area trails exploration

Debo Powers’ article covers our recent activity in the west end of the Hay Creek drainage, but I thought it useful to include some additional material here.

Here’s a map of the two expeditions Debo mentions. The red track is the Trail 3-Trail 26 survey conducted on September 13. In yellow is the route of the successful September 18 search for the Trail 26-Trail 14 junction.

Hay Creek Explorations

Hay Creek Explorations

Randy and I added about a mile to our part of the Trail 3 hike by spending some time investigating Hay Lake.

Hay Lake

Hay Lake

Here’s Randy at the Trail 3-Trail 26 junction.

Randy at T26

Randy at T26

And here’s a photo of the Hay Creek drainage from the west end that I took on an earlier expedition up Trail 26.

Hay Creek Drainage from West End

Hay Creek Drainage from West End

Moran Basin trails wrap-up: Trails 2, 4 and 14

August saw a lot of activity on the trails surrounding the Moran Creek Basin. See below for the GPS tracks. (The Trail 4 trace is roughly .25 miles short because I didn’t start recording immediately on the return trip.)

Moran Basin Trails

Moran Basin Trails

On August 11, we (Bill Walker, Jerry Costello and Bob Nelson) worked through the last of the downed wood and underbrush on Trail 4, encountering almost unrestricted ridge-top travel for the next half-mile or so. At that point — about 1.25 miles from the Trail 14 junction — we decided to carry our equipment out rather than continue.

We found a nice view of Cyclone Peak and Lake on the way back . . .

Cyclone Peak and Lake

Cyclone Peak and Lake

A couple of weeks later, Jerry and I went round the north and west sides of the basin on trails 2 and 14. The tread started to fade a little ways past the old Coal Ridge lookout tower. We took a photo at our turnaround point and called it a day . . .

Trail 14 Limit of Travel

Trail 14 Limit of Travel

The next step is to walk and identify those last little bits of trails 4 and 14, possibly with two groups, one going in from each end.

Trail 4: Track log from ridge top to trailhead

A bunch of determined individuals (myself, John Frederick, Amy Robinson, Dave Hadden and Debo Powers) hiked up Trail 4 in the rain June 26. We cached some equipment and showed a couple of folks who hadn’t seen it the final segment up to the top of the ridge.

On the way back down, I managed to get a reasonably smooth GPS track from the ridge top to the trailhead at Road 909. This completes the most essential part of the survey, since the remainder of the trail just follows the ridge until it intersects Trail 14.

See below for the Trail 4 track in context of the major nearby land features.

Trail 4 track from 909 to ridge top, in context

Trail 4 Track from 909 to Ridge Top, in Context

Trail 4: Waypoints complete to ridge top

John Frederick and I took a run up Trail 4 yesterday, June 24, with the objective of acquiring a good set of waypoints for the final segment climbing up to the ridge top. See below for the result.

Barring the usual handful of outliers, we now have an accurate set of coordinates running from Road 909 to the top of the ridge. This completes the important stuff. The remainder of the trail just stays on top of the ridge — no mystery there.

The red dots are data acquired in September of last year. The blue ones represent yesterday’s effort.

Trail 4 Waypoints from Road 909 to Ridge Top

Trail 4 Waypoints from Road 909 to Ridge Top

Trail 4: The missing link

We finally found the piece of Trail 4 that provides access to the ridge top.

Last Thursday, June 19, Dave Hadden, John Frederick and I headed back up with the objective of tracing the section along the ridge top back down to where it connected with the previously scouted part of the trail that ascends from its eastern terminus at Road 909.

Kudos go to Dave Hadden on this one. He arrived early, located the trail corridor Will Hammerquist stumbled across a couple of weeks ago, and traced the route all the way to the top of the ridge. He then did the route a second time for my benefit when I got there.

You can see the trace (black line) based on my camera’s GPS log below. It’s jittery, but the basic routing is clear: The trail segment climbs up a minor draw, makes an abrupt turn to the west and switchbacks up the end of the ridge until it reaches the top.

Trail 4 - June 19 Track

Trail 4 – June 19 Track

Bonus: I finally got a half-decent photo of the Calypso Orchids near the trail-head before they disappeared.

Calypso Orchids

Calypso Orchids