While I was growing up, my dad worked for the National Bison Range in Moiese, Mont., which sits in the center of the Flathead Indian Reservation and was established in 1908.
The National Bison Range consists of 18,766 acres and is home to more than just bison. Also living there are elk, mule deer, white tail deer, ducks, bighorn sheep, black bear, antelope, hawks, coyote, ground squirrels, blue birds, geese, and eagles to name a few. While being a child of an employee there, we had the opportunity to get onto the unbeaten paths and see the animals up close and personal.
“High Point” sits at the very top of the visitors 19 mile drive. From this advantage point you can look out at the incredible Mission Mountain Range, view the Flathead River, and if you have been lucky enough to remember your binoculars, you can spot many animals off in the distance. The range is full of native grasses like Palouse prairie, Idaho Fescue, bluebunch wheatgrass and prairie junegrass.
The forests on top consist of Ponderosa pine and Douglas Fir. The lower areas have black cottonwood, and my favorite Rocky Mountain Juniper.
When I think of all the wonderful times that I had exploring this great land with my dad and seeing the beauty that it beholds, I am so grateful for the ability to have had nature right at my fingertips.
One summer in particular a small group of New York City kids were brought out to be a part of the game reserve that was farther north than the Bison Range. These kids were to experience nature and would be working to improve part of the game reserve. These kids had never seen a real horse, which was the mode of transportation in order to get into some of the backcountry, and never seen barbed wire fencing. They had not seen moose, deer, eagles, bison, or even been exposed to dirt roads. This was such an eye opener for me. I thought of how sheltered these kids were and how very lucky I was.
I often think of these New York City kids when I look out and see an Eagle gracefully soaring in the sky searching for its prey. I wonder if their time spent in western Montana one summer changed the course of their lives. I surely hope it did.
Our featured book this week is Lords of the Air by Jake Page and Eugene S. Morton. This book features many different species of birds along with the Eagle. It is full of spectacular color photos that will have you turning the pages in wonder.
Come on up to the Henning Library on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 3:30-5:30 p.m. and let us help you find just the right book for your enjoyment.