Clark Fork River bottom

Christmas to me is always a time of reflection. I like to think back about Christmases past and what has changed and how.


Left: The Clark Fork riverbottom is reflected in the quiet water behind a beaver dam.




Another year has passed. The restoration of the rivers is in full swing. The Clark Fork was diverted into its new bed on the 4th of December in the upper end of Area V.  Most of the IIIb sediments are on the old tunnel pond site, safely away from the river. There are new dogwoods, willows and cottonwoods, and all manner of native plants in the ground waiting for spring to reclaim the river bottom land. 


Christmas to me is always a time of reflection. I like to think back about Christmases past and what has changed and how.  I think back a few years and remember being annoyed about the traffic backed up when the railroad switched cars into the mill yard.  Now it sits empty, quiet.  I think about the bustle of mill hands busy making lumber, steam belching out of the stacks at the boiler plant.  I remember the cry of the big Wagner shuffling logs around the log yard.  Now it’s all quiet and still.


I think back and remember the first years of Friends of 2 Rivers and putting on the public information meetings on all the aspects and questions regarding the Superfund cleanup. I think back on our first Community at the Confluence, gathering old timers and young, Native Americans and new comers to talk and share the confluence one last time before the cleanup began.  I think about that morning walking around cleaning up debris and garbage in preparation of the event and standing down at the edge of the cattails looking out on the water, listening to the redwing blackbirds singing, thinking to myself with a lump in my throat…“OK, make this harder yet, you little rascals!”  Later in the day as the speakers talked about the history of the area and the people and the wild life, I knew it was the right thing to do.


I think back on the first Hooked on Art event dedicated to one of our local artists, Walter Hook, and think about going through the Demmons collection of pictures trying to select ones to put on display.  I think back on how the people that came looked longingly at those old photos…picking out and smiling and commenting on those they knew.  I realized that we have a community very proud of its history.  Each year the event gets bigger and better.


I think back and realize how far we’ve come in the last 8 years.  There have been so many things happening in our community: the cleanup, new bridges, a community council, and the restoration that is now under way....


It’s going to be interesting in the spring to see those dogwoods, willows, wildflowers, and grasses start to reclaim the scarred and torn river bottoms. 


May you all have a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year!


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