“Nature was in a kind and very thoughtful mind when she created Western Montana. She reserved for it much that was beautiful in her generosity, and in her thoughtfulness so arranged all that should be capable of the highest development by man.” -W.H. Smead
When early Missoula businessman W.H. Smead looked over the rivers and forests of western Montana, he saw a world of nature’s riches waiting for man to harness. This was the industrial age. And what was nature there for but for the conquering and profiting? We may view the Blackfoot river and the landscape around it as less resource for the taking as wilderness to behold these days, but the sentiment of the quote remains the same. Who doesn’t look up along the Blackfoot river and see that nature must have a special place in her heart for western Montana? Though the valleys and land have changed and been developed in some places more than others, the upper Blackfoot remains much like it was when W.H. Smead and his company first mapped the land. This might not be a throwback all the way to the 1891 when W.H. Smead first organized his State Lumber Company, but the song remains the same. These rocks are just a mile or so above the Russell Gates access on the Blackfoot river, and to me they represent the end of a great section of river- a sort of exit gate from the box canyon and all it’s glory. Blue-green waters, bright gold rocks, and some of the finest freestone fish habitat in the world. Here’s to keeping the beauty of the Blackfoot pristine for Missoula’s next pioneers and to a Throwback Thursday of the Blackfoot at it’s finest.
|When the Blackfoot runs green, the fish are happy. Let’s keep it that way.|