Aaron Bolton

Aaron is Montana Public Radio's Flathead reporter.

The state is still caring for an unknown number of children removed from the Ranch for Kids in Rexford last month due to allegations of chronic abuse. Health officials removed 27 children from the private facility that said it provided therapy to children with severe emotional and behavioral issues.

Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks is proposing fishing tackle restrictions on certain sections of the Flathead River. The move is meant to protect westslope cutthroat and bull trout as angling pressure increases.

Tackle restrictions would apply upstream of the Teakettle fishing access site off U.S. Highway 2 near Columbia Falls.

During Sen. Steve Daines’ stops in Missoula and Kalispell Monday, he was asked whether he supports the Bureau of Land Management's acting Director, William Perry Pendley. Pendley’s past support for the sale of public lands concerns many, but Daines called that concern “overblown.” 

Flathead Lake continues to defy national trends as a healthy blue body of water that’s free of invasive mussels. That’s according to the director of the University of Montana’s Flathead Lake Biological Station, who gave his annual state of the lake address Friday. 

A multi-year court battle over the Glacier Loon timber sale in the Swan Valley will continue. The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals is now asking the lower court to decide whether the project needs to be reassessed under different regulations protecting grizzly bears. 

Two weeks after the state health department removed 27 children from Ranch for Kids in Rexford due to allegations of physical and psychological abuse, the private therapeutic facility has officially appealed the suspension of its license. 

Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks is looking to understand how widespread chronic wasting disease in Montana by stepping up sampling efforts with white-tailed deer this hunting season.

The initial detection of chronic wasting disease, or CWD, west of the Continental Divide happened near Libby in late May. Since then, five deer have tested positive for the disease. So far the disease has only been confirmed in wild deer in Montana.

The Flathead National Forest is now taking comments on how it should manage the three forks of the Flathead River. The plan, expected early next year, could implement user restrictions to protect fish, wildlife and the user experience.

The U.S. Forest Service announced Wednesday it is taking scoping comments that will help shape the new management plan.

Updated: 5:30 p.m., July 31, 2019 

New forest closures were announced due to the North Hills Fire north of Helena, which has burned more than 4,700 acres. 

The Forest Service closure includes the southern Gates of the Mountain wilderness boundary, extending south along the York/Nelson road to York. It also goes west along York Road to the forest boundary, then north following the boundary and Missouri River. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Tuesday that it officially placed grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem back on the endangered species list, complying with a 2018 court order.

The Fish and Wildlife Service removed Greater Yellowstone bears from the federal endangered species list in 2017, saying the population was distinct and that it no longer needed endangered species protections.

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