Community briefs for Nov. 20

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Looking to spend Black Friday out on the trail with family and friends instead of in line? Whitefish Legacy Partners and REI Kalispell will host an #OptOutside guided hike on the Whitefish Trail on Black Friday.

The hike is easy to moderate and approximately 3 miles round-trip and will explore the cedar groves of Haskill Basin, ending at the scenic boardwalk at Haskill Lake. This event is free, open to the public, and is appropriate for all ages. Meet at 11 a.m. at the Big Mountain Trailhead on Big Mountain Road. Come prepared for the day’s weather and snow conditions. If needed, free snowshoe rentals will be available. To reserve your snowshoes call 862-3880.

For more information about this hike or other scheduled outings, visit or call 406-862-3880 or email

Writing contest

The Authors of the Flathead has opened their annual writing contest for all Flathead-area high school students, including home-schooled students. The deadline for submissions is March 13, 2020. The two categories are short story and poetry. Cash prizes are awarded. Short story first place: $400; second place: $300; third place: $200. Poetry first place: $300; second place: $200; third place: $100.

First prize winners also receive a scholarship to attend the Flathead River Writers Conference Sept. 19 and 20, 2020.

Submission guidelines and rules are available from high school English instructors and school writing centers, or on the Authors of the Flathead website at

Pray for Snow

The annual Pray for Snow Party at the Bierstube is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 30. Doors open at 7 p.m. with live music beginning at 8 p.m. Come raise a glass to Ullr in anticipation of another powder-filled winter. Enjoy live music with local legends Pedacter Project. This event is 21 and over only, and there is no cover charge.

Free SNOW bus shuttles will be running between downtown Whitefish and the Bierstube throughout the event. For more information, call the info line at (406)862-6560

Christmas trees

People planning on finding a Christmas tree on tree Flathead National Forest can purchase a $5 tree permit online or at a Flathead National Forest office in Kalispell, Bigfork, or Hungry Horse. Flathead National Forest is one of 13 national forests participating in the online permit system through Open Forest.

“I encourage families to enjoy an outing on the forest,” said Flathead National Forest Supervisor Chip Weber. “Finding the perfect Christmas tree is an important tradition for many, and the forest is an ideal place to spend a day in the woods and make holiday memories.”

Fourth graders are eligible for a free tree permit as part of the Every Kid Outdoors initiative by printing out an Every Kid Outdoors pass voucher from the program’s website, and bringing it to a Flathead National Forest office to exchange for a permit. Every Kid Outdoors tree permits cannot be obtained via Open Forest.

People should pay attention to the species of trees available for cutting, and take a moment to review guidelines to ensure that harvest activities improve forest health.

Christmas tree permits purchased online must be printed and are only valid for trees harvested from Flathead National Forest.

For more information about Christmas tree permits, please call 758-520 or to purchase visit

Driver course

NW Montana AARP will hold a drivers safety class at the Summit in Kalipsell from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Dec. 2. For a reservation, call 751-4500.

Christmas assistance

The Salvation Army will hold three final days of registration on Dec. 2-4 for Flathead Valley families to apply for Christmas assistance.

Apply at The Salvation Army Community Center, 110 Bountiful Drive in Kalispell. All applications must be submitted in person and must bring the following documentation:

picture IDs for person keeping the appointment; Medicaid Card or certified birth certificate for all household members; proof of low-income status for entire household, such as. letter from DSHS, grant letters, pay stubs from past 30 days; proof of physical address, such as utility bill, rental agreement, DSHS letter, statement from case manager.

The Salvation Army will register qualifying families for Christmas Assistance — food card as well as toys and clothes for each child 12 and under. Registration and number of recipients are limited, based on availability.

The Salvation Army, in collaboration with Toys for Tots, assists families based on donations from generous members of the community.

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Whitefish, MT 59937

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