Flathead from Space
North Fork Coal

North Fork Coal Overview Map & Archive

Old North Fork Coal website and more maps.

2 January 2007, note on maps. In 1998, when the environmental community was slow out of the blocks in responding to renewed interest in developing the giant coal deposit near the confluence of Howell and Cabin Creeks in the Canadian North Fork, I built a quick and dirty website to provide access to information, especially maps, on the proposed mine. The maps are improved versions of the maps found in the report on the Flathead River reference issued by the International Joint Commission. More detailed maps have been produced since that time, but the coal hasn't moved, so the maps in this archive still have utility.

To the everlasting shame of Montana and the U.S., no agency -- not the Flathead Basin Commission, not the State of Montana (including its universities), not any Federal agency, not any private organization -- has produced and placed in the public domain a detailed set of maps of the Flathead Basin and its critical adjacent environs; maps displaying the topography, hydrology, mineral resources, biological resources including vegetative cover, special designations, and cultural features. At one time, this would have been a prohibitively expensive effort. But with modern GIS systems, a GIS savvy cartographer -- and there are many in Montana -- could produce this set of basin-wide maps in under a month. The data are available (and with few exceptions, in the public domain). And the funds are available. What is lacking is the vision and will to produce the maps; which leaves us with an oddball collection of maps produced for narrow purposes. These maps are better than nothing, but they are not what is needed to educate decision makers (elected and appointed), opinion leaders, and the general public, on the resources of the basin and the threats to it.

Map, produced in 1998. High resolution version of the map below. Shows B.C. North Fork, coal leases, wells, site of proposed Cabin Creek mine. JPEG, 452 Kb, intended for screen display or printing on an inkjet printer.

Map, publication resolution (300 ppi). TIF, 1.8 Mb zipped. Mac users can extract with Stuffit Expander. PC users can use WinZip.

PDF, 288 Kb, produced in 1997. The map is not as current as the 1998 map. Page two is a description of the proposed Cabin Creek mine.

North Fork Coal Map