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Spotted Bear F&G helicopter

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Weather Forces Wilderness Landing
Posted on Feb. 16 2005
By the Associated Press

HELENA - Two state wildlife employees and a Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks commissioner spent an unexpected night in the Bob Marshall Wilderness after poor weather forced them to land their helicopter at a remote airstrip, the agency said Thursday.

A winter view of the dogleg Spotted Bear Airstrip. Hungry Horse reservoir to the north.

The three men were unharmed and were brought out by snowmobile on Tuesday, the state Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks said in a statement.

Aboard the chopper were biologist Erik Wenum; Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commissioner Vic Workman; and agency pilot Randy Sindelir. The men were conducting the annual winter elk survey in the South Fork of the Flathead Drainage in the Bob Marshall Wilderness.

A sudden snowstorm on Monday produced whiteout conditions and high winds, forcing the pilot to land at the Spotted Bear Airstrip, about 50 miles south of Hungry Horse Dam, to wait out the storm.

They spent the night at Spotted Bear Ranch, and were brought out by snowmobile the next day.

On Wednesday, the pilot was able to go back in by snowmobile, and flew the helicopter back to Missoula.

(Note: The Spotted Bear airstrip is not located in the Bob Marshall Wilderness as noted in the article.)