portait of author john fraley holding a copy of his book entitled my wilderness life
Feb 16, 2023
Daily Inter Lake

Author Shares Wilderness Tales To Begin Speaker Series

The 2023 Wilderness Speaker Series features a range of topics with three engaging and super-knowledgeable speakers.

Events are held on the fourth Wednesday of each month in February, March and April from 7-8:15 p.m., in the Arts and Technology Building's large community room at Flathead Valley Community College. Events are free of charge.

On Feb. 22, John Fraley begins the series sharing tales from his new book “My Wilderness Life.”

As young men, Fraley and Terry McCoy were kindred spirits, drawn to Montana’s most remote, rugged, wild places. Tragically, McCoy died, and his wilderness dreams were cut short. Fraley went on to a 40-year career studying fish and furbearers in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex.

“My Wilderness Life” chronicles Fraley’s lifelong love of all places wild and his obsession with uncovering what happened on the August 1974 morning when Terry McCoy’s airplane crashed in what would become the Welcome Creek Wilderness.

Fraley was educated at the University of Montana and Montana State University in wildlife biology and fish and wildlife management, respectively. He worked for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks for 35 years and retired as communication and education program manager. He currently is an adjunct instructor in wildlife conservation at Flathead Valley Community College. He is an award-winning author of “Wild River Pioneers,” “A Woman’s Way West- In and Around Glacier National Park from 1925 to 1990,” “Rangers, Trappers and Trailblazers” and “Heroes of the Bob Marshall Wilderness.”

On March 22, Diane Boyd, retired wolf biologist for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Region 1 will discuss “What is it with Wolves?” Then on April 26, Tim Ryan, department head of Culture and Language Studies at Salish Kootenai College, will talk on “The Trails that Support our Ancestors.”

The Wilderness Speaker Series is a collaboration between the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation, Wild Montana Flathead-Kootenai Chapter, Northwest Montana Lookout Association, and the Natural Resources Conservation Management Program at Flathead Valley Community College.