Western Cultural conducted a class III cultural resource inventory in the summer of 2018 on approximately 5,475 acres of the Flathead National Forest in Flathead County, Montana. The survey was part of the environmental analysis for the Salish Good Resource Management Project and the Betty Baptiste Resource Management Project. The survey located four new sites, located six isolated finds, and revisited three previously recorded sites. The Flathead National Forest is in the early stages of planning for the two projects. While the specifics of these actions are not currently known, the survey was nonetheless proactively undertaken to assess the nature and extent of historic properties of the environs to better facilitate future project development and lessen potential impacts to cultural properties.
The survey located three new sites. 24FH1502 is a rock cairn that is Unevaluated for the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). 24FH1503 is a US Forest Service trail that is Unevaluated for the NRHP. 24FH1504 is a tin can scatter that is recommended as Not Eligible for the NRHP. 24FH1505 is a tent platform – hunters camp that is Not Eligible for the NRHP. The survey revisited two previously recorded sites. 24FH0065, the Gergen Creek barn is unchanged since it was originally recorded and it is recommended as Not Eligible for the NRHP. 24FH0466, spring board stump site, is considerably larger in extant that previously recorded and it is recommended as Eligible for the NRHP. The four isolated finds, an aerosol can, a crushed tin can fragment, a wire cable fragment and a truck tire, are Not Eligible for the NRHP by their very definition as an isolated find.
The survey revisited one previously recorded site. 24FH0019, the Baptiste Site which consists of Felix Baptiste’s cabin and grave site. The site was initially recorded in 1976 by two Forest Service archaeologists. In addition to the original site form, a National Register of Historic Places nomination form was prepared by the US Forest Service.
It is important to note that the 1976 National Register of Historic Places nomination form for the Baptiste Site was never been formally submitted to the Keeper of the Register. This created considerable confusion about the eligibility of the site. The original site form did not discuss the eligibility of the site. Western Cultural recommended that the site be formally listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Felix Baptiste’ cabin and final resting place are worthy of the recognition that is associated with formal listing on the National Register. Felix Baptiste, an early French Canadian fur trapper, is associated with the fur trade era in Montana history, a historic period that stretched from Saint Louis to Fort Benton and into the Rocky Mountains. Formal listing on the National Register would also acknowledge the role Baptiste played in the history of the South Fork of the Flathead River country.