old-fashioned accommodation in Polebridge, Montana
Inexpensive and rustic accommodations since 1979
Our mission is to provide the best possible experience and create a sanctuary for all people without causing unnecessary harm and educate and inspire our guests with solutions to our environmental and social crisis.
“Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell“
~ Edward Abbey
“A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.”
Founder of The North Fork Hostel, John Frederick, dies
John Frederick, champion of the North Fork and a founder of the North Fork Hostel and the North Fork Preservation Association, died today following a long illness. John passed away peacefully, his final weeks filled with the affection, laughter and tears of friends, family and well-wishers.
Here is John’s obituary, written by long-time friend and North Fork historian Lois Walker. We’ll post additional information as it becomes available . . .
Long-time Polebridge resident and champion of the North Fork, John Frederick, Jr., passed away on November 15. He was 74.
He was born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1943, to John and Bettie Lee Frederick. He attended school in Marion, Ohio, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from The Ohio State University. He served in the U.S. Army from 1966 to 1969, stationed for almost two years in Alaska.
John moved to Montana in 1976, living first near Olney and then at Rogers Lake. In the fall of 1978, he and his former wife purchased a residence in Polebridge and converted it into the North Fork Hostel. He managed the Hostel with welcoming grace for nearly 30 years, providing comfortable and hospitable lodging for travelers from around the globe and a popular gathering place for North Fork events.
He was an ardent outdoorsman, hiking the trails and camping in Glacier National Park and the Whitefish Range, navigating the lakes and rivers of the area, participating in Mountain Man Rendezvous events, and supporting a wide range of wildlife initiatives and wilderness proposals.
In 1982, he founded the North Fork Preservation Association to advocate against paving of the North Fork Road and to promote protection of the North Fork River from proposed coal mining operations in the Canadian Flathead. He served as president of the organization for nearly 30 years. NFPA annual meetings became a fixture of North Fork summer fare, with interesting and educational speakers. The NFPA also supported extensive trail maintenance and fire lookout preservation in the Hungry Horse Ranger District, as well as preservation of the Kishenehn Ranger Station in Glacier National Park.
He served on the board of directors of the North Fork Improvement Association for many years. He was also a member of the North Fork Land Use Advisory Committee and a board member of the former Glacier National Park Associates. He served on the board of Headwaters Montana for many years, participated in the recent Whitefish Range Partnership, and was a member of numerous conservation associations and initiatives.
From 1983-1985 John authored a weekly column about North Fork happenings in the Hungry Horse News. He inevitably served as announcer for the eclectic and unpredictable Polebridge 4th of July parade and earned the well-deserved honorific “Mayor of Polebridge.” He was a long-time member of North Valley Search and Rescue, and also helped found the Polebridge Irregulars fire-fighting team.
In 2014 he received a Conservation Achievement Award from the Flathead Audubon Society in honor of his 35-year effort to keep the North Fork wild. He will be long and well remembered for his soft-mannered yet persistent personality, his wry sense of humor, his dedication to environmental consciousness, and his tireless efforts in the interests of wildlife and wilderness conservation.
He is survived by a sister, Bonnie Lee Hankey, of Harveysburg, Ohio, a brother Alfred William Frederick (Imaculada) of Tampa, Fla., and nine nieces, nephews, and grandnieces and nephews.
Burial will be at Woodlawn Cemetery in Columbia Falls. Announcement of a celebration of John’s life will be forthcoming.
Where to stay
Square Peg Ranch
Go backwards in time when you stay at historic Square Peg Ranch. The name Square Peg goes back to the 1940’s and possibly the 30’s. The owner’s name was Peggy Causey who was apparently quite a character – her children said she was a “square peg in a round hole”, hence the name Square Peg Ranch. (more…)
A large downstairs shared living room, a warm and pleasant, fully-equipped community kitchen and the spiffiest outhouses on the North Fork. (The interior art is interesting — look for John’s college diploma.) (more…)
Camping and Tipis
You set up your own tent and still have access to all amenities.
$20 + 7% tax per person per night.
For a little more plush camping we have a tipi available that sports a double bed but still has a dirt floor and lets you experience all the night sounds. (more…)
There’s something about this place that seems to bring out the best in people–I didn’t meet an unfriendly face in the whole week I spent here. (more…)
Bunks, cabins, tepees. This place had it all. We stayed in a tepee. Bring your own sleeping bag and fire wood. Although you can hire bedding if needed. (more…)
Located in the North Fork Valley just west of Glacier National Park, the North Fork Hostel offers guests a choice of accommodations in an old-fashioned, old world atmosphere. It’s a place to get away, relax, meet new friends and enjoy the beauty of Glacier National Park and the Flathead National Forest.
Propane lights brighten your nights (there’s no electricity in Polebridge). Although the area is off the power grid, the hostel has a small solar system and allows recharging of your devices during the power hour. A propane cooking range and refrigerators are available to make your food preparation easier after you have spent an exciting day exploring the area.
Visitors from all around the world enjoy our facilities. It is not uncommon to begin your day by having a fascinating conversation with travelers from other countries while enjoying your morning coffee.
All guests may use the amenities of the hostel. These include a living room, shower, and kitchen and refrigerator facilities. Bedding and Towels are normally not provided but can be rented for a fee.
Your friendly hostelmeister is Oliver. He has traveled the world extensively and understands hosteller’s needs. He is fluent in English, German. You can make reservations online, by email or give Oliver a call at the hostel.