Sen. Obama On Record Opposing Cline Mine North of Glacier National Park

The headwaters area of the Flathead River north of Glacier National Park is considered one of the wildest areas of North America. Erin Sexton photo.

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has gone on record opposing the Cline Mine proposed to burrow into an area of pristine wilderness of British Columbia just to the north of Glacier National Park.

In an email distributed by the National Parks Conservation Association's Glacier field office, the senator's staff says the candidate supports efforts by U.S. Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester as well as Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer to stop the Cline mine.

The proposed open-pit coal mine, which has a projected 20-year life, not only could possibly pollute the headwaters of the Flathead River that runs south and and into Glacier, but might also jeopardize the ecological health of a rugged swath of wilderness that's a vital connector in the so-called Yellowstone to Yukon conservation initiative. The picturesque area is rich in wildlife, from grizzly bears and elk to wolverines and pristine fisheries of bull trout and Westslope cutthroat trout.

Montana's top politicians have worked for several years now to convince Canadian officials to add the headwaters area to the landscape protected by Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta and Glacier National Park in the United States.

In a recent letter to Canadian Premier Gordon Campbell, Governor Schweitzer called the Flathead "one of the cleanest and wildest rivers remaining in America," one that should be protected.