Bitterroot Gem & Mineral Club

Bitterroot Gem & Mineral Club of Montana

The Bitterroot Conglomerate JULY 2018 XXXV Issue 7

Mission Statement 

Our purpose is to promote interest and education in earth sciences namely geology, mineralogy, pale-ontology, the lapidary arts and related subjects. We also support promoting and ensuring the right of amateur hobby collecting, recreational rock hunting and the use of public and private lands for educational and recreational purposes related to the earth sciences. 

Presidents Column

  • Hello members,

 This has sure been a wet spring. Enjoyable, however our gardens are waiting for more sunshine. We have completed a full inventory with the transition of the sheds which wouldn't have moved along so nicely without the hard work of Bob and Darrell. I thank all the members who worked hard that day to make it a great organized success. Daly Days is an event that brings out the entire valley. It will be a wonderful time to talk to, as well as show our support for, our community. I will be volunteering for a spot at our booth and would love to see some of our members join me.   

 Our field trips have been a hit and miss event this year due to the large amount of moisture. I have listed the latest trips on our new website (, creating a tab just for Field Trips. As of this publication, our next field trip will be either July 14th or 15th to Snowbird mine.    We are discussing trips, museums, etc. to fund with some of the proceeds made at our annual show. We have had ideas so far of the Paleontology Department Tour at the U of M in Missoula, a trip to the Lewis & Clark Caverns, the Dinosaur dig, and part of the trip to Glass Butte in Bend, Oregon. We would love your input, whether at a meeting, emailing me or phoning your idea in. Please let me know what you would like to do with your part of the funds. Thank you! Doug Kleiger is back in town and will be giving a talk on Blackfoot River Jasper at our general meeting on July 10th. Our August 14th Program will be Kathy Meuchel demonstrating wire wrapping with everyone involved, won't that be fun!!   


Faith Farley, BGMS President   

Minutes from June 12, 2018 Meeting

Meeting open at 6:30pm with Pledge led by president, Faith Farley. 


May general meeting minutes missed getting in  the newsletter. Approval will postponed until next meeting.

Treasurers Report given by Wayne Farley. Motion to approve by Deb Strickland, 2nd by Darrel Coyle; approved by all.

Deb Strickland, the 2018 BGMS Show Chairperson, acknowledged appreciation of the help at the Show and with special plaques and honorary awards presented.   Deb made Certificates of Appreciation, thank you notes and feedback letters and distributed them to sponsors. Deb   volunteered to chair the 2019 Show. Darrel Coyle, Faith Farley, Beverly Gibson and Phil Connelly also volunteered to help on various Show committees. Folks interested in the  2020 chair should think about shadowing Deb next year. For the 2019 Show we will only use one building and perhaps fewer vendors. Kathy Meuchel suggested business card ads for next year and discussion was held regarding 2019 show sponsors. The first 2019 Show Committee Meeting will be held in September. 

Beverly Gibson gave the Show Treasury Report and recap of the Sign Up Genius.

Ed Kubu reported on upcoming Field Trips: Although it is not BGMS sponsored, the Puget Sound Knappers will hold a Flint Knap-In at Larry Creek  next weekend.    June 21st will be a Kids Club Rock trip to Gem Mountain. June 30th is the tentative date for Crystal Park. July 24th tentative date to Dillon mine tour.  A Trip to Lincoln is possible for September –  more details to follow at a later meeting.

A big Thanks to Darrell, Mark, Bob & Ed for moving the new club shed. Transfer of club property from the old shed to the new shed and a full inventory will be done on Saturday, June 23rd at 9am. Faith, Ed, & Nona have volunteered. Help is still needed to move rocks, etc.  Darrell & Bob Gibson will be there as well. 

Faith reminded us that the BGMS exposes and educates folks about the mission of our organization and helps to provide funds to go on digs etc. She is looking for ideas about trips and what we would like to do with some of the funds that have been earned. Discussion ensued re: Two Medicine Dinosaur dig.  Darrell suggested to check their website for addition information. Darrell also suggested the Paleontology Lab in Missoula and perhaps a tour especially for BGMS using MT Adventure Shuttles.  Faith requested more feedback and will host discussion at another meeting.


Presidents News: Faith reported on the American Federation of Mineralogical Society Large Annual show in NC April.  She reported that there were only ten display cases and only four were Competition Cases. There were no Junior Cases, no kids activities or kids tables. It seemed like a simple regular show and was told it was disappointing to the person who attended it from the NFMS, who again commented on our BGMS outstanding show.

The Northwest Federation has a lot to offer individual clubs. They have a Junior Leadership program which our Juniors can apply for money. They offer a NF Field trip we can attend; the next years trip is to South Dakota. Faith will keep us posted on what they are hunting   and the dates. They also have a Retreat where members can learn things, such as Cabbing, Intarsia, Silver Smithing, Faceting and many more workshops. This years' retreat is in Oregon and faith has the application for those who are interested. Faith wants to educate BGMS about anything that may be beneficial to us and will continue to communicate news from the NFMS. 

Faith attended the MT State Council meeting in Butte. The State Council is another link for individual clubs and have benefits for us. She volunteered to be the editor for their newsletter. They are going to work toward reviving the STATE SHOW which means, everyone in BGMS can participate. They are also working on a field trip for all the MT clubs to attend. This year it will be the Fossil Beds near Ruby Reservoir near Twin Bridges and tentatively scheduled in July. More information to follow. They are also investigating the thought of reviving the Great Falls Club.

Faith commented that she would like to see us communicate and assist other clubs within Montana. While there were once 24 clubs, there are now only seven. She asked that we have patience when things don't focus on what you personally think the focus should be. Please feel free to discuss with  her or one of the officers about anything you have on your mind. Communication is the key to continue our club in a happy and healthy manner.  Faith announced the following programs: Doug Kleiger will be returning from PA at the end of June and give a talk in July AND August. The July program will be about Jasper in the Blackfoot River. The other will be a program “Who Authored Adam Seybert's 1825 Catalog” (Adam Seybert was Americas first professional mineralogist and who's collection is in the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia).  Also in August we will have our very own Kathy Meuchel present a demonstration program of wire wrapping.    

Faith will talk a little about Amber and give a demonstration on hand polishing in September. She will have free pieces to use for all members.

Ed Kubu announced that he has pictures available from the last two shows and if you would like copies, please bring a thumb drive to the next meeting.

Ed Kubu announced that more volunteers are needed for Daly Days on July 27 & July 28th (Fri  and Sat).  Please contact Ed if you can help out at the BGMS booth.    

There is a an Art Contest for the 2018 National Fossil Day Stamp sponsored by the US National Parks Service.  This year's theme is “The Age of  Reptiles – More than just Dinosaurs.  For further info check online at

50/50 Winner was Beverly Gibson. 

Motion to adjourn at 8:00 by Kathy Meuchel; 2nd Harley Meuchel with approval by all.    

Minutes Respectfully submitted, Dar Williams   

Field Trip Committee: Current field trip schedule included in this newsletter. 

Program Committee: Check newsletter.

Scholarship Committee: Check Newsletter   

Show Report Sunshine Committee: No report. 

MT Council Report: No report N.W. 

Federation Report: Look in your Federation newsletter for Shows in the Northwest that you might want to attend.

For those that don’t have email. Current Field trip Schedule 

Saturday July 14 – Sunday July 15 / Snowbird mine (could be a 1 day trip but it's about a 4-6 hour drive one way) 68 miles Last 11 miles is recommended Jeep or Four-wheeler only very rough and narrow road.

Friday July 20 - Sunday July 22 / Challis Idaho / 3 hour drive 153 Miles

Saturday August 4 / Calvert Hill / East of Wisdom 3 hour drive 114 miles

Thursday August 23 – Monday August 27 / Sydney Montana / 10 hour drive 641 miles (first and last day will be just driving)

Drive time's and distances are approximate and from the meeting locations to the collection site. Our meeting locations are Super 1 Foods Parking Lot Stevensville for any trips North of Hamilton and The Park-N-Ride lot at the Junction of Skalkaho Highway and US 93 for any trips South of Hamilton   

Ed Kubu  (406)273-8265

Thunder Mountain Field Trip Sunday July 8th 2018 We will meet at the Skalkaho "Y" at 7:30am Leaving Promptly at 8:00am.  What to find;
Thundereggs. Here is a link to about what they look like most the info on the web I can find are about the ones from Oregon but the ones pictured here are similar Click Here. Last year some we found several buckets full of some really nice ones and there's lots more up there so we should have a good trip. The road is in decent shape and the gate is open so we can drive right to the collection site. Please note the area behind the gate is closed to most traffic, most of the year it is closed to everything except off road vehicles with a 50 inch or less width at the widest point (dirt bike, small to medium sized 4 wheelers and the like), currently the gate is open to allow full sized vehicles through for firewood cutting with a valid firewood permit, the area is closed to full sized vehicles for any other activities. The club has obtained special permission to be behind the gate with full sized vehicles as a group field trip ONLY on Sunday July 8th 2018 for the purpose of gathering Thundereggs. If you wish to visit this site on your own at another time you would need to park at the gate and either walk or take a off road vehicle to the collection site which is about 3 miles past the gate. 

We will leave the "Y" and head south on US-93 and proceed through Darby and turn right onto MT-473 (West Fork Road) (about 18 miles) follow MT-473 for about 25 miles to the painted rocks state park campground at the upper end of the lake for a pit stop and to re-group, we will then go back onto MT-473 to a left turn to the Alta ranger station (Hughes Creek Road) (about 4.3 miles), follow Hughes Creek Road about 1.1 miles and turn right onto FS-5685 (Thunder Mountain Road) stay on this road for about 10.9 miles to the collection site