Montana/Dakotas

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White Sandy is BLM’s Newest Recreation “Jewel”

by Marilyn Krause, Western Montana Zone 

The BLM and PPL Montana co-sponsored a dedication ceremony for BLM’s newest campground on May 24. 
           
White Sandy Recreation Site, located on Hauser Lake about 20 miles northeast of Helena, features a cement boat ramp with ample day-use parking, camping spots for 30 families, a fish cleaning station, swimming area with shaded picnic tables, a group picnic site and administrative facilities.
 
Associate State Director Howard Lemm acknowledged BLM’s partners and announced to the crowd that use fees will be waived at White Sandy in 2007. Other speakers included Brian Schweitzer, Governor of Montana; Brad Spencer, PPL Montana Chief Operating Officer; Mike Waite from Congressman Rehberg’s office; Ed Tinsley of Lewis and Clark County; and Tom Reilly of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Each one congratulated BLM on the new facility and proclaimed that the site would be an asset to BLM and the people of Montana. In addition, representatives for Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester read letters of congratulations.
 
To conclude the ceremony, Butte Field Manager Rick Hotaling recognized BLM’s partners with appreciation plaques for their contributions and support.
 
Following the dedication, attendees were treated to cake and other light refreshments compliments of PPL Montana. PPL also offered tours of the Hauser Dam power plant facility.
 
Background of the project
Years of related work preceded the White Sandy Recreation Site opening. Outdoor recreation planner Brad Rixford worked with PPL Montana and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to acquire the land, complete planning requirements, develop a cooperative management agreement, and secure long-term funding through the FERC relicensing program for hydroelectric dams.
 
The Butte Field Office engineering staff -- Kent Satterlee, Lee Walsh, and Bill Gibson -- developed the site plans and oversaw the construction that took more than $2 million and two years to complete. 
 
At the same time, Butte’s recreation staff -- Brad Rixford and Jim Perkins, assisted by Jim Maloney and recreation seasonals -- worked diligently to get the site ready for use. This spring, landscaping needed to be completed along with installing signs, additional trees, a 2-mile drip system for about 250 trees, barrier posts, fences, swim area, dock installation, regulatory buoys, trails, picnic tables and grills – all this at the mercy of uncertain spring weather.
           
Completion of White Sandy was definitely a team effort with support from all areas of the Butte Field Office. Judging by the compliments BLM received at the dedication – it was a job well done!
 
BLM employees helping with set-up
Several Butte Field Office employees helped finish the site in time for the dedication and Memorial Day weekend.
Photo by Jim Perkins
Governor Schweitzer at the dedication

Montana Governor Brain Schweitzer acknowledged the contributions of PPL Montana and congratulated BLM on its newest recreation facility.  Photo by Marilyn Krause 

   Rick Hotaling speaking at dedication

 Butte Field Manager Rick Hotaling served as emcee for the dedication. Photo by Marilyn Krause 

 Cutting the dedication cake

 BLM Associate State Director Howard Lemm and Brad Spencer, Chief Operating Officer of PPL Montana, cut the cake. 
Photo by Marilyn Krause