Montana/Dakotas BLM hosted 11 National Public Lands Day projects this year – more than ever before. Volunteers of all ages showed up to pull weeds, plant trees, build fences, and pick up trash.
It wasn’t all work, though. Some organizers also took the opportunity to teach Leave No Trace principles or offer brief lessons on area history and wildlife. Volunteers at the Sheep Mountain Recreation Site wrapped up their work day by tossing atlatl darts at wooly mammoth targets.
All volunteers received a t-shirt, refreshments, and a one-time pass good for free entry to any public fee site managed by federal agencies.
NPLD is the largest one-day volunteer maintenance and clean-up effort on public lands across our country. This year, projects at 1,700 sites drew in more than 120,000 volunteers. Here is a summary of this year’s work in Montana and the Dakotas:
Photo courtesy of the Blackfoot Home and Community Club
Blackfoot River -- Missoula Field Office
In a large-scale community effort, more than 170 volunteers collected garbage from the bottom and banks of the Blackfoot River. The BLM joins with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the Blackfoot Home and Community Club in the annual cleanup.
Fort Meade Recreation Area -- South Dakota Field Office
In two work days – one in the spring and another in the fall – volunteers built a short trail, prepared a campground for the summer season, and cleaned up debris. Partners included the city of Sturgis, Sturgis Area Business Alliance, Marine Junior ROTC, and Black Hills State University.
Photo by Chris Nemeth
Sunset Mine Cabin -- Dillon Field Office
Montana Youth Challenge cadets applied wood siding to the outhouse to match the historic Sunset Cabin, and constructed a wood box to cover the propane tank. The site is used for administrative purposes and as part of the recreational cabin rental program.
Sundance Lodge Natural Area -- Billings Field Office
About 30 Boy Scouts and their parents worked to clear a mile and a half of trail and apply a layer of wood chips to the trail surface. Ten volunteers from the Montana Conservation Corps installed a new buck and pole fence and reset a gate post and walk-through gate.
Schnell Recreation Area -- North Dakota Field Office
This was the 10th NPLD event held at Schnell. Local volunteers have returned year after year to plant and care for trees; build picnic tables and benches; erect signs; and maintain the trail system. The Dickinson State University Science Club, the locally-owned Taylor Nursery, and area scout groups are longtime contributors to the site.
Storey Ditch Fishing Access Site -- Dillon Field Office
The BLM worked with local volunteers and fishing guides construct a jack-leg fence around the parking area at Story Ditch on the Madison River to restrict off road vehicle traffic.
Photo by Rick Hotaling
Galena Gulch Campground -- Butte Field Office
The Boulder High School Honor Society and Industrial Arts Club helped construct a new post and rail fence to keep cattle out of the campground. They also pulled weeds, cleaned up litter, painted picnic tables, cleaned out fire-ring frills, and re-seeded disturbed areas.
Madison River Clean-Up -- Dillon Field Office
The BLM partnered with the Madison River Foundation and Trout Unlimited to clean up trash along the Madison River.
Photo by Nancy Dahl, volunteer campground host
Kipp Recreation Area- Lewistown Field Office
Besides trimming branches and removing protective fencing from trees that had matured, they installed solar lights on the vault toilet and cleaned up the campground.
Photo by Mark Jacobsen
Sheep Mountain Recreation Site -- Miles City Field Office
Community volunteers erected a fence to keep cattle off a crumbling meeting hall foundation. They also installed barrier cloth and gravel to stop erosion near the reservoir spillway.