Accessibility challenges inspire Pompeys Pillar video series

Story by Jaime Tompkins, State NLCS Program Lead, Montana/Dakotas State Office 

Among the many challenges presented in 2020 were accessibility issues at Pompeys Pillar National Monument. Not only was the visitor center closed due to health restrictions, but the boardwalk to Clark’s signature and the top of the Pillar was closed due to instable rock formations. 

Pompeys Pillar National Monument in the snow
Accessibility challenges inspired a series
of educational videos about Pompeys
Pillar National Monument.
Photo by Ann Boucher

Lead Interpretive Ranger Anna Arsic began her position at PPNM in March 2020, shortly before the visitor season would have kicked off – in a “normal” year. She worked tirelessly to adapt to the closures and provide creative approaches to program delivery. Anna recently received the BLM's 2020 Inspirational Interpretation and Resource Education (INSPIRE) Award for her creativity in adapting interpretive programming to work around severely limited public access to Pompeys Pillar National Monument.  

Anna engaged partners and BLM staff to develop innovative ways to bring the Pillar to the public without compromising public safety. She coordinated efforts with resource specialists, public affairs staff, and the Pillar’s seasonal workforce to produce short videos that meet BLM’s educational standards and leave the audience wanting more!  

State Office Public Affairs Specialists Sarah Holm and Colby Neal played key roles in this effort. They each made numerous trips to the Pillar to acquire video and invested numerous hours editing the raw footage to produce the amazing videos.  

This video series increases the BLM MT/DKs ability to reach the public during a time with unprecedented demand for virtual learning opportunities. They are being utilized as an educational tool by our partners including the Billings Public Library and surrounding schools for children and family. Each video engages the viewer in a way that leaves them with a greater understanding of what the Monument has to offer, the special resources it protects, and the efforts being made to preserve those values as an enduring public resource. Feedback and responses from our partners and overall public has been overwhelmingly positive. 

Rangers at Pompeys Pillar National Monument
Pompeys Pillar National Monument
Rangers Clare Jurczak, Anna Arsic and
Danielle Theis appeared in the series of
videos about Pompeys Pillar National

Check out the videos: 

Welcome to Pompeys Pillar!

Wildlife of Pompeys Pillar National Monument (for kids)

Evidence of the Past at Pompeys Pillar National Monument:  

Rock Stabilization at Pompeys Pillar