Quarterly Steward

Winter 2009-2010


historic Zortman Guard Station

Restoration Work at the Historic Zortman Guard Station
by Alicia Beat, Havre Field Office, and Jody Miller, Glasgow Field Office
For well over a century the Zortman guard station in Zortman, Mont., contributed to this area’s rich history. Now, the BLM is taking steps to ensure the historic structure will remain for another 100 years.  The guard station was originally built in 1905, making the structure over 100 years old and eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. It is the only known standing historic structure currently managed by the BLM’s HiLine District Office.   [Read full story]  

beetles on a leafy spurge flower

BLM Hands Out Beetles for Spurge Control
by Mark E. Jacobsen, Miles City Field Office
Visiting Brenda Witkowski, BLM weed control specialist at the Miles City Field Office, one quickly notices the dried and framed weed specimens tacked to the wall near her workspace. They draw attention like a batch of wanted posters.  A particularly devious specimen is included in the lineup: leafy spurge.  [Read full story]

group looking at petroglyphs

Russians Visit Weatherman Draw
by Ann Boucher, MSO, and Susie Becker, Altai Assistance Project
September 25 was an international event at Weatherman Draw south of Bridger, Mont. Three Russian students and their interpreter went there with BLM archeologists and other local experts to learn about the area’s cultural sites and how they are protected and managed-- knowledge that the students will apply in their own country.   [Read full story

personnel remove fence from sagebrush

Youth, Local Volunteers Team Up to Help BLM Remove Fence
by David Abrams, Western Montana District
On a cool, autumn morning, Kelly Bockting looked across the sage-covered landscape at the Palisades Recreation Site and nodded his approval. The fence was finally coming down.
Along a bluff overlooking the Madison River, teams of volunteers and BLM employees were rolling wire into small bales and yanking stubborn posts out of the ground.  [Read full story]

BLM employees unload firewood

Hazardous Trees Turned to Heat
by Shannon Gilbert, Dillon FO 

Hazardous trees that had threatened the integrity of historical buildings in the Alder Gulch area will warm the homes of disadvantaged families this winter.  Several trees around the historical Christenot and Garrison mills in southwestern Montana were leaning precariously toward the buildings.  In late August, arborist Jim Hicks performed the complex task of felling trees without damaging the 1860s-era structures.  [Read full story]

Meeteetse Spires

Newly Acquired Properties Block up Public
Land and Protect Natural Resources

In early November, the Billings Field Office completed the first phase of a 560-acre acquisition of private land adjoining the Meeteetse Spires Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC). Located along the eastern slopes of the Beartooth Mountains about six miles south of Red Lodge, the area mirrors the same high scenic qualities of the Meeteetse Spires.  [Read full story]  

picnic tables line a road below the fire

Log Gulch Campground Gets Facelift After Fire
by David Abrams, Western Montana Zone
In early September, the Indian Trail fire burned across 271 acres of BLM-administered lands near Holter Lake.  Though no Log Gulch Campground structures were damaged, campsites and other portions of the campground area were burned by the fire. BLM officials closed Log Gulch on Sept. 10 in order to protect the public.  [Read full story] 

trash left by target shooters

Intensive Effort Transforms 17-Mile Recreation Area
Based on a report by Tom Allen, Member of the Board of Directors for the Public Lands Foundation
The 17-Mile area north of Billings has long been popular for target shooting. For many years, it was also dumping ground for everything from shell casings to refrigerators. Periodic cleanups helped, but it would only be a day or two before trash started piling up again. Users were unwilling to take responsibility, claiming that the garbage was there when they arrived.  The dismal pattern seemed destined to continue.  [Read full story]
students on rocks
Campfire Brainstorm Sparks New Partnership
by Craig Flentie, Lewistown District Office
Some of our best ideas come from the most casual of settings.  Not long ago several BLMers (Gene Terland, Stan Benes, Gary Slagel, Mark Schaefer and Wade Brown) went on an overnight site visit along the Upper Missouri National Wild and Scenic River. The evening campfire conversation was typical of such a setting and included weighty topics related to river management and recreation.   [Read full story]
team member erects a sign
BLM Access Team Addresses Public Need
by Mark E. Jacobsen, Miles City FO

The Miles City Field Office Access Team has addressed a series of access-related concerns on eastern Montana BLM land; the most recent was the Lone Tree project located about nine miles south of Jordan in Garfield County.  [Read full story]