We’re back at it! Prickly Pear Land Trust is happy to announce that while our office will remain closed to the public, we are moving back to meetings outdoors and offline. As a result of the vigilance in our community, we are already surpassing last year’s efforts on trails and restoration. Our planned community events are shaping up to make 2021 a fond reunion for all community members.

Thank you to our public health providers, officials and volunteers for getting our community vaccinated, on track and ready to open our doors this summer. We cannot wait to see you all!

Photo Credit: Stephanie Witham

You’ve been busy! In 2020, despite the pandemic’s cancelling our spring workdays, Prickly Pear volunteers put up 400 volunteer service hours. In an average year, volunteers provide up 1400 hours of physical labor for the organization on the trails and in the wetlands. Impressive as that is, you’re doing more!

In the last 3 weeks alone, PPLT volunteers have reached 416 hours, 238 on trails and an additional 178 hours at Sevenmile Creek Restoration. Tim Lawrence, PPLT’s Trails Coordinator, has led a number of events with our partner organization, Montana Conservation Corps, training crew members and new leaders how to retread a handful of South Hills favorites -- widening, performing backslope work and improving drainage functionality. Blake Sexton, PPLT’s Community Conservation Coordinator, directed our straw wattle installation efforts to ensure the newly restored reaches of Sevenmile are buttressed against this year’s runoff.

The ditch digging and heavy lifting had a number of volunteers commiserating with the characters of Paul Newman’s chain gang in Cool Hand Luke. By this Friday we expect an additional 100+ hours at Tenmile Creek Park and another 70 at Sevenmile. 

Wattle We Do Next?

Volunteer and community events are regularly updated and can be found here. Grab a buddy and sign up today!


May 5: Greater Helena Gives 

May 8 - June 1: DFMI Trail Run & Trail Challenge 

May 17: Trail Work Day

June 5: National Trails Day 

June 21: Trail Work Day

July 15: 25th Anniversary Block Party

July 19: Trail Work Day

*PPLT volunteer events will be conducted according to social distancing protocols and will adapt according to County, State, and Federal guidance.

The countdown is on: less than 3 weeks until the start of the Don't Fence Me In Virtual Trail Run and Trail Challenge.  Have you formed a team, or are you going solo? Racing a virtual 5k or committing to a bigger goal, like hitting the trails every day for all 25 days? Foot or bike, or both? And don't forget there's Helena-specific Trail Bingo!

DFMI starts on May 8 and runs 25 days (to celebrate PPLT's 25th anniversary) until June 1. Join us and track your miles and elevation as you walk, run, bike, roll or take Fido along the trails, or race our 5k, 12k, 20k, and/or 30k courses. Do all four and make it a Quadfecta! You can compete by yourself or join a team for some friendly competition.  
“We’re making a business donation, because you guys ROCK and we love the Helena area trails. Thank you!”
-Big Sky Acoustics

Our partners organizing the Helena Valley’s International Migratory Bird Day are taking the 2021 event to YOU! Typically, the family-oriented event is held at the Helena Valley Regulating Reservoir, a popular spot for nesting Herons and a spot to visit for all of your dabblers, divers, waddlers and waders, pipers and plovers.

This year, due to COVID-19 protocols, there will instead be several events, in person and outdoors, virtual, and DIY/Self-Guided. There will be hikes, music, games, naturalist trivia for kids and adults, and even a PPLT-sponsored geocaching event, for the most curious birding families and individuals.

May 2: Bird Brewery Night at Tenmile Creek Brewery with songs and bird games 5:00-8:00pm

May 4: Kids Bird Trivia with Montana Wild, 7:00 p.m. Event online. Sign up at the Montana Wild Facebook page.

May 6: Adult Bird Trivia with Montana Wild, 7:00p.m. Event online. Sign up at the Montana Wild Facebook page.

Ongoing during bird week:
  • PPLT partnered with several groups to bring a new Geocaching event, with bird-related caches and stickers stored around the valley. Bird activity bags for kids and families are available for pickup starting April 25th at the Lewis and Clark Library Bookmobile, Birds and Beasley’s or Helena Food Share.
  • Montana Wild hosts live birds of prey every weekday morning. Find out more at the Montana Wild Facebook page.
  • A kids scavenger hunt is taking place on several trails county-wide.
  • Lewis and Clark County Bookmobile will have bird activities and books available all week.
  • For more guided hikes, bird viewing and information, click here.

Tim Lawrence is PPLT’s new Trails Coordinator - he’ll be the man on the ground helping Nate, PPLT's Program & Trails Director, and the trails program this Spring, Summer and Fall. While the trails are in relatively good shape, considering last year's marked increase in use, we can certainly use the help. The acres of our trail system as well as other open spaces, parklands are continuing to expand.

About Tim: Born in the sprawl of Chicago, Tim completed a bachelor of arts in history from Beloit College in 2012 and, days after, drove to Montana. Starting at Montana Conservation Corps’ Kalispell office, he worked three seasons as an MCC as a crew member and leader in Kalispell, the Great Bear Wilderness, Bob Marshall and Helena. The last three trail seasons found Tim working with the Forest Service out of Lincoln Ranger District, in the Scapegoat Wilderness. Off-season, he’s baked your bread at Park Ave. We’re lucky to have someone with a great amount of experience leading trail crews and conservation work across our part of Montana - Welcome Tim!


Need new Happy Trails gear as you tackle the DFMI trail challenge, a gift for your favorite grad, mom or dad? Now is your chance!

PPLT has limited stock that we are discounting through April 30.

Shop now for those special graduation gifts and don’t forget about Mother’s Day and Father’s Day! All items will be shipped. Store closes on April 30. 

Questions, email Rachel.
Shirts, hats, hoodies, cups and more!

Tenmile Creek Park is a community amenity that Prickly Pear Land Trust is happy to share with all user groups. As we have seen an increase in park usage and requests for special events, PPLT has outlined the guidelines for event use. Any and all special uses must be approved by PPLT.

If you are interested in using Tenmile Creek Park for any special use, private or public, please contact Nate Kopp (nate@pricklypearlt.org) on how to apply and to learn more.
Prickly Pear Land Trust info@pricklypearlt.org pricklypearlt.org