February E-Views
Join Team PPLT, See the Trail Updates, and Become a TrailRaiser
February 12, 2020 | View This Email as a Webpage.
Hello trail enthusiasts! As this unseasonably warm weather has us thinking about spring, many of you might be itching to get the dirt on the Helena area trails world. Here is a look behind the curtain at what PPLT Trails has been working on during this "off-season". 
Nate Kopp, longtime PPLT Project Manager, has taken the reins of the trails program while the search begins for a new Trails Coordinator. With a storied history in trails and years working with all of our partners, Nate is keeping us chugging along this winter and can answer any questions you may have regarding local trails projects and PPLT—feel free to reach out to him at [email protected].
As part of our work, staff and board continue to meet with all of our trail partners at the City of Helena, Helena National Forest, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and MT Fish, Wildlife & Parks as we plan for the upcoming 2020 trail season. We’re attending meetings hosted by the City of Helena HOLMAC ( Helena Open Lands Management Advisory Committee), as well as those of Montana High Divide Trails and the Montana Trails Coalition.
As always, we’re following up on all the opportunities to bolster the city's open lands through protecting Mt. Ascension, adding land to Mount Helena, and, of course, maintaining Helena’s 75 miles of stellar multi-use trails. In addition to the ongoing maintenance and volunteer work days on the South Hills Trail System, we will also kick off work on the East Helena Prickly Pear Creek Greenway Project, partner with the Forest Service to tackle the long-awaited Brooklyn Bridge Trail, and add improvements—including a shade structure—to Tenmile Creek Park.
Let your voice be heard! Keep an eye out for a draft proposal from our friends at the BLM regarding a robust trail proposal in the Scratchgravel Hills coming sometime in February. They will be looking for public input and would love to hear from you. PPLT contracted some of the outreach efforts for the background on this project and are excited to see it moving forward. Currently, PPLT is not formally involved in this project as it works its way through the public scoping process. We will share more details as to how to weigh in on the proposal once we have them.
Finally, it's a choose your own adventure out there on the trails this winter with portions of the system covered in ice or mud, and others completely dry. Wear whatever it takes—mud boots, ice traction devices, or sandals—to stay outside and stay on the trails. Be prepared for any and all conditions, winter will keep us guessing!
Get Out on the Trails, for Work!
PPLT is on the lookout for a new Trails Coordinator. Join our team and lead the PPLT Trail Program with project development, trail work volunteer management, agency coordination, and more. We encourage anyone qualified, interested, and enthusiastic to apply.
Blake Takes the Education Baton
The Education Program keeps marching on! This last month, Blake Sexton, PPLT’s new Big Sky Watershed Corps member hit the ground running, making connections with both Helena and Capital High. Blake is taking on the program created by Callie Schultz, our wonderful Americorps Vista member, and is working to expand it to more classes. We are very excited for this next phase of the program as we go from training volunteers and creating lessons, to getting as many students out as we can to learn science and civics first hand. Blake will also be assisting Nate Kopp with our land management activities on both the Tenmile and Sevenmile properties. Let’s get to know him!

Blake has been livin' and lovin' Montana since moving to Helena in 2018 for a position with the Montana Department of Commerce. After graduating from the University of Michigan, Blake spent a short stint in D.C where he worked as an intern with the EPA to develop flood resilience tools for local organizations. Having wandered around the wilds of Wyoming and Montana during college, Blake jumped on the opportunity to come out West and create a resilience plan for the State of Montana. Blake looks forward to sharing his passion for protecting, enhancing, and exploring the outdoors with the next generation of Helena and East Helena as PPLT's education program lead. Outside of the office and PPLT's outdoor classrooms, you can discover Blake biking around town, scoping birds from the trails, and throwing clay on the potter’s wheel.

We always need more energetic outdoor education volunteers! 
New 20K Race added to Don’t Fence Me In Trail Run
This year, in honor of the 20th anniversary of the Don’t Fence Me In Trail Run, there is a new course added to the mix. If you’re ready to make the next step(s) up in your run game from the 12K, or you are interested in sailing through a different course, try out the new 20K route. Don’t Fence Me In has grown every year, and to show our gratitude, we wanted to add one additional way to have fun, explore the trails early season, and celebrate local conservation and recreation. Those who sign up before April 1 will be added to the raffle to win one of Patagonia's first place prizes. And don't forget, kids 17 and under register for free. Thank you for helping us plan ahead by registering early!
Race Day is Saturday, May 9

  • 30K - 7 AM
  • 20K - 7:30 AM
  • 12K - 10:00 AM
  • 5K Walk/Run - 10:30 AM
  • 5K Dog Walk - 10:45 AM
  • Awards Party: 12:00 PM
Happy Snails Celebration and Open House
Since the winter of 2018, PPLT’s Happy Snails for Happy Trails group has carved a path for beginner runners and those looking to explore the trails with company at a gentler speed. The group meets Tuesdays at noon at the Old Shooting Range Trailhead and you’re invited to join! Everyone is encouraged to run at their own pace and the routes are led by the Snails’ experienced trail leader, Martin Miller. This is a great opportunity to stay active through the winter or keep up with training for your Don’t Fence Me In course of choice.

For those interested in the group, you can learn more on the facebook group page OR attend the Snails’ winter celebration. The group is gathering at Lewis & Clark Taproom on February 25th from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. for beer and wine to celebrate the past year of the Snails hitting their stride. This will be a great time to meet other runners, buy the new Happy Snails T-shirts, as well as talk about the Don't Fence Me In Trail Run courses available. See you there!
Make a Mark on the Trails by TrailRaising
Show the world how important public lands, access, and the environment are to YOU! Montana’s outdoors are a vital part of each of our reader’s lives for one reason or another. And it is Prickly Pear Land Trust’s vision to make sure there is more of it for everyone, whether you’re screamin’ up the Powerline Trail, splashing around in Tenmile with grandpa and the kids, or you’re an elk on a conservation easement! Whatever your reasons, tell your friends and family why you support the outdoors and become a TrailRaiser to get PPLT across the finish line of our $10,000 goal. The TrailRaising program runs every year leading up to PPLT’s Don’t Fence Me In Trail Run , and each year we hear incredible stories about the exhilarating and healing powers of getting outside. We encourage everyone to join us on race day, but whether you come or not, you can participate in the fundraising efforts by creating a TrailRaising page and asking your friends and family to donate in your name. The only requirement is that you love open space and/or recreation. Be a lone wolf or run with a pack: raise funds for PPLT’s trail projects with a family team, co-workers or your trail buddies (two or four-legged). Individual donations have ranged from $5 to $250 and every little bit counts. Last year, we saw over 240 pledges on the TrailRaising page—you can help us get there!

To step up the challenge, if you raise over $350, you’ll get free registration, if you raise more than $100, you’ll get a PPLT South Hills Buff, and there are even more prizes for the Top Individual and Top Team TrailRaisers!
Hats off to Last Year’s TrailRaising Champs!
Last year, the top TrailRaising team consisted of three generations of trail loving ladies, Aven, Anna & Betsy. Altogether they raised about 75 individual donations totalling more than $3,500. Their inspiring efforts have boosted PPLT’s trail program year after year and this community couldn’t be more grateful for their creative and humbling dedication to protecting open space.

In addition, our top TrailRaising individual, Sarah Jaeger, collected over 35 donations on her own that totalled over $2,300 towards our trail program. Sarah has long been a PPLT supporter, board member, TrailRaiser, and all-around wonderful community member. 

Thank you to all of the individuals and friends that donated last year and helped us reach our $10,000 goal—Here’s to more in 2020!
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Prickly Pear Land Trust | [email protected] | pricklypearlt.org