January E-Views
Trail Updates, New Goals, and a New 20K for the 20th annual DFMI!
January 14, 2019 | View This Email as a Webpage.
While it is very slick on the trails, Prickly Pear Land Trust could not be on better footing for 2020. 2019 had some big victories for land protection, trails, and community engagement, but a large part of the year was spent getting in the position to greatly expand our work on outdoor education, stream restoration, land protection, and creating more ways to get folks outside. This year we resolve to grow our education program to reach more local students, protect key properties for wildlife and agriculture, improve the trail system in new and underserved areas, and complete the Sevenmile Creek Restoration project. All of these will help make our service area a more resilient and happy community.
Ice, Ice, Baby—Trail Conditions
Due to the freeze and thaw weather patterns we have had over the last several weeks, trails across the South Hills are incredibly icy. We would encourage all trail runners and hikers to don a pair of ice traction devices when out and about. Even if we do get some snow to pack down the trails, continue to be vigilant on north facing trails, trails under thick canopy, and trails on exposed ledges, as the ice will remain under there until this spring. Tenmile Creek Park has some mostly dry sections on the upper loop, but along the creek is still very slick. But please, continue to get outside as winter has some of the best views and night skies. Ice is just nature’s way of making us look around, and sometimes up!
New 20K Race added to Don’t Fence Me In Trail Run
Check out what PPLT’s Don’t Fence Me In team has cooked up for 2020! his year, in honor of the 20th annual 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.
Race Day is Saturday, May 9, 2020

  • 30K - 7 AM
  • 20K - 7:30 AM
  • 12K - 10:00 AM
  • 5K - 10:30 AM
  • 5K Dog Walk - 10:45 AM
  • Awards Party: 12:00 PM
Prickly Pear Creek Greenway FAQ—Get the Scoop!
Many have asked and PPLT has answered! We have gathered the most frequently asked questions regarding the Prickly Pear Creek Greenway project and answered them here. Whether you have had your ear to the ground for some time or are green to the Greenway plans, find out details on our website.

Snapshot: Prickly Pear Land Trust has been involved with the plans for the former ASARCO smelter site in East Helena since 2010. Recently, the Governor signed the paperwork that solidified PPLT’s partnership with other leaders of this conservation and recreation project. We are one step closer to making the Prickly Pear Creek Greenway a reality!
Tenmile Leash Zone
Just a reminder to everyone frequenting Tenmile Creek Park with their pet partners in crime, the lower stretch of trail toward the creek and along the creek are leash zones. If your furry friend needs a little more freedom, we encourage you to explore the northern, roughly 2 mile loop of the park. No matter what loop you’re on though, please ensure that your pets are under control, whether by leash or voice, and that you respect the boundaries of others, pet-owners or not. When in doubt, know you and your pet’s limits and communicate! We have received a couple of reports of folks having negative dog experiences and we want to make sure that all people (and canines) have a comfortable, safe place to get outside and enjoy the fresh air.

To make things easier, PPLT offers USA-made Happy Trails leashes for only $20!
New Merchandise!
We’re stocked! PPLT has all of your favorite swag, some new and some classic favorites. Stop on by the office at 40 W. Lawrence St. to check out all these items and show your support for trails and conservation!
  • NEW Hooded Sweatshirts - $40
  • NEW Kid Sweatshirts - $35
  • NEW Long Sleeve Tees - $25 
  • NEW T-shirts - $20 
  • NEW Socks - $10 
  • NEW Metal Pints - $10 
  • NEW Women’s Tanks - $15 
  • Hats - $20
  • Dog Leashes - $20 
  • Zip-up Hoodies - $40 
  • Baby Onesies - $15
  • Kid Shirts - $15
  • Growlers - $10 
  • Coffee or Beer Thermos - $20
  • Trail Maps including Tenmile Creek Park - $8 
  • As always, free Happy Trails stickers!
Into the Home Stretch—Brown Trout Populate Sevenmile
Though last summer’s insect invasion stole a handful of our newly planted trees at Tenmile Creek Park, the bumper crop of grasshoppers provided ample food for the brown trout now spawning and rearing young in PPLT’s freshly restored section of Sevenmile Creek. This last September, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks electrofished the Sevenmile site for the second time and found that the creek is coming alive. Adam Strainer, FWP’s Helena Area Fisheries Biologist, returned to four sections of Sevenmile Creek established in 2018 – two of the sections below the restored reach and two within the new channel. The results showed fish numbers were unchanged in the unrestored part of the creek, but there has been a significant development in the newly restored channel.

The restored channel saw only nine sculpin and no trout last year, while this year yielded numerous juvenile brown trout ranging from 3 to 4 inches, a fair number of adult brown trout ranging from 8 to14.5 inches, and many sculpin. Strainer explains that the difference is due to natural sedimentation and significant growth in riparian vegetation (aka: water plants!). The restored reach, he says, is officially providing new spawning and/or rearing habitat and adult trout loved the grasshopper feast. Fisheries data on the before and after populations help us better understand how fisheries respond to restoration projects and inspires us to continue improving our waterways!
Farewell Callie, and Thank You!
This next week, we say goodbye to Callie Schultz, our Americorps VISTA volunteer who led the charge in creating PPLT's burgeoning environmental education program over the last year. By leveraging local partnerships and reaching out into our community, Callie established a sophisticated environmental education curriculum with nearly one dozen lessons that meet common core standards and can be run almost entirely by volunteers. This program has been and will continue to be instrumental to local Helena youth.

To ensure the program’s success over the next year and into the future, Callie is spending her last two weeks training PPLT’s new Big Sky Watershed Corps member to take over. We couldn't have asked for a better marine biologist to establish an environmental education program here in the Rocky Mountains. We wish her all the best as she tackles new challenges in the Sierras of California—thank you, Callie!
Shout Out To You For 2019
PPLT staff owes a huge thank you to everyone who made 2019 such a strong year. Many of you committed effort and dollars to PPLT’s recreation and conservation efforts and we couldn’t be more grateful.

Here are the top 5 highlights of 2019 that YOU made possible:
  • Permanent protection of the LeGrande Cannon Trail. The iconic 90-acre property at the base of Mt. Helena was purchased in July and added to Helena City Open Lands.
  • PPLT’s recognition in D.C. among 10 community partner organizations nationwide for its work with the Army in creating community conservation projects on the west side of Helena.
  • Ongoing protection, monitoring and maintenance of 75 miles of trails in the South Hills, Tenmile Creek Park, and the 20 PPLT conservation easements that protect key habitat, wildlife corridors, and agricultural heritage of Montana.
  • A new outdoor education program connecting local high school students to the land with seven place-based lesson plans on everything from floodplain ecology and grizzly bears, to Native American history and land policy.
  • Revegetation of Sevenmile Creek’s most recently restored stretch and the design and funding to complete in 2020 the four-year, nearly-one-million dollar Sevenmile Creek Restoration project.

All of these projects put us on incredible footing for an even stronger 2020 with more land and people connections.
Please consider supporting PPLT through a donation or by joining Cactus Club!
This monthly giving program is the best way to sustain the work of PPLT. You won't ever have to worry about renewal notices AND you'll be supporting community, conservation, and recreation year-round!
Prickly Pear Land Trust | info@pricklypearlt.org | pricklypearlt.org