July E-Views
The Summer Sprint
July 10, 2020 View as Webpage
The greener the setting, the more the relief .” - Richard Louv

We are in a mad dash at Prickly Pear Land Trust. Between increased trail use, visitors to the state, economic uncertainty, and all the efforts to keep folks outside and out of risky contact with one another, PPLT is running at maximum capacity. While we have more projects and more demand than what a little land trust might normally be able to handle, we have an incredible base of financial supporters, business partners, agency partners, and volunteers that are helping us rise to the challenges of today. So whatever it is that you seek in the outdoors, fun, relief, exercise, meditation, adventure, or just a nice drive, the Prickly Pear community is expanding our greener settings.

Photo Credit: Kevin League

Sneak Peak
Following last year’s successful purchase and transfer of the LeGrande Cannon Trail property to public hands, Prickly Pear Land Trust is in negotiations to purchase and donate an additional 54 acres of forest land to be added to our beloved Mt. Helena. The property is surrounded by public lands on three sides and has the potential to bolster fire protection and recreational opportunity on Helena City, Forest Service, and Montana State Trust lands. Well maintained, thinned, and treated regularly for noxious weeds, the property will require minimal maintenance by the City. On top of it all, protecting these hillsides and meadows secures an important winter cover corridor for elk, black bear, and mountain lion. For more details, check out the recent Helena Independent Record article here .

Scratchgravel Hills Recreation Plan Released
On June 24th the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Butte office released the preliminary Environmental Assessment (EA) and Recreation Area Management Plan (RAMP) for the 5,500-acre Scratchgravel Hills unit northwest of Helena. It is open for public comment until August 7th. If you would like to provide comments they can be mailed to: 

BLM – Butte Field Office
Attention: Scratchgravel Hills RAMP
106 N. Parkmont
Butte, MT 59701

Emailed to Brad Colin, Outdoor Recreation Planner, at [email protected] .

The plan in its entirety can be found on the BLM website here .
Potter Ranch to Provide Habitat, Food Security, and Wild Legacy Out Our Back Door

Two years in the making and the Potter Ranch Project is now open for public comment. With the help of Prickly Pear Land Trust, the Potters last week brought their conservation easement before the Lewis and Clark County Commissioners who voted unanimously to open up a 30-day public comment period on whether or not to fund the project. 

“Perpetuity” is a big word. And when it comes to protecting a chunk of ground and the associated habitats, water and wildlife, doing it for perpetuity is a big task. For the last couple of years, Prickly Pear Land Trust staff and the Potters have had meetings in the office and out on the ranch to hammer out just how to make sure the ranch, and all its springs, forests, grasslands and farmland remain wild and free from development and mining. It is a taxing and personal process, but the end result will mean the Potter property will benefit our community for perpetuity .

To help fund the project, the Potters are making a substantial donation of their real estate and PPLT applied for funding from the Open Space Bond. Passed in 2008 by residents and taxpayers of Lewis and Clark County, the bond seeks to fund key land projects that protect the things that make us proud to call our corner of Montana home--rugged hills, elk habitat, natural springs, and stands of ponderosa pine.

At 3,100 acres, this project contains more acreage than the last three properties funded by the bond combined and less than half the cost. For reference Tenmile Creek Park is ~180 acres. It’s a killer deal. And it can be seen everyday from Helena and East Helena. If passed, the Potter Easement will be a visible reminder of the foresight of our community in protecting our most iconic landscapes.

BUT, we’re not there yet. We need you to voice your support to the County Commissioners. Be sure to include your name, L&C County address, and why you support the project and send it to [email protected] , or to PPLT at [email protected] by the end of the month. 

Photo Credit: Kevin League

Happy Weeding
With plentiful rain and sunshine comes beautiful flowers, but also unwanted noxious weeds. There have been signs of independent weed control efforts on the trails in the past few weeks, and while we appreciate the initiative and volunteerism it is important that people dispose of weeds safely. Join PPLT on an informational journey to learn about what weeds you all can help with, how to help, and what weeds to avoid.  

Click below to view PPLT’s weed education video.

If you spot large patches of weed on city land please notify [email protected] . It is helpful if you provide a GPS pin and photo along with the description of the weed patch. 

Meet PPLT’s Mask Ott

Summer is heating up and so are the trails. Be kind to your fellow trail users and abide by the CDC recommendations while you enjoy the sun!

  • Stay at least 6 ft. apart 
  • When others approach please step off the trail, but please do not continue to hike, run, or bike off trail 
  • Bring your mask and wear it as you pass other users
  • Looking for a custom Happy Trails Buff? PPLT has a few left. Contact the PPLT office to claim yours before we run out at 406-442-0490. Buffs are $20 each.
  • Meet your hiking and biking buddies at the trailhead and limit carpooling to your household members only
Successful Don’t Fence Me In Is “Virtually” Over
Every step of the way. Every turn of the pedals. Every early morning, soggy afternoon or evening into the sunset…sneakers tied, leashes on, or babies tucked into strollers, we walked, ran and rode for this beloved spring event celebrating our community, local trails, and our connection to them. The 20th Annual Don’t Fence Me In was a special one. Thank you to everyone who kicked off the season with us and gave us your all in the new virtual challenge format. We had a total of 846 participants who ran, walked and biked 73,802 miles!

For two decades, our sponsors have played a vital role in building this legacy together with Prickly Pear Land Trust. A big thanks to our presenting sponsor, Intrepid Credit Union, and to each and every company, establishment, and family business who helped make DFMI 2020 a success. 

Another long standing pillar of DFMI is our TrailRaisers . For years, individuals in this community have helped fundraise for PPLT during DFMI. Every single person, child, or pup has their own reasons to support PPLT—whether they use the trails to get or stay in shape, walk the park for sunshine and fresh air, enjoy learning about the efforts to protect bird and elk habitat, or just love the opportunity to do some real work on our service days. To each of you who fundraised for PPLT by asking their family, friends, neighbors and colleagues to donate in their name- THANK YOU!

T-shirts are on order; please stay tuned for an announcement on how to pick yours up later this summer. And we’ll announce all challenge and race winners (and the awesome 60+ prizes) very soon!

Prickly Pear Land Trust | [email protected] | pricklypearlt.org