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By Micah Drew

Revive and Thrive Creates Recreation Opportunity


Micah Drew, Pathfinder

An MCC crew member works on creating tread for the new trail around Fawn Pond.

SEELEY LAKE - More than 60 people came together for a volunteer work day at Fawn Pond on July 23. The Nature Conservancy hosted their sixth annual Revive and Thrive event to celebrate conservation and recreation efforts and create a new trail.

Fawn Pond, a few miles west of Seeley Lake, now has a new mile-and-a-half nonmotorized trail around it. The trail includes a new bridge over Fawn Creek, which will replace a culvert downstream that has been impeding fish flow.

This combination of recreation and conservation work is typical of projects that The Nature Conservancy specializes in.

"One reason we choose the areas is we have some sort of restoration priority," said Program Director Chris Bryant. "It's perfectly suited for a trail around it, it's interesting, there's plenty of wildlife watching opportunities here and it's just a beautiful place."

The volunteers worked for several hours to cut trees, peel logs, scrape away the trail and create tread. Among the volunteers was a crew of nine Montana Conservation Corps members who showed up on their day off.

"It's a pretty easy volunteer day," said Josh Page, a rotating MCC crew leader. "It's not often you can do tread work with a shovel."

One of the volunteers was Kathleen Dent, who owns a cabin on Double Arrow. Dent showed up to last year's event as well.

"It's a fun little project, well maybe not everybody's definition of fun," said Dent. "I think we should do something to keep our beautiful little place beautiful."

Shovels and pulaskis abounded as the volunteers dug and scraped away layers of dust, dirt and vegetation. By the end of the day, the new trail was clearly visible from hundreds of feet above the ground.

Three major logs for the bridge were moved into place but the rest of the structure will be completed in the coming weeks by an MCC crew and a youth conservation team that will be in the area. There is also some forestry work to be done thinning nearby aspen groves of encroaching conifers.

Micah Drew, Pathfinder

Volunteers place the last log over Fawn Creek.

"One thing we're experiencing in the community we work in is there's just a huge demand for recreation," said Steve Kloetzel, the Western Montana Land Steward for TNC. "We feel we can enhance the access and recreation opportunities while also doing our restoration work."

The Nature Conservancy is a group that works to "conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends" and often partners with local agencies-the Bureau of Land Management, Fish, Wildlife & Parks, the Forest Service- as well as organizations like the Five Valley Land Trust to achieve those outcomes.

"It seems like there's never enough time to do all the things that need doing," said Kloetzel to the volunteers as they lounged in the shade eating lunch after work. "But working together between folks like you and the local community and agency partners, we'll be able to achieve lasting conservation for this great chunk of ground."


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