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100 Year

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BEAVER CREEK PARK

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100 Year

September 2016

BEAVER CREEK PARK

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Improvements and upgrades are happening at Beaver Creek Park Alex Ross aeross@havredailynews.com Beaver Creek Park recently turned 100 years old, but even after all that time the 10,000 acre county-owned park is still a work in progress. Chad Edgar, superintendent of Beaver Creek Park, said the park was pounded in 2010, 2011 and 2013 by severe floods, severe enough to be included in federal disaster declarations in the region. Roads and campgrounds throughout the park sustained a great deal of damage during the flooding, Edgar said. Two of the park’s campgrounds that sustained the bulk of the damage are Fireman’s and Lions campgrounds. The county has since received federal disaster relief funds to repair roads and damaged campgrounds. Several groups and families that have worked for decades on their campgrounds in the park have been heavily involved in repairing damage. Some of the developed campgrounds that have received extra work, or have work in the planning stages, by the people associated with them include Eagles, Jaycees, Railroad Pagers, Havre Police Protective Associaiton, Mardens, Hagener and the Doney Memorial campgrounds, along with Fireman's and Lions. As part of renovations at Fireman’s Campground, the pavilion was moved from the creek bottom to a higher elevation where it would not be impacted by future flooding. Edgar said grass that was damaged by flooding was reseeded. Lions Campground was hit particularly hard in the series of floods. More than $270,000 of work had to be done just on that one camping area and its facilities. Federal money was used to purchase a new pavilion at the campgrounds, Edgar said, and they were able to retain the use of the old pavilion but had to relocate it so it could be protected from future flooding. Roads that had been swamped by floodwaters, near and around Lions Campground, were in need of serious repair. One road was also raised during the repair process. "In the past, the road was kind of in a low spot," Edgar said, "so when the water came

through there, it would wash the roads out." Edgar said he hopes raising the road will help minimize future damage to the road itself. Money and attention then could be focused on repairing the affected areas around the road. A bridge that provided campers with the ability to cross the creek was replaced. Edgar said the access is a concrete culvert with reinforcement walls that was placed in a new location. The campground received a new pavilion that is closer to the road and off the flood plain, Edgar said. Federal disaster funds also paid for new pedestrian bridges at three sites throughout the park including one at Lions Campground. Another was placed in the area near the Hagener and Jaycees campgrounds. A pedestrian bridge replaced a third one that had been washed out at the Boy Scouts campground. Some campgrounds were completely washed away by flooding so, using disaster relief money, several yet-to-be named campgrounds were built. These include one situated on the south end of the Woodring Campground and another near Eagle Rock Road.

Bathrooms

Havre Daily News/file photo The flooded Beaver Creek runs through Fireman's Campground in Beaver Creek Park in June 2013.

The park was able to get three new outhouses due to the flooding. Edgar said the park is working to replace many of the deteriorating wooden outhouses scattered throughout the park. The new outhouses will be made of concrete, so they are more accessible and easier to clean. The new facilities will also be more handicapped accessible. Edgar said park staff is aiming to construct two new outhouses a year, depending on new donations and flood relief assistance. They have completed a few each year. Work is also being done to reduce the number of restroom facilities and have them more centrally located rather then dispersed throughout the park It is better to have one outhouse in good condition than two that are deteriorating, Edgar said. Another goal of the park has been new signage, he said. More than 35 signs have been made so

■ See Upgrades Page 7

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100 Year

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BEAVER CREEK PARK

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Centennial: CCC used park as base

Upgrades: Volunteers helping with work

■ Continued from page 3

■ Continued from page2

Work throughout the years The playground became a base of operations during the Great Depression for people working in the Civilian Conservation Corps, established on the park in 1933. The Havre Kiwanis Club created “Kiwanis Camp” on the park in 1930, and later the Civilian Conservation Corps Camp buildings were moved to Camp Kiwanis, which now houses the park offices. The materials from those buildings were used to construct boys and girls dormitories, a caretaker’s cottage and four smaller buildings. Camp sites and cabins were constructed in the park over the years, with Montana’s Fish and Game Department — now Fish, Wildlife and Parks —  leasing land to build a dam creating Bear Paw Lake in the 1950s, and the county building in the 1970s the dam creating Beaver Creek Reservoir. Responding to concerns that the land might revert back to the federal government and local people would lose access, the Hill County Commission later paid $27,760.44 for a patent on 9,253.48 acres in Beaver Creek Park, turning it into a county-operated park. In 1952, the county paid $2,670 for the 920 acres patented to Havre for reservoir

purposes — where Beaver Creek Reservoir later was created — and later bought a small amount of land from private landowners as well as buying right of way access for the state-leased and operated Bear Paw Lake. Work has been ongoing for the life of the park, with new campgrounds created, new cabins built and existing cabins renovated, and massive improvements made on campsites and at Camp Kiwanis. Work in recent years has included restoring the historic chapel at Kiwanis, and work is underway to improve cabins at the site. Work has been done to improve and restore the historic Beaver Lodge on the hill above the main grounds of Camp Kiwanis, with more work being planned on the structure. Three federally declared flooding disasters in the past decade also have led to extensive work on the park, with repairs done to campgrounds and sites including Camp Kiwanis, with extensive work done to repair some reserved campgrounds. The county, people and groups associated with the sites took advantage of the required repairs, with improvements made to many sites as well as remediation in campsites and on the creek to try to reduce damage by future flooding.

far, and they have been placed throughout the park, starting about eight years ago.

Volunteers Volunteers and local associations also work to maintain the campgrounds. Corey Lloyd, an Eagle Scout, worked upgrade campsites within the Hidden Hollows area, constructing several shelters, fire pits and picnic tables. This year John Klein, another Eagle Scout, did some improvements at the Mount Otis Trail Head. Klein put in place gravel surfacing to make entry into and exit from the area more convenient than bare ground. Edgar said that Klein installed a new sign at the trail head, fenced around the parking lot, built a new outhouse, constructed two new picnic table pads and planted two new ponderosa pines. The Railroad Pagers group is among many groups in the midst of new improvements, with the Pagers working on Campground 39. The work includes a new pavilion meant to enhance the quality of the the site. The pavilion is slated to be built next spring. The Community Effort Pavilion, improvements at Beaver Creek Reservoir on the park, also was spearheaded by Pagers. That work

included adding a pavilion, sidewalks. Work is being done to install information kiosks at all 11 of the park's reserved areas. Each kiosk will act as a source for park maps and information, and provide information on how to use the reserve site.

Camp Kiwanis

Work also is being done on the cabins at Camp Kiwanis. Emily Simonson, a Girl Scout, took the initiative in replacing the interior walls of two cabins. Edgar said she installed the new covering, painted it and trimmed out new canvas on the bunk beds using money she raised for her Gold Award project. Edgar said donations from Fresno Chapter of Walleyes Unlimited funded improvements to a third cabin. Friends of Beaver Creek Park, a group which works to pay for improvements to the park, donated windows for three cabins. Plans are in the works to remodel three more cabins. And the group is working to save money for future renovations of Beaver Lodge. Another three cabins are set to be remodeled with donations from the Kiwanis Club.

Visit Park: Several trails, not all marked ■ Continued from page 4 Rotary Falls — the largest falls in Beaver Creek Park — is beautiful in summer or winter. The best way to get to the waterfall is to park at the campground west of the highway at the bottom of Rotary Hill and stroll up paths on the north or south side of the creek. The path to the north is an easier walk, being on more level ground, while the paths to the south crisscross the top of Rotary Canyon. Getting close to the waterfall is not possible from that side of the creek, but views of the canyon and waterfall from above are impressive. Hiking the rest of the canyon up to the spillway of Bear Paw Lake is also beautiful, as well as tricky, with the gorge sometimes just wide enough for the stream. On the wooded hillside south of the waterfall are the remains of an old Rotary Youth Camp built in the early 1900s. Mount Otis climb: The Mount Otis climb is a gentle, winding set of switchbacks leading from Mooney’s Coulee to the top of Mount Otis. This trail was built by Civilian Conservation Corps workers in the late 1930s and is still in good condition. Views are beautiful, and at times, the trail meanders beside a lush fir forest on the north side of the mountain. Access to this hike is gained by traveling south down Beaver Creek Highway past Taylor Road turn-off to Mooney Coulee Road on the east. Drive up the coulee to the marked trail head on the north, or left, side of the road.

Bear Paw Nature Trail hike: The Bear Paw Nature Trail follows a former military road created by Fort Assinniboine soldiers in the late 1800s. This road hangs high above the valley floor on the west side and stretches several miles to Rocky Boy’s Indian Resrvation recreation area where it continues almost to Mount Baldy. A reservation-use permit is needed to continue south of the park boundary. After an elevation gain to get to the trail, it is remarkably flat all the way through Beaver Creek Park. The trail is one of the best areas of Beaver Creek Park for berry picking. Multiple access points lead to the Nature Trail: the northern trailhead located off of Alkali Springs Road; the southern trailhead located off the highway at the southern boundary, at the Brough Coulee Road turnoff; and at Lions Campground. Visitors will find the trail just above the valley floor to the west. Blackie Coulee Overlook Trail: This hike is one of the most difficult to find and is one of the most beautiful to take. Blackie Coulee is the last coulee on the east of Beaver Creek Park before the park joins the Rocky Boy recreation area. Head across the Beaver Creek ford in the middle of the camping area and start up the narrow and winding Blackie Coulee Road. Watch closely after going up a steep hill for the culvert along Blackie Creek. Stop there. A trail takes off up through a meadow and hillside to the north and winds up at an overlook with great views looking up the Beaver Creek valley. A rock monument rises at that point.

Courtesy photo, Camping on Beaver Creek Park, mid-1920s


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100 Year

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BEAVER CREEK PARK

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100 Year

September 2016

BEAVER CREEK PARK

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Superintendent highlights Beaver Creek Park Beaver Creek centennial caps millions of years of history Paul Dragu pdragu@havredailynews.com With 10,000 acres of camping grounds, lakes, hiking trails, mountains, rolling hills and a clear-running creek, Beaver Creek Park has recreational options all year round. “If you like nature, this is your kind of park,” Park Superintendent Chad Edgar said. Edgar, who lives in the park, said he was excited about what a great summer for the park 2016 was and how much more responsible park users have become. “We’re getting a more responsible attitude and use of the park. I truly appreciate it because it helps our park staff immensely, time wise, and also keeps the park cleaner,” he said, adding that between 900 and 1,000 people buy annual permits yearly, with 90 percent of them being Hill County residents. An annual pass for local residents of Blaine, Chouteau, Hill and Liberty counties is $50, and anyone 65 or older is eligible for a golden pass, which is $30. People can also buy a one-day pass for $10. People living outside the four-county local area pay $75 for an annual pass. Edgar said camping is the number one use for Beaver Creek Park. There are 100 campgrounds for general use and 11 areas that can be reserved. Many of the campgrounds have picnic tables, fire pits and the creek running through. The reserve areas have campgrounds along with other facilities. Reserve areas are often used to host events such as weddings, reunions, memorials, birthday parties and other celebrations. People can book a reserve area beginning on the first working day in January. It can be done online or by phone. Camp Kiwanis is the only exception. Camp Kiwanis must be reserved two years in advance and can only be booked by phone. Edgar said, while camping use goes down drastically after Labor Day, there is still plenty to do in the park. Fishermen have plenty of options all year round. Beaver Creek Reservoir, also known as First Lake, is the first lake drivers coming from Havre will see. Fishermen can catch walleye, pike, trout, bass and perch from the

Photo by Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Photo by Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

lake. Bear Paw Lake is another fishing option, especially for those hoping to hook trout and bass. That site is leased and operated by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, which created the lake to provide fishing access in the 1950s, when it was called the Fish and Game Department. Rotary Pond is two ponds in one area. And there is the creek that runs all throughout the park, filled with brook, rainbow and brown trout. In the winter, when the lakes freeze, ice fishing is popular, Edgar said. With fall coming quickly, Edgar said, there’s no better time to hit the hiking and scenery trails. The Bear Paw Nature Trail is about three miles long. It spans from the prairie into the canyon. “It’s really a great trail to see wildlife on,” Edgar said. It can be accessed at Alkali Springs Road, Lions Campground or Brough Coulee. A second hiking option is Mount Otis. The key, Edgar said, to getting the most out of Mount Otis is getting up there either in the early morning to catch the sunrise, or later in the day, when the sun is setting. “It’s just beautiful up there those time periods,” Edgar said. Edgar calls Rotary Falls “rustic hiking” and although short, no more than a quarter of a mile, it can be challenging. “It’s short and it’s steep. It’s not for the faint of heart,” Edgar said. For people who aren’t into ice fishing but enjoy seeing wildlife, Beaver Creek in the winter has a lot to offer. “The park is just majestic in the winter. It is quiet and very peaceful out here,” Edgar said. “We got a lot of people that just go for their drives in the winter. It’s a great time to see wildlife, and see big whitetail bucks — you name it.” Other winter options are cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling. “You can snowmobile anywhere in the park with adequate snow,” Edgar said.

Tim Leeds tleeds@havredailynews.com A recreation area millions of years in the making is celebrating a special anniversary this year: One hundred years ago, the federal government set aside land in the Bear Paw Mountains as an official camping area that has become Beaver Creek Park. Sept. 7, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed into law the bill creating Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation using part of the former military reservation of Fort Assinniboine, which was decommissioned in 1911. The bill also reserved part of the military reservation to be used for reservoir purposes for Havre — what now is Beaver Creek Reservoir in Beaver Creek Park — while land on either side of Beaver Creek, to be maintained at no cost to the federal government, was to be “set aside as a camping ground.” That area was sometimes called Beaver Creek Playground. Millions of years in the making Beaver Creek flows from the middle of the remnants of the volcanic projections that comprise the Bear Paw Mountains through the northern edge of the mountains. The creek meanders west and north, flowing through what is now Beaver Creek Golf Course and then into the Milk River west of Havre. The area likely had been used by tribes indigenous to the region for camping for thousands of years, including by the Cree who roamed in what would become Alberta and Montana. The Cree considered the land sacred and are credited with naming the mountains, research published by Stone Child College says. Bands of indigenous people who lived in the area prior to the Cree and for thousands of years used the bison kill site called Wahkpa Chu’gn Buffalo Jump, located next to Havre’s Holiday Village Mall, also camped at Beaver Creek in the Bear Paw Mountains at times. White trappers and explorers also may have hunted, trapped and camped in the area. Toward the end of the 19th century, a new group of people in the area started using Beaver Creek for recreation — the U.S. Cavalry soldiers stationed at Fort Assinniboine, a few miles south of what

would become Havre. After the Battle of the Little Big Horn in 1876 when Native American forces defeated the U.S. 7th Cavalry and the Battle of the Bear Paws when Chief Joseph and a band of

When the fort was first established, some work was occurring on Beaver Creek along with recreation. Local historian Robbie Lucke compiled a history of the early years of use of Beaver

Courtesy photo, Camp Kiwanis, early 1940s Nez Perce surrendered to the U.S. Cavalry after a six-day battle, the U.S. government decided a military fort was needed in what would become Montana to protect settlers from possible attacks by Native Americans who had migrated into Canada. Fort Assinniboine, with one of the largest military reservations in the country, was established in 1878 and garrisoned in 1879. Its reservation at one point was more than 700,000 acres and included much of the Bear Paw Mountains — including Beaver Creek. The soldiers stationed at the fort used the creek as a camping and recreation area. People from the town of Cypress, just west of where Havre now stands, and Havre, after the the railroad’s arrival created the new town, could request permission from the fort to camp in Beaver Creek.

Creek including that a group logged firewood for Fort Assinniboine at the mouth of Sucker Creek when the fort was first established in 1878. A store and cabins later were set up there for the loggers. The loggers cleared beaver dams from the creek to float the firewood down to the fort. But eight or nine days later, the dams were back and the contractor decided to use wagons. Settlement after the fort Fort Assinniboine was decommissioned in 1911 and the military reservation was turned over to the control of the U.S. Department of the Interior. Some Havre residents, wanting to ensure they would be able to use the area for recreation, took out mining claims along the creek to maintain some control over the

area. In the mean time, two bands of Natives were looking for a permament place to call their own. The band of Chippewa led by Chief Rocky Boy, or Stone Child, had moved west from Pennsylvania and ended up in Montana, according to a web page of the Chippewa Cree Cultural Resources Preservation Department. Once in Montana, the band associated with, off and on, a band of Cree led by Chief Little Bear from what would become Alberta. The bands both wandered the state for several decades, with some unsuccessful attempts to move them onto existing reservations or integrate them into other communities. Rocky Boy — and prominent Montanans including Paris Gibson, Frank B. Linderman and Charles M. Russell — worked for decades to find a home for Rocky Boy’s band. Rocky Boy caught attention when he sent a letter to President Theodore Roosevelt in 1902 requesting a reservation for his people. The work for a reservation finally found fruit in 1916. U.S. Sen. H.L. Myers, D-Mont., a Hamilton resident, sponsored a bill to create “a reservation for Rocky Boy’s Band of Chippewas and other such homeless Indians in the State of Montana as the Secretary of the Interior may see fit to locate thereon.” After some debate and amendments, Congress passed the bill and President Wilson signed it into law. Rocky Boy did not live to see the bill signed. He died April 18, 1916. The bill signed by Wilson had two other parts, as well — a section reserving 920 acres of land for the city of Havre to use as a recreation area, and 8,880 acres of  land on either side of Beaver Creek to be “set aside as a camping ground, the same to be kept and maintained without cost to the Government of the United States.” According to the research published by Stone Child College, the land set aside as a playground for the Havre area originally was to be part of Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation, but it was changed to a recreation area to mollify Havreites who were opposed to the government creating a reservation in the area.

■ See Centennial Page 7


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100 Year

BEAVER CREEK PARK

September 2016

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Friends schedule birthday party for Beaver Creek Park Pam Burke community@havredailynews.com The Friends of Beaver Creek Park are having a birthday party this year. Friends, a nonprofit group that raises money for projects that will improve and preserve the park, will be holding their annual fundraiser at the Eagles Club Oct. 8 at 5 p.m. In honor of the park’s centennial celebration this year, the group has been calling this event The Big Birthday Bash, Friends board

Chair Ursula Brese said. Along with the prime rib dinner and live and silent auctions, this bash will feature guest speaker former park Superintendent Greg Morley, who became the first superintendent after the park board was re-established in 1967. Cost to attend the event is $25 for general admission and free to children 12 and under. “Any money we make all goes back to the park,” Brese said, “and we are in the process of setting up an account at D.A. Davidson.” The account will hold funds earmarked for the next big project, preservation work on

Beaver Lodge at Camp Kiwanis. Aubrey Williams, assistant to park Superintendent Chad Edgar, said the lodge was assessed by an engineer to be structurally sound enough to use, but in need of a great deal of work or replacement. This type of project usually goes forward in two stages, the planning stage and the implementation stage, Bear Paw Development Corp.’s Community Planner Eryn Nissen said. At this point, Bear Paw Development is working with Hill County commissioners to

secure funding for the planning stage, she said, which will pay for an architect to assess the lodge’s specific needs and to write up a preliminary architectural feasibility report. This will give the county and park board options for moving forward with the project. Once a decision is made, Nissen added, implementation funding will need to raised, including searching for restoration or construction grants. Funds raised at the Birthday Bash will help pay for these efforts on behalf of the Beaver Lodge.

Visit Beaver Creek Park while visiting the area Just south of Havre in the Bear Paw Mountains is a little-known treasure — Beaver Creek Park of Hill County, rising from the rolling foothills into the Bear Paw Mountains. The park consists of more than 10,000 acres stretched along 17 miles of Montana Highway 237, and offers hiking, fishing, picnicking, camping and more. People can follow Fifth Avenue south and reach the northern boundary of the park a mere 10 miles south of town. The park was first created in 1916 in the same legislation that created its neighbor, Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation. Congress designated an area along the eastern edge of what had been the Fort Assinniboine military reservation to be a recreation area for the young city of Havre. This area, combined with a few other tracts became Beaver Creek Park. Much work was done in the park by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s during the Great Depression. In 1947, the Hill County government bought the park and took over its operation. The park is not county funded, though. Funds are generated from the sale of parkuse permits, private cabin leases and campground and Camp Kiwanis reservations, along with the sale of hayharvesting leases and cattle-grazing leases in the camping off season. The most active group benefitting the park is the nonprofit group Friends of Beaver Creek Park, formed in 2011 to help find ways to fund park improvements. The group also created a Beaver Creek Park specialty license plate, for sale now at all vehicle licensing locations, with the proceeds benefitting park projects. The Friends host an annual fundraising gala every fall which includes dinner, entertainment, and live and silent auctions. Contact them at friendsofbeavercreekpark@ gmail.com or via Facebook at http:// www.facebook.com/FriendsBCP. This year the annual fundraiser will also be the Centennial Celebra-

Havre Daily News/Teresa Getten Bryon Fanning prepares to cast his line into Rotary Pond in Beaver Creek Park during the Rotary Club annual Father’s Day Fishing Derby in June 2016. tion of Beaver Creek Park, founded in 1916. The party has been dubbed The Big Birthday Bash. Another group becoming active in the park is the Havre Trails group which leads hikes and other activities in the park. The group also co-organized with the Friends an educational “Dark Skies” stargazing event last fall, and both groups hope to organize more stargazing events in the future. Havre Trails can be reached at havretrails@gmail.com. Other new endeavors by the park include the designation of a star viewing area at Rotary Falls for the Dark Skies event, as well as the creation of a park website, www.bcpark.org, allowing users to get park information and reserve campgrounds online. And the recreational opportuni-

ties in the park are numerous. Fishing year round is a common pastime in the park at Beaver Creek Reservoir; Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ Fishing Access Site at Bear Paw Lake; Rotary Pond; as well as other ponds and the creek itself. People can check with FWP at 2165 U.S Highway 2 E., Havre, 265-6177, or with local sporting goods stores for information about fishing licenses, local regulations and other information. Neither hunting nor the use of firearms is allowed within park boundaries. Park-use permits are available at the park office located at Camp Kiwanis, at two self-pay boxes in the park itself, and at some Havre locations and businesses, including Hill County Courthouse, 315 4th St.;

Bing ‘N’ Bob’s Sports Shop, 316 3rd St.; Stromberg’s Sinclair, 1200 1st St.; North 40 Outfitters, 1753 U.S. Highway 2 W.; Havre Area Chamber of Commerce, 130 5th Ave.; and Bear Paw Meats, 1705 5th Ave. Annual park permits for residents of the four-county region of Hill, Blaine, Liberty and Chouteau counties are $50 per year, and $75 for those residing outside of the four counties. The park also offers a Golden Pass year-long permit for those 65 years or older, for those residing in the four counties the fee is $30, and for those residing out of the region the fee is $45. Day-use permits are $10. Park permits cover all park use and can be for a family unit — anyone living within the same legal residence can be covered under the

same permit. Campsites are scattered the length of the park, along the banks of the lakes, ponds and Beaver Creek itself, as well as off of the main road, and are suitable for barbecues, picnics, camping and events. Most campsites are self-filled on a first-come, first-served basis, but 11 larger, more developed sites can be reserved for a fee. Beaver Lodge at Camp Kiwanis is also available for reservations and is a large venue suitable for weddings, family reunions, youth camps and other large events. For more information about reservations and fees, people can call the park office, 395-4565, or go to the website www.bcpark.org. Along with shorelines at the lakes and camp sites throughout the park, trails wander through aspen groves and mountain meadows and hit summits of mountains just a few hundred feet from the valley floor. Even the most difficult hikes can be made by young children and elderly people without much difficulty. Although some trails and trailheads may be poorly marked, if marked at all, staff at the park office can give directions and suggest hiking areas, and maps are available wherever permits are sold. The lower elevations of Beaver Creek Park are home to rattlesnakes, and mountain lion sightings have been reported in the upper park elevations, so caution should be observed when hiking, fishing and camping. Rotary Falls and Canyon hike: The canyon just to the north of Bear Paw Lake is popular for hiking. There are rough trails in the canyon on both sides of Beaver Creek. The entire area can be accessed from the dam at Bear Paw Lake, the Beaver Creek Highway just north of Bear Paw Lake at the bottom of Rotary Hill, or by side roads above the canyon. The canyon is spectacular, and seeing

■ See Visit Park Page 7

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100 Year

September 2016

BEAVER CREEK PARK

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Friends of Beaver Creek work to improve and preserve the park Alex Ross aeross@havredailynews.com Ursula Brese has been camping out and visiting Beaver Creek Park since she was a child. Throughout the years she has camped out at the 10,000-acre county-owned park with her family and later her children. “So I guess you might say Beaver Creek Park has been part of my life all my life,” Brese said, adding that it would be difficult to find a family in Havre that hadn’t camped out at the park, which boasts 100 campgrounds and 11 reserve areas. Brese and other locals who wanted to ensure the park itself is maintained for future generations held several meetings starting in 2010. From those meetings, the Friends of Beaver Creek Park was born. It was of-

Photo by Havre Daily News/Teresa Getten

ficially established in 2011, and Brese has served ever since as the chairman of what is now the 10-member board. She said Friends exists to “foster recreation and preservation of the park for generations to come.” The organization meets the second Monday of every month at Van Orsdel United Methodist Church at 7 p.m. to determine the needs and condition of the park and its facilities. Every year for the past five years, Friends has held a fundraiser to subsidize their work. For $25, an attendee is treated to a prime rib dinner and the chance to take part in both live and silent auctions of items solicited by members of Friends. As of Sept. 13, Brese said that a half of a beef and a quarter of beef will be among the

items up for bid. Other items that will be auctioned off have yet to be determined. This year’s fundraiser is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 8, at the Eagle’s Club in Havre. Tickets are $25. The event will start at 5 p.m. Brese said she is unsure how much was raised last year, but on average she estimates that the Friends take in between $8,000 and $10,000 from the event. Proceeds from the auctions and ticket sales go toward buying equipment and making repairs to the park and its facilities, Brese said. Money has allowed Friends to buy supplies needed for the upkeep of the campgrounds, facilities and the park in general. Brese said purchases made include a broom attachment used to clean sidewalks, a commercial paint sprayer used on the ex-

terior of the park’s cabins, a gas-powered pole saw to cut branches and six windows for park cabins. Money also purchased a cooking stove and a refrigerator for Beaver Lodge at Camp Kiwanis. The dinner and auction aren’t the only ways Friends has generated revenue. In January 2015, the state government approved a license plate commemorating Beaver Creek Park. The price to purchase — and register the plate each year —  includes $30 that goes to Friends. The group is now working to create an endowment fund to meet additional expenses needed for the park’s upkeep. Brese said that since Friends was established, the response from the community has been wonderful because Beaver Creek Park is “the pride and joy” of Havre.


4

100 Year

BEAVER CREEK PARK

September 2016

www.havredailynews.com

Friends schedule birthday party for Beaver Creek Park Pam Burke community@havredailynews.com The Friends of Beaver Creek Park are having a birthday party this year. Friends, a nonprofit group that raises money for projects that will improve and preserve the park, will be holding their annual fundraiser at the Eagles Club Oct. 8 at 5 p.m. In honor of the park’s centennial celebration this year, the group has been calling this event The Big Birthday Bash, Friends board

Chair Ursula Brese said. Along with the prime rib dinner and live and silent auctions, this bash will feature guest speaker former park Superintendent Greg Morley, who became the first superintendent after the park board was re-established in 1967. Cost to attend the event is $25 for general admission and free to children 12 and under. “Any money we make all goes back to the park,” Brese said, “and we are in the process of setting up an account at D.A. Davidson.” The account will hold funds earmarked for the next big project, preservation work on

Beaver Lodge at Camp Kiwanis. Aubrey Williams, assistant to park Superintendent Chad Edgar, said the lodge was assessed by an engineer to be structurally sound enough to use, but in need of a great deal of work or replacement. This type of project usually goes forward in two stages, the planning stage and the implementation stage, Bear Paw Development Corp.’s Community Planner Eryn Nissen said. At this point, Bear Paw Development is working with Hill County commissioners to

secure funding for the planning stage, she said, which will pay for an architect to assess the lodge’s specific needs and to write up a preliminary architectural feasibility report. This will give the county and park board options for moving forward with the project. Once a decision is made, Nissen added, implementation funding will need to raised, including searching for restoration or construction grants. Funds raised at the Birthday Bash will help pay for these efforts on behalf of the Beaver Lodge.

Visit Beaver Creek Park while visiting the area Just south of Havre in the Bear Paw Mountains is a little-known treasure — Beaver Creek Park of Hill County, rising from the rolling foothills into the Bear Paw Mountains. The park consists of more than 10,000 acres stretched along 17 miles of Montana Highway 237, and offers hiking, fishing, picnicking, camping and more. People can follow Fifth Avenue south and reach the northern boundary of the park a mere 10 miles south of town. The park was first created in 1916 in the same legislation that created its neighbor, Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation. Congress designated an area along the eastern edge of what had been the Fort Assinniboine military reservation to be a recreation area for the young city of Havre. This area, combined with a few other tracts became Beaver Creek Park. Much work was done in the park by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s during the Great Depression. In 1947, the Hill County government bought the park and took over its operation. The park is not county funded, though. Funds are generated from the sale of parkuse permits, private cabin leases and campground and Camp Kiwanis reservations, along with the sale of hayharvesting leases and cattle-grazing leases in the camping off season. The most active group benefitting the park is the nonprofit group Friends of Beaver Creek Park, formed in 2011 to help find ways to fund park improvements. The group also created a Beaver Creek Park specialty license plate, for sale now at all vehicle licensing locations, with the proceeds benefitting park projects. The Friends host an annual fundraising gala every fall which includes dinner, entertainment, and live and silent auctions. Contact them at friendsofbeavercreekpark@ gmail.com or via Facebook at http:// www.facebook.com/FriendsBCP. This year the annual fundraiser will also be the Centennial Celebra-

Havre Daily News/Teresa Getten Bryon Fanning prepares to cast his line into Rotary Pond in Beaver Creek Park during the Rotary Club annual Father’s Day Fishing Derby in June 2016. tion of Beaver Creek Park, founded in 1916. The party has been dubbed The Big Birthday Bash. Another group becoming active in the park is the Havre Trails group which leads hikes and other activities in the park. The group also co-organized with the Friends an educational “Dark Skies” stargazing event last fall, and both groups hope to organize more stargazing events in the future. Havre Trails can be reached at havretrails@gmail.com. Other new endeavors by the park include the designation of a star viewing area at Rotary Falls for the Dark Skies event, as well as the creation of a park website, www.bcpark.org, allowing users to get park information and reserve campgrounds online. And the recreational opportuni-

ties in the park are numerous. Fishing year round is a common pastime in the park at Beaver Creek Reservoir; Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ Fishing Access Site at Bear Paw Lake; Rotary Pond; as well as other ponds and the creek itself. People can check with FWP at 2165 U.S Highway 2 E., Havre, 265-6177, or with local sporting goods stores for information about fishing licenses, local regulations and other information. Neither hunting nor the use of firearms is allowed within park boundaries. Park-use permits are available at the park office located at Camp Kiwanis, at two self-pay boxes in the park itself, and at some Havre locations and businesses, including Hill County Courthouse, 315 4th St.;

Bing ‘N’ Bob’s Sports Shop, 316 3rd St.; Stromberg’s Sinclair, 1200 1st St.; North 40 Outfitters, 1753 U.S. Highway 2 W.; Havre Area Chamber of Commerce, 130 5th Ave.; and Bear Paw Meats, 1705 5th Ave. Annual park permits for residents of the four-county region of Hill, Blaine, Liberty and Chouteau counties are $50 per year, and $75 for those residing outside of the four counties. The park also offers a Golden Pass year-long permit for those 65 years or older, for those residing in the four counties the fee is $30, and for those residing out of the region the fee is $45. Day-use permits are $10. Park permits cover all park use and can be for a family unit — anyone living within the same legal residence can be covered under the

same permit. Campsites are scattered the length of the park, along the banks of the lakes, ponds and Beaver Creek itself, as well as off of the main road, and are suitable for barbecues, picnics, camping and events. Most campsites are self-filled on a first-come, first-served basis, but 11 larger, more developed sites can be reserved for a fee. Beaver Lodge at Camp Kiwanis is also available for reservations and is a large venue suitable for weddings, family reunions, youth camps and other large events. For more information about reservations and fees, people can call the park office, 395-4565, or go to the website www.bcpark.org. Along with shorelines at the lakes and camp sites throughout the park, trails wander through aspen groves and mountain meadows and hit summits of mountains just a few hundred feet from the valley floor. Even the most difficult hikes can be made by young children and elderly people without much difficulty. Although some trails and trailheads may be poorly marked, if marked at all, staff at the park office can give directions and suggest hiking areas, and maps are available wherever permits are sold. The lower elevations of Beaver Creek Park are home to rattlesnakes, and mountain lion sightings have been reported in the upper park elevations, so caution should be observed when hiking, fishing and camping. Rotary Falls and Canyon hike: The canyon just to the north of Bear Paw Lake is popular for hiking. There are rough trails in the canyon on both sides of Beaver Creek. The entire area can be accessed from the dam at Bear Paw Lake, the Beaver Creek Highway just north of Bear Paw Lake at the bottom of Rotary Hill, or by side roads above the canyon. The canyon is spectacular, and seeing

■ See Visit Park Page 7

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Friends of Beaver Creek work to improve and preserve the park Alex Ross aeross@havredailynews.com Ursula Brese has been camping out and visiting Beaver Creek Park since she was a child. Throughout the years she has camped out at the 10,000-acre county-owned park with her family and later her children. “So I guess you might say Beaver Creek Park has been part of my life all my life,” Brese said, adding that it would be difficult to find a family in Havre that hadn’t camped out at the park, which boasts 100 campgrounds and 11 reserve areas. Brese and other locals who wanted to ensure the park itself is maintained for future generations held several meetings starting in 2010. From those meetings, the Friends of Beaver Creek Park was born. It was of-

Photo by Havre Daily News/Teresa Getten

ficially established in 2011, and Brese has served ever since as the chairman of what is now the 10-member board. She said Friends exists to “foster recreation and preservation of the park for generations to come.” The organization meets the second Monday of every month at Van Orsdel United Methodist Church at 7 p.m. to determine the needs and condition of the park and its facilities. Every year for the past five years, Friends has held a fundraiser to subsidize their work. For $25, an attendee is treated to a prime rib dinner and the chance to take part in both live and silent auctions of items solicited by members of Friends. As of Sept. 13, Brese said that a half of a beef and a quarter of beef will be among the

items up for bid. Other items that will be auctioned off have yet to be determined. This year’s fundraiser is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 8, at the Eagle’s Club in Havre. Tickets are $25. The event will start at 5 p.m. Brese said she is unsure how much was raised last year, but on average she estimates that the Friends take in between $8,000 and $10,000 from the event. Proceeds from the auctions and ticket sales go toward buying equipment and making repairs to the park and its facilities, Brese said. Money has allowed Friends to buy supplies needed for the upkeep of the campgrounds, facilities and the park in general. Brese said purchases made include a broom attachment used to clean sidewalks, a commercial paint sprayer used on the ex-

terior of the park’s cabins, a gas-powered pole saw to cut branches and six windows for park cabins. Money also purchased a cooking stove and a refrigerator for Beaver Lodge at Camp Kiwanis. The dinner and auction aren’t the only ways Friends has generated revenue. In January 2015, the state government approved a license plate commemorating Beaver Creek Park. The price to purchase — and register the plate each year —  includes $30 that goes to Friends. The group is now working to create an endowment fund to meet additional expenses needed for the park’s upkeep. Brese said that since Friends was established, the response from the community has been wonderful because Beaver Creek Park is “the pride and joy” of Havre.


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Superintendent highlights Beaver Creek Park Beaver Creek centennial caps millions of years of history Paul Dragu pdragu@havredailynews.com With 10,000 acres of camping grounds, lakes, hiking trails, mountains, rolling hills and a clear-running creek, Beaver Creek Park has recreational options all year round. “If you like nature, this is your kind of park,” Park Superintendent Chad Edgar said. Edgar, who lives in the park, said he was excited about what a great summer for the park 2016 was and how much more responsible park users have become. “We’re getting a more responsible attitude and use of the park. I truly appreciate it because it helps our park staff immensely, time wise, and also keeps the park cleaner,” he said, adding that between 900 and 1,000 people buy annual permits yearly, with 90 percent of them being Hill County residents. An annual pass for local residents of Blaine, Chouteau, Hill and Liberty counties is $50, and anyone 65 or older is eligible for a golden pass, which is $30. People can also buy a one-day pass for $10. People living outside the four-county local area pay $75 for an annual pass. Edgar said camping is the number one use for Beaver Creek Park. There are 100 campgrounds for general use and 11 areas that can be reserved. Many of the campgrounds have picnic tables, fire pits and the creek running through. The reserve areas have campgrounds along with other facilities. Reserve areas are often used to host events such as weddings, reunions, memorials, birthday parties and other celebrations. People can book a reserve area beginning on the first working day in January. It can be done online or by phone. Camp Kiwanis is the only exception. Camp Kiwanis must be reserved two years in advance and can only be booked by phone. Edgar said, while camping use goes down drastically after Labor Day, there is still plenty to do in the park. Fishermen have plenty of options all year round. Beaver Creek Reservoir, also known as First Lake, is the first lake drivers coming from Havre will see. Fishermen can catch walleye, pike, trout, bass and perch from the

Photo by Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Photo by Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

lake. Bear Paw Lake is another fishing option, especially for those hoping to hook trout and bass. That site is leased and operated by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, which created the lake to provide fishing access in the 1950s, when it was called the Fish and Game Department. Rotary Pond is two ponds in one area. And there is the creek that runs all throughout the park, filled with brook, rainbow and brown trout. In the winter, when the lakes freeze, ice fishing is popular, Edgar said. With fall coming quickly, Edgar said, there’s no better time to hit the hiking and scenery trails. The Bear Paw Nature Trail is about three miles long. It spans from the prairie into the canyon. “It’s really a great trail to see wildlife on,” Edgar said. It can be accessed at Alkali Springs Road, Lions Campground or Brough Coulee. A second hiking option is Mount Otis. The key, Edgar said, to getting the most out of Mount Otis is getting up there either in the early morning to catch the sunrise, or later in the day, when the sun is setting. “It’s just beautiful up there those time periods,” Edgar said. Edgar calls Rotary Falls “rustic hiking” and although short, no more than a quarter of a mile, it can be challenging. “It’s short and it’s steep. It’s not for the faint of heart,” Edgar said. For people who aren’t into ice fishing but enjoy seeing wildlife, Beaver Creek in the winter has a lot to offer. “The park is just majestic in the winter. It is quiet and very peaceful out here,” Edgar said. “We got a lot of people that just go for their drives in the winter. It’s a great time to see wildlife, and see big whitetail bucks — you name it.” Other winter options are cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling. “You can snowmobile anywhere in the park with adequate snow,” Edgar said.

Tim Leeds tleeds@havredailynews.com A recreation area millions of years in the making is celebrating a special anniversary this year: One hundred years ago, the federal government set aside land in the Bear Paw Mountains as an official camping area that has become Beaver Creek Park. Sept. 7, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed into law the bill creating Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation using part of the former military reservation of Fort Assinniboine, which was decommissioned in 1911. The bill also reserved part of the military reservation to be used for reservoir purposes for Havre — what now is Beaver Creek Reservoir in Beaver Creek Park — while land on either side of Beaver Creek, to be maintained at no cost to the federal government, was to be “set aside as a camping ground.” That area was sometimes called Beaver Creek Playground. Millions of years in the making Beaver Creek flows from the middle of the remnants of the volcanic projections that comprise the Bear Paw Mountains through the northern edge of the mountains. The creek meanders west and north, flowing through what is now Beaver Creek Golf Course and then into the Milk River west of Havre. The area likely had been used by tribes indigenous to the region for camping for thousands of years, including by the Cree who roamed in what would become Alberta and Montana. The Cree considered the land sacred and are credited with naming the mountains, research published by Stone Child College says. Bands of indigenous people who lived in the area prior to the Cree and for thousands of years used the bison kill site called Wahkpa Chu’gn Buffalo Jump, located next to Havre’s Holiday Village Mall, also camped at Beaver Creek in the Bear Paw Mountains at times. White trappers and explorers also may have hunted, trapped and camped in the area. Toward the end of the 19th century, a new group of people in the area started using Beaver Creek for recreation — the U.S. Cavalry soldiers stationed at Fort Assinniboine, a few miles south of what

would become Havre. After the Battle of the Little Big Horn in 1876 when Native American forces defeated the U.S. 7th Cavalry and the Battle of the Bear Paws when Chief Joseph and a band of

When the fort was first established, some work was occurring on Beaver Creek along with recreation. Local historian Robbie Lucke compiled a history of the early years of use of Beaver

Courtesy photo, Camp Kiwanis, early 1940s Nez Perce surrendered to the U.S. Cavalry after a six-day battle, the U.S. government decided a military fort was needed in what would become Montana to protect settlers from possible attacks by Native Americans who had migrated into Canada. Fort Assinniboine, with one of the largest military reservations in the country, was established in 1878 and garrisoned in 1879. Its reservation at one point was more than 700,000 acres and included much of the Bear Paw Mountains — including Beaver Creek. The soldiers stationed at the fort used the creek as a camping and recreation area. People from the town of Cypress, just west of where Havre now stands, and Havre, after the the railroad’s arrival created the new town, could request permission from the fort to camp in Beaver Creek.

Creek including that a group logged firewood for Fort Assinniboine at the mouth of Sucker Creek when the fort was first established in 1878. A store and cabins later were set up there for the loggers. The loggers cleared beaver dams from the creek to float the firewood down to the fort. But eight or nine days later, the dams were back and the contractor decided to use wagons. Settlement after the fort Fort Assinniboine was decommissioned in 1911 and the military reservation was turned over to the control of the U.S. Department of the Interior. Some Havre residents, wanting to ensure they would be able to use the area for recreation, took out mining claims along the creek to maintain some control over the

area. In the mean time, two bands of Natives were looking for a permament place to call their own. The band of Chippewa led by Chief Rocky Boy, or Stone Child, had moved west from Pennsylvania and ended up in Montana, according to a web page of the Chippewa Cree Cultural Resources Preservation Department. Once in Montana, the band associated with, off and on, a band of Cree led by Chief Little Bear from what would become Alberta. The bands both wandered the state for several decades, with some unsuccessful attempts to move them onto existing reservations or integrate them into other communities. Rocky Boy — and prominent Montanans including Paris Gibson, Frank B. Linderman and Charles M. Russell — worked for decades to find a home for Rocky Boy’s band. Rocky Boy caught attention when he sent a letter to President Theodore Roosevelt in 1902 requesting a reservation for his people. The work for a reservation finally found fruit in 1916. U.S. Sen. H.L. Myers, D-Mont., a Hamilton resident, sponsored a bill to create “a reservation for Rocky Boy’s Band of Chippewas and other such homeless Indians in the State of Montana as the Secretary of the Interior may see fit to locate thereon.” After some debate and amendments, Congress passed the bill and President Wilson signed it into law. Rocky Boy did not live to see the bill signed. He died April 18, 1916. The bill signed by Wilson had two other parts, as well — a section reserving 920 acres of land for the city of Havre to use as a recreation area, and 8,880 acres of  land on either side of Beaver Creek to be “set aside as a camping ground, the same to be kept and maintained without cost to the Government of the United States.” According to the research published by Stone Child College, the land set aside as a playground for the Havre area originally was to be part of Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation, but it was changed to a recreation area to mollify Havreites who were opposed to the government creating a reservation in the area.

■ See Centennial Page 7


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Improvements and upgrades are happening at Beaver Creek Park Alex Ross aeross@havredailynews.com Beaver Creek Park recently turned 100 years old, but even after all that time the 10,000 acre county-owned park is still a work in progress. Chad Edgar, superintendent of Beaver Creek Park, said the park was pounded in 2010, 2011 and 2013 by severe floods, severe enough to be included in federal disaster declarations in the region. Roads and campgrounds throughout the park sustained a great deal of damage during the flooding, Edgar said. Two of the park’s campgrounds that sustained the bulk of the damage are Fireman’s and Lions campgrounds. The county has since received federal disaster relief funds to repair roads and damaged campgrounds. Several groups and families that have worked for decades on their campgrounds in the park have been heavily involved in repairing damage. Some of the developed campgrounds that have received extra work, or have work in the planning stages, by the people associated with them include Eagles, Jaycees, Railroad Pagers, Havre Police Protective Associaiton, Mardens, Hagener and the Doney Memorial campgrounds, along with Fireman's and Lions. As part of renovations at Fireman’s Campground, the pavilion was moved from the creek bottom to a higher elevation where it would not be impacted by future flooding. Edgar said grass that was damaged by flooding was reseeded. Lions Campground was hit particularly hard in the series of floods. More than $270,000 of work had to be done just on that one camping area and its facilities. Federal money was used to purchase a new pavilion at the campgrounds, Edgar said, and they were able to retain the use of the old pavilion but had to relocate it so it could be protected from future flooding. Roads that had been swamped by floodwaters, near and around Lions Campground, were in need of serious repair. One road was also raised during the repair process. "In the past, the road was kind of in a low spot," Edgar said, "so when the water came

through there, it would wash the roads out." Edgar said he hopes raising the road will help minimize future damage to the road itself. Money and attention then could be focused on repairing the affected areas around the road. A bridge that provided campers with the ability to cross the creek was replaced. Edgar said the access is a concrete culvert with reinforcement walls that was placed in a new location. The campground received a new pavilion that is closer to the road and off the flood plain, Edgar said. Federal disaster funds also paid for new pedestrian bridges at three sites throughout the park including one at Lions Campground. Another was placed in the area near the Hagener and Jaycees campgrounds. A pedestrian bridge replaced a third one that had been washed out at the Boy Scouts campground. Some campgrounds were completely washed away by flooding so, using disaster relief money, several yet-to-be named campgrounds were built. These include one situated on the south end of the Woodring Campground and another near Eagle Rock Road.

Bathrooms

Havre Daily News/file photo The flooded Beaver Creek runs through Fireman's Campground in Beaver Creek Park in June 2013.

The park was able to get three new outhouses due to the flooding. Edgar said the park is working to replace many of the deteriorating wooden outhouses scattered throughout the park. The new outhouses will be made of concrete, so they are more accessible and easier to clean. The new facilities will also be more handicapped accessible. Edgar said park staff is aiming to construct two new outhouses a year, depending on new donations and flood relief assistance. They have completed a few each year. Work is also being done to reduce the number of restroom facilities and have them more centrally located rather then dispersed throughout the park It is better to have one outhouse in good condition than two that are deteriorating, Edgar said. Another goal of the park has been new signage, he said. More than 35 signs have been made so

■ See Upgrades Page 7

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Centennial: CCC used park as base

Upgrades: Volunteers helping with work

■ Continued from page 3

■ Continued from page2

Work throughout the years The playground became a base of operations during the Great Depression for people working in the Civilian Conservation Corps, established on the park in 1933. The Havre Kiwanis Club created “Kiwanis Camp” on the park in 1930, and later the Civilian Conservation Corps Camp buildings were moved to Camp Kiwanis, which now houses the park offices. The materials from those buildings were used to construct boys and girls dormitories, a caretaker’s cottage and four smaller buildings. Camp sites and cabins were constructed in the park over the years, with Montana’s Fish and Game Department — now Fish, Wildlife and Parks —  leasing land to build a dam creating Bear Paw Lake in the 1950s, and the county building in the 1970s the dam creating Beaver Creek Reservoir. Responding to concerns that the land might revert back to the federal government and local people would lose access, the Hill County Commission later paid $27,760.44 for a patent on 9,253.48 acres in Beaver Creek Park, turning it into a county-operated park. In 1952, the county paid $2,670 for the 920 acres patented to Havre for reservoir

purposes — where Beaver Creek Reservoir later was created — and later bought a small amount of land from private landowners as well as buying right of way access for the state-leased and operated Bear Paw Lake. Work has been ongoing for the life of the park, with new campgrounds created, new cabins built and existing cabins renovated, and massive improvements made on campsites and at Camp Kiwanis. Work in recent years has included restoring the historic chapel at Kiwanis, and work is underway to improve cabins at the site. Work has been done to improve and restore the historic Beaver Lodge on the hill above the main grounds of Camp Kiwanis, with more work being planned on the structure. Three federally declared flooding disasters in the past decade also have led to extensive work on the park, with repairs done to campgrounds and sites including Camp Kiwanis, with extensive work done to repair some reserved campgrounds. The county, people and groups associated with the sites took advantage of the required repairs, with improvements made to many sites as well as remediation in campsites and on the creek to try to reduce damage by future flooding.

far, and they have been placed throughout the park, starting about eight years ago.

Volunteers Volunteers and local associations also work to maintain the campgrounds. Corey Lloyd, an Eagle Scout, worked upgrade campsites within the Hidden Hollows area, constructing several shelters, fire pits and picnic tables. This year John Klein, another Eagle Scout, did some improvements at the Mount Otis Trail Head. Klein put in place gravel surfacing to make entry into and exit from the area more convenient than bare ground. Edgar said that Klein installed a new sign at the trail head, fenced around the parking lot, built a new outhouse, constructed two new picnic table pads and planted two new ponderosa pines. The Railroad Pagers group is among many groups in the midst of new improvements, with the Pagers working on Campground 39. The work includes a new pavilion meant to enhance the quality of the the site. The pavilion is slated to be built next spring. The Community Effort Pavilion, improvements at Beaver Creek Reservoir on the park, also was spearheaded by Pagers. That work

included adding a pavilion, sidewalks. Work is being done to install information kiosks at all 11 of the park's reserved areas. Each kiosk will act as a source for park maps and information, and provide information on how to use the reserve site.

Camp Kiwanis

Work also is being done on the cabins at Camp Kiwanis. Emily Simonson, a Girl Scout, took the initiative in replacing the interior walls of two cabins. Edgar said she installed the new covering, painted it and trimmed out new canvas on the bunk beds using money she raised for her Gold Award project. Edgar said donations from Fresno Chapter of Walleyes Unlimited funded improvements to a third cabin. Friends of Beaver Creek Park, a group which works to pay for improvements to the park, donated windows for three cabins. Plans are in the works to remodel three more cabins. And the group is working to save money for future renovations of Beaver Lodge. Another three cabins are set to be remodeled with donations from the Kiwanis Club.

Visit Park: Several trails, not all marked ■ Continued from page 4 Rotary Falls — the largest falls in Beaver Creek Park — is beautiful in summer or winter. The best way to get to the waterfall is to park at the campground west of the highway at the bottom of Rotary Hill and stroll up paths on the north or south side of the creek. The path to the north is an easier walk, being on more level ground, while the paths to the south crisscross the top of Rotary Canyon. Getting close to the waterfall is not possible from that side of the creek, but views of the canyon and waterfall from above are impressive. Hiking the rest of the canyon up to the spillway of Bear Paw Lake is also beautiful, as well as tricky, with the gorge sometimes just wide enough for the stream. On the wooded hillside south of the waterfall are the remains of an old Rotary Youth Camp built in the early 1900s. Mount Otis climb: The Mount Otis climb is a gentle, winding set of switchbacks leading from Mooney’s Coulee to the top of Mount Otis. This trail was built by Civilian Conservation Corps workers in the late 1930s and is still in good condition. Views are beautiful, and at times, the trail meanders beside a lush fir forest on the north side of the mountain. Access to this hike is gained by traveling south down Beaver Creek Highway past Taylor Road turn-off to Mooney Coulee Road on the east. Drive up the coulee to the marked trail head on the north, or left, side of the road.

Bear Paw Nature Trail hike: The Bear Paw Nature Trail follows a former military road created by Fort Assinniboine soldiers in the late 1800s. This road hangs high above the valley floor on the west side and stretches several miles to Rocky Boy’s Indian Resrvation recreation area where it continues almost to Mount Baldy. A reservation-use permit is needed to continue south of the park boundary. After an elevation gain to get to the trail, it is remarkably flat all the way through Beaver Creek Park. The trail is one of the best areas of Beaver Creek Park for berry picking. Multiple access points lead to the Nature Trail: the northern trailhead located off of Alkali Springs Road; the southern trailhead located off the highway at the southern boundary, at the Brough Coulee Road turnoff; and at Lions Campground. Visitors will find the trail just above the valley floor to the west. Blackie Coulee Overlook Trail: This hike is one of the most difficult to find and is one of the most beautiful to take. Blackie Coulee is the last coulee on the east of Beaver Creek Park before the park joins the Rocky Boy recreation area. Head across the Beaver Creek ford in the middle of the camping area and start up the narrow and winding Blackie Coulee Road. Watch closely after going up a steep hill for the culvert along Blackie Creek. Stop there. A trail takes off up through a meadow and hillside to the north and winds up at an overlook with great views looking up the Beaver Creek valley. A rock monument rises at that point.

Courtesy photo, Camping on Beaver Creek Park, mid-1920s


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