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September 2011

Upcoming Events

Sept. 10    Airport Trail Dedication & Bear Spray Clinic, at the trailhead near the Rodeo grounds entrance

Sept. 16    NPRC’s Wild & Scenic Film Festival-Petro Theater, Billings

Sept. 24    National Public Lands Day-somewhere near you

Nov. 5      BRTA Ski Swap, Civic Center

Fun Run 8

THANKS for donating to BRTA through Fun Run 8!

Didn’t get it done? You can still do so…until Sept. 15! Go to, or stop in at their office at 13th & Oakes, or mail to RLACF, Box 1871, Red Lodge, MT 59068.

Airport Trail Dedication

Join BRTA in celebrating the dedication of the new airport trail on Saturday, September 10.   Dedication starts at 11:00 am followed by a trail walk and BBQ.   Meet at Double Ditch Park at the north entrance of Red Lodge Rodeo Grounds off Highway 78.   Following the trail ceremony at 1:00 pm, join Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks officials for a bear spray clinic to keep you safe in the backcountry.

Bear Spray Clinic

At 1:00 pm on Sept. 10 after the Airport Trail dedication and lunch, we will have a Bear Spray clinic with Shawn Stewart & Matt Heaton of Fish, Wildlife & Parks, and Pat Pierson with the Forest Service. There will be demos! And we’ll learn lots about bears from these experts.

National Public Lands Day

September 24 will see free admission to our National Parks. The Bureau of Land Management will have two work sessions for volunteers to improve public lands in this area:  at Sundance Lodge, near Laurel, and at South Fork Grove Creek near Meeteetse Spires. Contact about the Sundance Lodge project; and Tim Finger at (406) 896-5013 about the South Fork Grove Creek project.

Highway 78 Update by Grant Barnard

August 23, Grant talked with Ryan Dahlke, Montana Department of Transportation Project Coordinator for the Highway 78 rebuild. Here’s a summary of the project to date:

  • MDOT will split this 5 mile project into 2 sections to get storm drains and the curb & gutter in the lower section connected to the Highway 212 project when it starts (in 2012)
  • there will be no special pedestrian crossing anywhere at the bottom of Brewery Hill except in the roundabout at the 78 & 212 intersection
  • there is not enough room to build a separate bike path or sidewalk up Brewery Hill (drainage problems on the north side, house and pond on the south side); plus the MDOT reasons that it would be too steep to have a safe sidewalk up/down that hill
  • 4 foot shoulders will be on both sides of the highway on Brewery Hill (big improvement)
  • at the Lazy M St. intersection, the Airport Road will intersect directly across from Lazy M St.
  • there will be no designated crosswalk at that intersection (too steep for adequate stopping plus poor visibility to the west)
  • there will be a designated crosswalk with caution lights near the curve and Rodeo Grounds entrance; that caution light will flash more frequently when the crosswalk button is pushed
  • a separate bike/pedestrian path will be built from Lazy M St. west and north to Beug Corner (Willow Cr. Road)
  • 2 foot shoulders will be on the Highway from Lazy M to Beug Corner
  • 4 foot shoulders will be on the Highway from Beug Corner to the 5 mile point (end of this project)

In order to have speed limits reduced, the appropriate government agency (City of Red Lodge) must request action from the State Transportation Commission…then a study…then maybe a reduction. This Commission is separate from the MDOT. Lobby your City Council person if you want reduced speed limits on Highway 78 in the city limits.

Face of the Mountain Trailhead

The brand new trailhead for the Face of the Mountain Trail is in place and well-signed. Access is 3.3 miles south of Red Lodge on the Meeteetse Trail (county) Road [left off Highway 212 on the south edge of town, before the Forest Service Ranger Station]. This road has been graded this summer so is not a bad drive.

The trailhead and 1 1/4 mile of two track trail are on private land owned by Sunlight Ranch Co. The Forest Service has as easement with Sunlight and with the Bureau of Land Management for this part of the trail. At the BLM boundary (unmarked), it climbs on gentle switch backs of the original Beartooth Pass route– the Black & White Road –to the ridge top above the North Fork of Grove Cr. canyon.  [There is no trail down North Fork Grove Cr. canyon, but a steep cross-country descent will get you to a path out of there].

At the top of the ridge, the rebuilt trail heads south in the lodge pole pine forest, descending, then climbing to the next ridge (about one mile) which is above the South Fork Grove Cr. canyon. This is the newly purchased BLM area that has a cabin in the middle of it and a steep (non-motorized) road exiting east. The road currently has a gate near the outlet which is very unfriendly to horses (steep on each side with bolts sticking out). The BLM and the Backcountry Horsemen will be moving this gate and cleaning up near the cabin on National Public Lands Day, Sept. 24.

The FS plans to have the Montana Conservation Corps finish the connection between the South Fork Grove Cr. canyon and the rest of the Face of the Mountain trail over the hill to the south (app. 1 more mile) in September. That will give us about eight miles of trail from the trail head on Meeteetse Tr. Rd. to the Line Cabin near the Wyoming border, with exits down South Fork Grove Cr. and Robertson Draw Road.

Note: the Hole-In-The-Wall fire covers the south part of Face of the Mountain Trail and may also affect scheduled trail construction. Call the Forest Service at (406) 446-2103 for current closures and conditions.

Bighorn Canyon Trails Plan

Exciting news for trail supporters: Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area has a hiking & horseback trail plan (even some biking), and is asking for public comment until Sept. 18. A public information meeting will take place at the Visitor Center in Lovell Sept. 7, 6-8:00 pm. Check to read the plan or learn how to submit comments.

Supporter Spotlight

Jim White has been a member of the BRTA board for the past year. He recently accepted the position of Treasurer, a role for which he is well qualified, having many years experience in the finance field as a CPA and CFO for general construction, land development and engineering companies. He coached kids soccer and baseball for 14 years in Colorado.

Jim’s wife, Cheryl taught high school in Colorado for 18 years as well as teaching a few classes at Red Lodge High School. Born and raised in Butte, he and his family have also lived in Illinois and Colorado during his working years.

Jim and Cheryl moved to Red Lodge full time at Jim’s retirement in 2004. Jim really enjoys hiking, having done all the trails within an hour of Red Lodge. While not a Nordic skier, Jim did a superb job as Race Director for our last Nordic Fest, not an easy job. He Alpine skis a bit, and enjoys traveling and reading. He has been active with the Carbon County Search and Rescue for three years.

Forest Service Updates

Call or stop in at the Beartooth Ranger District office in Red Lodge for current information on trails and roads in the Beartooth Mountains, (406) 446-2103.

Quote of the Month

“How we treat our land, how we build upon it, how we act toward our air and water, will in the long run tell what kind of people we really are.”  – Laurance S. Rockefeller

Always consider yourself welcome at BRTA monthly Board meetings, second Wednesdays, at the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation building, (13th & Oakes, across from Post Office), 6:30 pm., or call your favorite Board member to learn what’s up with BRTA.