Havre Daily News
A walking trail that has been used informally by Havreites for years may soon be getting a makeover, thanks to some grant funding and community help, Havre Mayor Bob Rice said.
The trail, which runs atop the Bullhook Dike for 2 miles, has been used by residents for years, Rice said. He said he wants to add a better walking surface, benches and trash cans along the route to benefit walkers and runners. The city has received donation of material and funding pledges, and a benefit run is in the planning stages.
The path begins at Fifth Avenue just beyond the Havre Ice Dome and continues on to Saddle Butte Road, Rice said.
"Right now it's just a trail that people have been walking on," Rice said. "We want to put some benches and some amenities up there so people can rest and relax."
The city also plans on adding magnesium chloride to the trail and rolling it to create a smoother walking surface, Rice said.
Rice said at last week's Havre City Council meeting that he had received a $5,000 pledge from the Lions Club and added that the city was applying to the Sletter Fund for additional money. He has forwarded his proposal to the City Council's Parks and Recreation Committee. Council member and committee chair Allen "Woody" Woodwick said he thinks the plan is a good idea.
"I love it," he said. "I'd like to see some walking trails all around town, and this is a good start. I get out and take some walks early in the morning, and it's amazing how many people areout at 6 a.m. I know this will be used."
Rice said he has received positive reactions to his proposal so far from the community. Bill Baltrusch, who owns a construction company, donated gravel to help resurface the trail. Baltrusch said Rice had asked him for a price on the material but he was glad to donate it.
"He said they were going to build a trail and were looking for a price on some gravel," Baltrusch said. "I just gave it to him. Mayor Rice has done some good things for this city. I think this will be a nice place for people to walk. It's a nice area."
Rice said he was pleased with the donation and will propose that the City Council name the path the Bill Baltrusch Nature Trail.
"He's done a lot of things for this community over the years," Rice said of Baltrusch. "He's a heck of a guy."
Rice added that he has also received an offer from a citizen to pay for a new fence at the entrance.
"People are getting excited about this and I think it's a good thing," Rice said.
Havre assistant fire chief Tim Ranes said he is planning to hold a benefit run to support the improvements to the trail. The race would begin near the U.S. Border Patrol office and continue along the trail, with runners having the choice of a one-mile or five-mile jaunt, he said. He said the race is planned for the third weekend of June.
"We hope to have a meeting this week with some runners and get some of the businesses involved," Ranes said.
Woodwick said the only possible hurdle would be whether or not the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which had expressed concerns about using the dike for a walking path in the past, will allow the city to move forward with the improvements.
The city contacted the corps last year and was told it could move forward as long as it didn't pave the trail, Rice said. "They told us we have to keep dirt on it," he said.