By Robert Lucke
In the regular monthly Hill County Park Board Meeting, park board members heard about plans to reclaim portions of Rotary Pond.
Ron Wolford, representing the Havre Rotary Club, inquired as to what improvements in the area the county was planning on making.
Hill County Road Supervisor, Jerry Otto, had some tentative suggestions about Rotary Pond which had been filled with gravel during the July flood of 1998.
We are thinking of maybe extending the pond and getting the 7000 yards of gravel out that is in there now, said Otto. After we do that we are not planning ever to go back into that area. If we do any more mining in that area, we will be doing it away from the pond.
At present county officials are waiting for a permitting process to take place.
Kent Gilge, Havre fish biologist with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, inquired as to the status of the Park Board removing the 10-horsepower rule on Beaver Creek Reservoir.
A letter was read to the Park Board from Shane Reno, area FWP Warden suggesting that the ten horsepower requirements be removed from Beaver Creek Reservoir for a two year trial period.
We decided to leave the ten horsepower rule as it is, said Board member Kathy Eskestrand. Big boys would come in and catch all the fish and leave the little aluminum boats and canoes with no fish at all.
It was my understanding that with the no wake rule, you were going to have a survey to find out what thoughts are out there, said Gilge. People want the simplification. I am deluged with calls. No wake does not allow anyone to do anything out there but put. There is a tremendous number of people who would like to utilize that fishing out there more. It is an up and coming walleye fishery. That is why I thought the survey would be good, to find out what people think. I think that reservoir needs to be utilized more than it is.
Weve got to remember that the reservoir is three fold, flood control, irrigation and recreation, said Hill County Commissioner Kathy Bessette. Calls I get are not about the wake, they are about the lack of facilities at the dam. Not enough restrooms. Things like that.
It would take a game warden to be there constantly, especially on the weekends, added Board Member Dean Hanson. I drive out by Fresno all the time and it is a nightmare. They dont care what the regulations are.
I have yet to see a no wake area that people obeyed. No one seems to enforce it, said Hill County Commissioner Doug Kaercher. Down at the Gate of the Mountains there is a no wake rule. There is no enforcement. When people are way down at the end and want to get home, they turn on the engines and go.
Park Board members kept the 10-horsepower requirement on Beaver Creek Reservoir.
People camping and driving through Beaver Creek Park have been seeing mountain lions. Park officials remind recreationalists there are mountain lions out there and to be careful around them.
Lou Hagener appeared at the Park Board to address the issue of a fence along new portions of Beaver Creek roads.
It occurs to me as I see all the things happening, and maybe things will get better with the state, I would like to go the stockmen and mitigate things to be done, said Hagener. I looked at the accidents. Of the 21 reported, seven involved livestock. Fifty-nine percent occurred between 8 and 9:30 p.m. Only one was during daylight, 71 percent were in September and 43 percent occurred in the first 10 days. (There were cattle in the park.) Seventy-one percent of the accidents occurred in the middle and one third of the park. Maybe we could use flashing lights or the cattle could go on six days later. Maybe just graze one third of the park at a time. Is the Park Board willing to work with us or is it cast in cement? You know it used to be there was a big stone sign going into the park. Right now it is not as conspicuous. Maybe we need to make the entrance more conspicuous.
Nothing is cast in stone, responded Commissioner Bessette. It isnt a done deal. We are meeting with the state and one of the head engineers. They are hearing the people of Havre. You know our beliefs. We need the stock and the road isnt going to be a speedway.
It isnt a done deal, said Commissioner Kaercher. We are going to give them some ideas. I really dont think it will get changed through the department. It will go to the legislature. We are early now. We need to establish lines of communication and right now the department is saying we may look for alternatives.
Time and delay will work to our advantage, said Hanson. It gives us more time to think and find some new avenues The road is in a park and we are one of the few county parks. That should give the government the ability to make some changes.
Fish Biologist Gilge got the boards approval to continue to work with secondary funding from the road project to improve trout habitat in the park by building deeper holes in the stream for fish.
Park superintendent, Bernie Golie reported that although he had no figures yet, park hay income should be above average even though there was not the growing time this year due to cold early summer conditions.
Conditions look adequate for cattle grazing in 30 days according to Dean Hanson.
It looks like we will have plenty of grazing capacity, said Hanson. We are going to try and work on new applications that want to come on. The north end of the park is the best grazing we have had for years.
The next regular Park Board Meeting will be at 7 p.m. Sept. 7 in the courthouse meeting room.