By Robert Lucke
Havre's Johnny Appleseed, Gary Hillson, reports that tree planting is continuing at Beaver Creek Reservoir.
So far this year, 1,500 seedlings have been planted. Those along with 150 two- to three-foot high trees planted last year make a total of 1,650 trees, which one day should forest bays and inlets of the lake.
Still, though, Hillson needs help in caring for the trees.
"When people go out to the reservoir, it would be good if they brought a bucket with them and watered the trees," Hillson said. "This first year can make or break most of those trees."
This year's trees include Colorado blue spruce, Austrian pine, Western larch and green ash. The trees have been planted both on the east and west sides of the reservoir in bays and on the flats where Beaver Creek spills into the reservoir.
This year's trees were free to Beaver Creek Park and Hillson from Stream Team USA.
"Stream Team USA gets the trees in the form of grants from National tree trusts," Hillson said. "The tree trusts get the trees from nurseries in the northwest. It all worked out well for us this year."
Six people from Great Falls along with 10 or so locally met at the reservoir on Arbor Day to plant most of the 1,500 trees.
Hillson said that for him, next year will not be a year of planting like this one has been.
"I am not going to apply for trees next year, but wait until I see how many are doing good," Hillson said. "I will just wait and see what happens."
Don't think that means that Hillson is nearing the end of his Appleseed activities at Beaver Creek Reservoir.
"Ten thousand trees would be a good number," said Hillson, laughing. "That way we would get some that would survive for sure."
Hillson has a caution for other would-be Johnny Appleseeds.
"I would encourage people to talk to the commissioners before they go out and plant trees in the park. They need to get permission," warned Hillson. "There are some trees they just don't want growing out there, so check before you plant."
Interested in helping water trees or finish planting this year's crop or just looking for information? Contact Hillson at 265-6915.