By Tim Leeds
If anyone says, "There's nothing to do around here," he must not realize the number people, both volunteers and people on the job, working tirelessly to provide recreation.
People in the area take making recreation happen very seriously. Activities are available for all ages and in an incredible variety of types. People in the community can get involved in softball, art, soccer, drama, hockey, baseball, volleyball, rodeo and more; can hike, fish or camp, downhill ski, water ski and cross country ski; can picnic or participate in organized activities in a park; join the bowhunters or black powder shooters; join in activities at the library, and that's just the beginning. This list of activities is so incomplete calling it "a short list of things to do" is an understatement.
It's the people of the area who make recreation possible. Countless dedicated people put in endless hours of work to make just about every possible form of recreation possible.
The services range from reading a book or participating in a workshop at the library to skiing in the Bear Paws to fishing at Fresno Reservoir to visiting Chief Joseph's Bear Paw Battlefield. It takes time and work to make these things possible, and this area has the people to do it.
In the city limits, there are about 20 parks maintained for the recreation of community members. Former Public Works Director Ron Bastin even discovered one south of Havre High School that no one remembered before he found it again.
There is a group cooperative effort to make the city parks enjoyable for community citizens. People can reserve parks for specific use, and the city also provides or coordinates special activities. City crews take care of the parks, mowing and trimming them and making sure the watering systems work, making the areas more pleasant for whatever recreation they are used for. Community members also donate time and money to keep up and improve the parks, and that's outside of the many service organizations and special groups that also work on the parks.
The Optimists, Soroptimists, Eagles, Elks, Rotarians, and Lions clubs are just some of the organizations that work to help maintain and use the city parks for enjoyment and recreation. There are also individual donations to improve the areas, such as the Ali Wagner Memorial Fund, from the Ken Wagner family, which helps provide the baseball field in Optimists Park; clubs and associations also work to provide, maintain and improve the parks.
The amount of people and organizations coordinating efforts just to provide softball and baseball to the community is immense. Service groups, the ballclub groups and the city crews coordinate work to improve and maintain the fields and provide the recreation.
City baseball in Havre has been available for years. The fastpitch association alone has been in the city for close to or more than 70 years, and there are clubs and teams in a variety of areas.
The Havre Youth Baseball Association organizes activities for C League, B League, A League, Babe Ruth and Legion baseball, as well as girl's softball. For adults, the Sixth Avenue Softball Association has groups providing men's fastpitch and men's, women's and coed slowpitch, and the Slowpitch Association coordinates games at the Slowpitch Complex just south of town.
Other groups and individuals also work to provide recreation at the parks, such as the area volleyball association providing sand-pit volleyball at Heritage Park, and city, group and individual work to provide the tennis courts at North Elks Park by the high school.
Still more groups have organized for other activities, which provide additional benefits besides the recreation they provide, just like the activities mentioned before do.
The Havre Youth Hockey Association is providing recreation for the youth of the city, and their Ice Dome built just south of town could providing a community center for other activities as well as hockey. Community members, businesses and organizations have been contributing large amounts of time, work and money both for the games and behind the scenes for this activity.
The Havre Youth Soccer Association is providing coaching and playing time for some 500 other Havre youths. The association could eventually help form a new sport for the high school, as well as providing city-wide recreation.
The community pool is another area of recreation for children and adults. The pool provides lessons for all ages, from infant and adult; recreational swimming; lap swimming; family swimming, and aquatic exercising. Chris O'Donnell, the aquatics director for the parks and recreation department, coaches the Lions Swim Team and the Havre High School Swim Team as well as coordinating the activities and the staff at the pool.
That's just the beginning. Havre has clubs for black powder shooters, bowhunters, radio control flyers, hunters, fishers, quilters, art enthusiasts, and more. The Bullhook Bottoms Black Powder Club, the Saddle Butte Radio Control Flying Cub, The Bear Paw Bowhunters, the Rocky Mountain Elks Foundation, Pheasants Unlimited, Ducks Unlimited and the Fresno Chapter of Walleyes Unlimited are just a few specialty organizations that provide recreational opportunities and help maintain recreational areas in the region.
Many of these groups work to take care of areas for recreation out of town, as well as service organizations and county and state employees. The areas available for recreation, such as at Fresno Reservoir and in Beaver Creek Park, are often maintained by cooperative efforts between different individuals, groups and employees, and provide an incredible variety of entertainment for residents and visitors alike.
Wintertime recreation also abounds in the area. As well as icefishing and cross country skiing, Havre is one of about six or seven cities in the state with its own downhill ski area. The Bear Paw Ski Bowl is located in the Chippewa Cree Recreation Area, which also provides an area for camping, fishing, hiking, cross country skiing and snowmobiling.
The Snowdance Ski Association provides the skiing, with employees running the double chair lifts and beginner tow rope to the 25 slopes. The volunteer Eagle Creek Ski Patrol, which was named ski patrol of the year for this five-state region of the National Ski Division, starts working in early fall and goes through early spring, cleaning and maintaining trails and making sure the sport is a safe and enjoyable form of recreation in the area.
This list doesn't begin to list the different recreations that are available in the area, for children or adults, free or for a fee, physical or mental, active or casual. So many people are involved in providing recreation, in so many areas, it would take a small book to list them.
The Havre area takes recreation very seriously, especially in providing opportunity for youth. Individuals, groups and organizations have long histories of providing organization, locations, services, training, coaching, equipment and more for virtually any activity that could happen in the area.
Whatever recreation is desired, be it just down the street or a few hours drive away, it can usually be found. And, it's the people of Havre and the area that work to make this possible.