By Robert Lucke
At the regular February Park Board meeting, the proposed fence running through Beaver Creek Park continued to monopolize discussion.
Lou Hagener appeared before the board to give an overview of the fence project that was agreed upon by the fence advisory committee. The fence project chosen was a variable fence running through the park from north entrance to the Taylor Road.
"Not everyone is in agreement but this is the one we will go with if we don't get a variance," said Hagener.
Hagener related that of all the proposals this one was a compromise. It was not the best for everyone, nor the worst.
Now, though, time is of the essence according to Hagener.
"What is happening right now is we are under the gun for an environmental assessment. That needs to be completed by March 1, so the Department of Transportation can schedule their public meetings this summer," added Hagener.
Board person Dean Hanson had words of praise for livestock interests in Beaver Creek Park.
"I hear a lot about the park for recreation," Hanson said. "Livestock has to be defined because they pay $60,000 dollars for their cattle. Without them there is no way to maintain that park. I will continue to defend livestock in the park. It was a part of it from the very beginning."
"I hear a lot about cow pies in the campgrounds," said Board Chairman Goebel. "But think how those cattle cut down the fire danger. And more and more I look at the fence and it is not bothering as much. I talked to people today. They are not bothered with it either like they were before."
"These are just recommendations," added board member Kathy Eskestrand. "These are not set in stone. They go to the commissioners and from there who knows."
"As a board we need to thank Lou Hagener," said Hanson. "He has attended several meetings. We certainly appreciate what you are doing, Lou. We are going to work with you."
Local Walleye representatives Very Gagnon and Mike Badgley addressed the Park Board. They are interested in providing money and man power to further develop Beaver Creek Reservoir.
"What we would like to ask is you give us a plan and we'll do it," said Gagnon. "Like how many fire pits etc. Before we all go out we need a request from you. We would like to know what you have planned out there."
"Do you have a time limit for our request?" asked Eskestrand.
"Well, we can't do anything before the end of March anyway," said Gagnon.
Park Board members voted to enter into an agreement with Rocky Boy Reservation to repair the fence that borders the reservation and park. Board members agreed to purchase materials with reservation personal contributing the labor to rebuild that fence.
Board members are still working on the Normandy Coulee cabin owner not in compliance with park rules.
People were caught wood cutting in the park and advised that it is against park regulations. However, with a lot of dead wood in the park these days, it seemed conceivable to, in the park future and on a limited basis, allow wood cutting in the park.
"There is lots of timber down all over the park," related park superintendent Bernie Golie.
"If someone wanted to cut some of the dead timber down, we could give them permission," added Goebel.
"Due to the heavy windfall damage it would be to our benefit," said Hanson. "Maybe they could give fifty percent of the wood to the park and keep fifty percent for themselves."
"Maybe we could look at that for next fall," said Golie.
The Hill County Conservation District sent a letter to the park board stating there are two roads in the park badly eroding. One road is south of Eagle Rock on the east side of the park and the other is north of the first turnoff into Bear Paw Lake where a makeshift road joins with an older park road in that area.
The Board chairman directed Superintendent Golie to meet with the conservation district to see what they could work out regarding those eroding roads.
The superintendent's office billed 1999 as an average year for park revenue.
Cattle in the park took in $53,145.62. There were expenses of salt for $809.00 and warning signs of $250.26.
Youth camp fees in 1999 were $8057.50.
Cabin owners in 1999 contributed $16,875.00 to the park treasury.
Park permits totaled $14,997.50. From that $599.90 was paid to the State of Montana in bed tax fees.
In 1999 the park received electric and telephone dividends of $920.31 and $154.32.
Restitution money turned into the park by the court system in 1999 came to $246.00 making total revenues for 1999 of $100,575.85.
The next regular Park Board meeting will be on March 6, 2000; 7 p.m. in the Detention Center court room.