By Robert Lucke
At the regular March park board meeting, Michael D. Horn, landscape architect with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, presented the board with drawings of a master plan for Beaver Creek Reservoir.
"I do the design work for all state parks and this is sort of a master plan for your use at Beaver Creek Reservoir," Horn said. It is just a rough idea and even though as you see it, it may look finished. It isn't even close. It is just ideas really of where you might want to go."
Horn discussed the many roads that crisscross the site and how building a few good graveled roads along with closing other roads would make the area look much better, stop erosion, and make for easier access to the lake.
Horn had design ideas for every area of the lake along with the area below the dam on the west side.
"This is just a start," Horn said. "Please make notes on this (referring to the design map of the area). From this, you can set priorities and decide what you want to do. This could be a preliminary planning document for you."
"Most of our concerns out there are the roads," park superintendent Bernie Golie said.
"That is the problem area," agreed board member Steve Mariani. "There are roads all over the side of the lake now."
"Do you think it would be better to do it all at once or a little at a time?" asked board chairperson Kathy Eskestrand.
"I would think the boat ramp area is a priority," replied Horn. "If you are like us, we never have enough money to finish it all at once, so we pick one area to start with and just do it."
"It might help if we identified major roads, graveled them and got them established," board member John Goebel said.
"Let's get the map, get some park board members, go out and identify where we want roads to be," Golie said.
Woody Baxter, region six park's manager for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, introduced himself to the group and told them that he would be running the fishing access site around Bear Paw Lake out of his Glasgow office.
Park board members expressed concern that there is so much matted grass around Bear Paw Lake that it could be an enormous fire hazard in a dry year.
Horn told board members that he would gather information about the best way to deal with that grass and then he will get back to the board with a plan as to what to do.
"I want to look at all the options in dealing with this and then see what we should do," Baxter said.
Hill County weed supervisor Terry Turner talked to the board about the burdock digs that occur yearly in Beaver Creek Park. They are done by school children after preliminary classes in school about weeds and burdock.
"So far, we have dug 700 pounds of root or 17,000 plants with 40,000 seeds per plant," Turner said. "Where we have dug the burdock, by the third year good grass has come in and reseeded those areas."
"That is one of the best programs we have ever had up there," board member Dean Hanson said.
Turner said that they haul the burdock roots to Columbus, Mont. where it is made into burdock tea and shipped all over the world. Burdock gatherers are paid $1.25 a pound for the root.
It was reported by Hill COunty Commissioner Pat Conway that the Beaver Creek Park fence waiver bill has passed the Senate with no opposition and is now being looked at by the House Agriculture Committee.
The park board discussed safety issues that would have to be provided for in Beaver Creek Park if the waiver is passed along with the development of new springs.
Park board members voted unanimously to raise park cabin leases from $135 to $185 a year. Rising garbage and landfill costs was sited as the reason.
The next regular park board meeting will be held at the Justice Center Courtroom on April 2 at 7 p.m.