By Alkali Springs Correspondent
Sometimes there is something just so good to report that it makes for a good feeling just when writing the words.
In spite of our oasis the beautiful Bear Paw Mountains we really live in the midst of mostly treeless prairies that roll on endlessly from Glacier National Park clear to North Dakota. Pioneers even saw fewer trees, for most of the cottonwoods growing by rivers had been chopped down to make log houses.
Our grandmother Lucke reported that on early Fourth of July celebrations in Havre willows were cut down by the river and "planted" along the parade route to give the impression that there were trees growing in Havre. So in one long lifetime or two short lifetimes, we have come from that to the urban forest that envelopes the whole of Havre and her environs.
In our Havre time, we have known three genuine Johnny Appleseeds who have gone out of their way to make their property or public property more beautiful by continuously planting trees for everyone to enjoy.
The first was Dr. George Jestrab. You could always find his homes by the forest that popped up around them. As a child walking to school, our first experience in seeing Lombardy poplars growing in Havre was in the beautiful back yard of his First Avenue residence. Later, when he built his new house by the cemetery, a forest immediately sprang up around it as well. And everyone could identify his lot out at Fresno. It was the one with the forest on it.
And there is Don Vaupel, who forested two homes in town before moving to his huge forest west of the airport. There is something to be said for someone who can take a prairie and turn it into a magnificent fir and spruce retreat acres and acres of forest, at that.
And there is Gary Hillson. He is the Johnny Appleseed who has gone to Beaver Creek Reservoir for three or four springs now and planted and planted and planted trees all around the lake. He also has been known for his tiny signs by the trees asking the rest of us to help him by watering those trees.
This spring is no different for Hillson. He is out at the reservoir once again, this time planting about 1,300 more trees. They include sugar maple, paper birch, green ash, mugo pine, Austrian pine, Norway pine and jack pine.
He writes that the first lake is now " just a mud puddle. The water situation is just terrible, but in spite of low water levels the good Lord has given us good moisture in the form of rain and a heavy blanket of snow with more of the latter on the way. I felt I needed to press on' with my insane attempt to try to make the world a better place."
Sure a good thing to have those Johnny Appleseeds in our midst, isn't it? Makes everything better for all of us.