The rain was coming down steadily during the drive from Belgrade to Logan on the morning of May 1, 2022. Not a downpour, but enough that it could make for a long day and possibly deter folks less hearty than those who joined the Montana Chapter of BHA in our Logan Area cleanup.
Our efforts focused on DNRC state trust land, just west of the Logan Landfill, primarily a mile long section along Buffalo Jump Road and a single site along 2 Dog Road, heading towards the landfill. With the proximity to Bozeman and Belgrade, this area is seeing a big uptick in use. The open space is good for all types of shooting. Unfortunately, from the roads you can see hillsides covered in orange from shooting clays, wood and other debris from the targets, all of it left for the next person to worry about. When you get out and inspect the popular spots there is countless brass, shotgun hulls and wads, plus a variety of plastic and glass that’s been destroyed. But Montana BHA members were there to heed the call and help clean up the area!
Fortunately, the rains stopped around 8:15 am and when we started we had 25 volunteers ready to get to work! To help ensure safety, and to deter shooters, we spread out in groups over the entire area. We even had a group three young men arrive wanting to shoot but thought joining our group cleaning was a better use of their time. There were also several nearby property owners who stopped by while we were working to thank us for our efforts. One of them did ask us to contact DNRC about the abuse that goes on out there and hopefully get more wardens in the area.
As luck would have it, FWP Warden Josh Leonard stopped by a little while later. He was passing by and wanted to thank everyone for the work we were doing and was willing to answer our questions. Leonard informed us that the area is one of the most patrolled DNRC lands in the state, with many weekends spent talking with shooters, making sure they have their state recreation use permit and educating them on what their responsibilities are when they’re done shooting. As MT BHA members, we can help by advocating for public lands, fostering good relationships within our community and mentoring the next generation of responsible hunters and anglers.
In the end we had 30 hearty souls spend their Sunday morning cleaning and doing their part to act as stewards for our public lands. We didn’t get the area spotless, but it was a great improvement over when we arrived and we hope to build a sense of ownership in the community and encourage our fellow sportsmen and women to leave it better than they found it when hunting, fishing, shooting or recreating on public lands. We've cleaned these lands before and know how important the positive impact we make can be.
No public lands packout day would be complete without a hot lunch. Our friends at Burch Barrel and FHF Gear supported our efforts by providing delicious elk burgers cooked fresh and served piping hot, and our volunteers found out first hand how great it is to eat, tell stories and share experiences around a Burch Barrel. Jaime & Caleb Teigen of Burch Barrel and Field to Table Dinner fame were instrumental in planning, cooking and getting down and dirty to clean these public lands! We cannot thank them enough for their passion and dedication. We enjoyed some more Q&A with Warden Leonard and talked with DNRC staff about how to help in the future. Additional thanks are needed for Gallatin County for waiving the drop fees at the landfill.
In total, we hauled 2,400 pounds of trash to Logan Landfill and we couldn't be more proud of the huge impact we made! Thank you to our amazing MT BHA volunteers who kicked butt in the name of conservation!
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Images provided by Gallatin Board Member Chris McCarthy, Southwest Board Member Scott DeSena, and MT BHA member Rachelle Schrute.