Lolo National Forest, Montana, 1997
by Timothy Light, Assistant Archaeologist
In July 1997, the Superior Ranger District and Lolo NF heritage staff, with the assistance of the newly formed “Friends of Savenac,” completed the second PIT project at Savenac Nursery. Volunteers helped with a number of tasks necessary for the maintenance, restoration, and interpretation of Savenac Nursery and its eventual use as a visitor welcome center and cabin rental. These tasks included clearing brush, pruning trees, cleaning and redefining the trail to the arboretum, additional work on the interpretive trail, a lot of miscellaneous yard work and rock picking in the grounds, painting the bunkhouse, and preparing the west residence for painting. On Friday, the volunteers participated in the 7th Annual Savenac/CCC reunion. This year the reunion included a rededication of the arboretum and the symbolic planting of two seedlings to keep this living memorial alive. The arboretum was originally dedicated to the 78 firefighters who died in the Great Fire of 1910.
A total of 29 volunteers contributed over 1,000 hours in 5 days of hard work. The volunteers included people recruited locally, many of the district’s campground hosts, and people from around the nation who learned about the project through the PIT Traveler. Several volunteers were returnees from the first PIT project at Savenac in 1996. Carole Johnson, Liz Gupton, Wally Schrock, and C. D. Schroeder, all from the Superior Ranger District, and myself, of the heritage staff, provided technical expertise and supervision for the PIT volunteers. The volunteers camped on the grounds or stayed in the bunkhouse at Savenac or in Lincoln’s Motel, next to the nursery. Excellent meals were prepared and served in the cookhouse by Linda Hayden, Superior Ranger District, and District Ranger Cindy Enstrom. Administrative support was provided by Sandy Green from the district and by Becky Chapman of the supervisor’s office.
The rededication of the arboretum and the annual reunion were facilitated by Laura Courser, Mary Jo Lommen, Dani Hegwood, Stacy Tourtelotte, Roger Kesting, and Sandy Green, all from the Superior Ranger District. Bud Mason, retired Savenac nurseryman, spoke at the dedication.
The Savenac Nursery PIT project for 1997 was another great success thanks to the excellent support from the Superior Ranger District, staff, Friends of Savenac, and the many enthusiastic volunteers.