Savenac 2001 - Passport in Time

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Savenac Nursery

Lolo National Forest, Montana, 2001
by C. Milo McLeod, FS Archaeologist
The Lolo NF Heritage Team and a cadre of outstanding PIT volunteers completed another successful PIT project at the NRHP-listed Savenac Historic Nursery in July 2001. Forty-one volunteers worked with the Superior and Lolo Heritage staff for five days. These folks came from New York, Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, Montana, Texas, Virginia, Florida, Washington, North Carolina, Oklahoma, California, and Kentucky. The PIT volunteers donated a total of 1,550 hours during the course of the week, which, when conservatively valued at $13.50 per hour, resulted in a labor contribution of $21,000! As a result of their efforts, Savenac Nursery is being restored to its historic appearance while meeting its infrastructure maintenance requirements.

The theme of the 2001 Savenac PIT project should be “You name it, we did it.” The number of projects completed was truly amazing. Painting, restoration, grounds maintenance, trail construction and maintenance, and gathering information for a soon-to-be-published history of the nursery only begins to tell the story. Every task was accomplished professionally and without a single accident—a credit to the skill and positive attitude of the participants.

Although the days were seemingly long and hot (80°F plus), all was not work. After a long and productive first day on the job, the volunteers and PIT staff headed to the St. Paul Tunnel. This 1.8-mile-long engineering feat was created for the former Milwaukee Railroad, now the starting point of the Hiawatha Bike Trail. The cool breeze of the tunnel was a refreshing change for all of us. The next night, Superior District’s Carole Johnson presented a program on avalanches, complete with exceptionally graphic illustrations and safety tips. On Wednesday evening, the “fire” segment of the “fire and ice” program was provided by Clark Conrow of Superior. His PowerPoint presentation was essentially a mini “standards for survival” course complete with instructions for fire shelter deployment. Clark also brought in a cross section of a larch tree that had evidence of fire damage dating back to the 1400s!

Much of the credit for the planning and successful execution of this undertaking goes to Superior staff Carole Johnson, “Coon Dog” Schroeder, Mike Cole, and Cindy Chapman-Enstrom. These four, in company with Rodger Free and Sydney Wimbrow, undertook the supervisory and safety duties, as well as wielding an occasional hammer, rake, or paintbrush. The volunteers, however, are largely responsible for the success of the project.
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