Savenac 2021 - Passport in Time

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Savenac Historic Nursery Restoration Project XXV

Lolo National Forest, Montana, 2021
by Carole Johnson, Superior District Ranger

The Superior Ranger District, along with a group of volunteers, completed another successful Passport in Time (PIT) project on the Lolo National Forest (NF) at Savenac Historic Tree Nursery in Haugan, MT. This was the 25th annual project at Savenac Historic Nursery, a property listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The project ran from the 11th through the 16th of July 2021. Fifty-six volunteers worked with Recreation Staff Heather Berman, Lolo Archaeologist Syd Bacon and Savenac volunteer hosts for six days. A total of twenty states. were represented: from Arizona to Virginia, Washington to Wisconsin. As a result of volunteer efforts, Savenac Nursery continues being restored to its historic appearance in addition to meeting its unique infrastructure maintenance requirements.

Savenac's Silver Anniversary was no different in the variety of tasks accomplished. Aside from the usual workload of grounds keeping, tree trimming, oiling posts and benches, picnic table upkeep; and miscellaneous painting, many large projects were completed. The men's side of the Bunkhouse received much needed attention; new flooring and wall patching and painting. All the bunkbeds were sanded, repaired and re-stained, which took a crew most of the week. A concrete foundation was poured for the tool shed (Snoopy House), and rotten siding was replaced. The bathtub and surround in the West Cottage was replaced by a small crew. The Packing Shed bathroom was spruced up with a coat of paint, and a mirror and cabinet were. hung. A kiosk was constructed for the 1910 sign in the Memorial Garden and the dilapidated bench was replaced. The bathroom in Coon Dog's shop was painted. In fact, painting was a bigger deal than usual this year; all cabin rentals on site were painted from the ground up in preparation for the large snow loads received in the winter.

During the Sunday evening orientation, volunteers watched a slideshow put together by Erika Scheuring of all past projects at Savenac. Images of past projects and friends, some no longer with us, stirred up bittersweet memories, Wednesday's field trip was to Missoula's Museum of Mountain Flying and the National Museum of Forest Service History. John Haines gave us an up-close tour of Miss Montana, a WWII plane that still flies today. We enjoyed the self-guided tour at the Forest Service Museum after a sack lunch.

We were fed well by our dedicated kitchen crew, providing home-cooked meals and tasty salads. Heather and Robert barbecued chicken and pork chop dinners. Coolers of water were abundantly located at each workstation. Freshly baked cookies, fruit and nutritious meals were welcomed at break times and at the end of the long workday.

Friday's Reunion was attended by many old friends of Savenac. Award plaques were given out to six longtime participants: retired Lolo Forest Archaeologist Milo McLeod gave a presentation of the history of PIT on the Lolo NF. Gift bags with a commemorative silver coin and sticker with the 25th anniversary logo were given out to all attendees. The 2021 Savenac Silver Anniversary PIT project marks the 55th PIT project on the Lolo since its inception in 1996.

Despite limitations due to COVID, every project was accomplished efficiently and safely, a tribute to the volunteers and the coordinators. Success in planning and executing this undertaking goes to Lolo NF staff- Heather Berman, Nancy Parkin, Syd Bacon, Kim Earhart and Matt Doughty. They assumed the supervisory and safety duties as well as wielding the occasional rake or paintbrush (and camera).
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