Montana - Lolo NF
Savenac Historic Nursery Restoration Project 2017
The Pond at Savenac Historic Tree Nursery
July 9-15, 2017 (including weekends)
Must commit to entire session
In 1905, the then Forest Supervisor, Elers Koch, was on a honeymoon trip with his young bride when he came across an abandoned homestead, which, he discovered, was previously owned by the German settler, Savennach. He decided then and there that this was to be the location of the Region 1 tree nursery. It was ideally situated on the Mullan road, and close by were the railroads to help deliver saplings across the region. His dream was soon tested in the Great Burn of 1910, wherein millions of acres were burned and several towns were lost, including parts of Savenac Nursery. However, the Nursery was rebuilt and, within five years, had over 15 million seedlings delivered throughout the region.
During the Depression-era of the 1930s, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) developed the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), which brought hundreds of young men out to work across the nation. Camp Taft was located just across the St. Regis River where hundreds of CCC men were employed. Their work – the buildings, bridges, trails, and even the trees that exist today – can still be seen at Savenac and, because of this association and that of the development of the early Forest Service, Savenac has been honored with placement on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). However, the heyday of the Nursery ended in 1969, when the nursery at Coeur d’Alene opened and Savenac closed. It was later used for multiple purposes, such as housing the Youth Adult Conservation Corps in the 1970s, but it remained mostly idle for the next 30 years. That is, until 1995, when the first Passport in Time (PIT) project began with one bucket of paint! PIT volunteers have helped maintain our buildings at Savenac since that time – no small feat by any means – and, combining your efforts with those of Forest staff, the legacy and beauty of Savenac endures. So, come on home to Savenac Nursery once again!
This year will mark the Nursery’s 22nd PIT project, and even with our work to maintain the historic characteristics at Savenac all these years, our buildings are over eighty years old, and are in need of continued, tender loving care. Our main project this year will be to work on the East Residence, priming and painting; District staff will prepare the building, and be ready for us when we arrive. Additional tasks will include carpentry work and replacement and installation of storm windows at the West Residence; building a replacement, ‘in-kind’ door for the “seed shed,” and stabilizing the east porch on the bunkhouse. Further, our grounds crews will be looking to develop an additional side trail to the “old cone shed,” maintaining the current interpretive trail (keeping wood chips and rails in place), and assigning a gardening crew to prune the lilacs and irises, among many other duties that may pop up (literally) during the spring thaw. Finally, we will continue work on the walkway stones, and continue with the Christmas tree plantation maintenance. As July nears, we may have more projects in the que, but we can count on these projects for our starters – you know: all small stuff!
If you are new to PIT, this is the deluxe of PIT projects. We have many volunteers who have returned year after year. We have seen many young families come in and grow up with us, then bring their own kids with them. Under adult supervision, we have helped our youth gain skills in carpentry, trail maintenance, and just good, old-fashion hard work. And, at the end of each project, we all get to see our accomplishments and have a small celebration remembering and honoring a number of people who have brought us to where we are today. We need your help to keep this site at its best, so join us again this summer!
Number of openings: 25
Special skills: Construction, carpentry, painting, general grounds-keeping, landscaping, and/or restoration skills helpful, but not required; previous plumbing experience would be a nice set of skills to have, too (also helpful, but not required)!
Minimum age: 10 years old; under 18 with a responsible adult
Facilities: Housing available in FS bunkhouse at no charge; separate men’s and women’s sections; a few individual rooms; tent and RV camping available on site at no charge; no potable water; no hook-ups; shower facilities available in the Cookhouse for those who are camping; St. Regis (~15 miles east of Savenac) is a full-service community with motels, restaurants, and a range of other amenities; lodging also available next door at ‘Lincoln’s $50,000 Motel;’ meals and snacks provided by FS (breakfast is self-serve with a variety of options such as cold cereal, muffins, bagels, oatmeal, fruit, juice and plenty of coffee; lunch is usually leftovers from the previous evening’s meal; morning and afternoon breaks often include home baked cookies and fruit; dinner is hot, and hearty enough to sustain the volunteers after a long day’s work); volunteers responsible for personal camping equipment; volunteers wishing to stay at the bunkhouse must provide own bedding; off-site lodging and daily transportation to and from work site at volunteer expense; please note: nights can be rather chilly even though it is summer
Nearest towns: St. Regis, 15 miles; Superior, 30 miles
Applications due: May 29, 2017