Montana - Lolo NF
Savenac Historic Nursery Restoration Project XXIV
Savenac Historic Nursery
July 14-19, 2019 (including weekends)
Must commit to entire session
In 1905, 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 at Savenac Nursery began with just one bucket of paint! PIT volunteers have helped maintain our buildings and grounds 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.
This marks the Nursery's 24th PIT project and, once again, we need your help to keep this site at its best! This year, we will continue working on restoring the East Cottage; repairing windows, building screens, installing storm doors and, of course, just a little bit of painting to get it ready for the Cabin Rental program. Those forming our “grounds crews” will maintain the current interpretive trails (ensuring wood chips and rails are in place), with the gardening crew pruning lilacs and irises. We will also continue our work on the walkway stones, and maintain the Christmas tree plantation. Our special construction projects this year include building a wood shed for the group campfire ring, and replacing the turn-styles near the front entrance. Any budding photographers out there? Because, we will photograph each building this year to update the cultural resource record – we haven’t submitted anything from the Nursery since 1991, so it is about time! As July nears, we may have more projects in the queue – other opportunities are likely pop up during the spring thaw – but we can count on these projects for starters.
If you are new to PIT, this is the deluxe of PIT projects, just ask any of our volunteers! We have many who have returned year after year. We have seen many a young families come in and with adult supervision, we have helped our youth gain skills in carpentry, trail maintenance, and just good, old-fashioned, hard work. By the end of the week, 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. Also, on the Lolo NF, we provide food and housing for our volunteers! We provide a continental breakfast with cereal, oatmeal, and bagels; lunch is typically leftovers from the previous evening’s meal. In order to keep up the cheery atmosphere, we provide home-baked cookies and fruit morning and afternoon. Dinner is always hot and hearty, with fresh-baked cakes and ice cream to top it off. So, come on home to Savenac Nursery once again!
Number of openings: 25
Special skills: Construction, carpentry, painting, general grounds-keeping, landscaping, and/or restoration skills helpful, but not required
Minimum age: 4 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; 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 6, 2019