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Butte Ranger District receives donation for trail upkeep

By Grace Ditzler, KTVM Reporter, gditzler@ktvm.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 02:29:29 AM MST
Updated On: Aug 29 2013 09:54:23 AM MDT
BUTTE, Mont. -

Budgets for the Forest Service in the Butte area have been declining for the last five years.

The Butte Ranger District just received a donation that will help them maintain and improve Butte's backyard recreation areas.

"We at Triple Ring Productions," said Butte 100 Race Coordinator Gina Evans, "wanted to pay it forward."

Evans loves to tell people the story of Triple Ring Productions and the Butte 100, a mountain bike race on the Centennial Divide Trail outside of Butte.

"Having this race right here in our hometown, is amazing in itself," said Evans.

Triple Ring Productions recently donated $1,500 to the Butte Ranger District to help with trail upkeep.

It's money Jocelyn Dodge knows is needed.

"When they're able to provide us with additional funding," Dodge explained, "we're able to continue providing for public information, making improvements with special projects on our trails, and really make sure the butte trail system that's something not only for the community but for all our visitors for the community."

But declining budgets are key.

$1,500 may not seem like a huge amount of money, but the Forest Service said that's actually about ten percent of their yearly budget.

Dodge boils it down this way:
Last year, the Forest Service put $15,000 toward its seasonal trail system. To put that in context, it costs the Forest Service from $10,000 to $15,000 just to hire one seasonal worker.

Dodge said every donated dollar can lead to five to ten times as much in different grants, which is what they hope to do with this donation.

Welcome news, when you consider trail maintenance is a never-ending task.

Dodge explained, "the primary issue we have is with trail clearing with the tremendous amount of dead trees we have. The other major job is to deal with the erosion issues we have because of our soils and heavy traffic. The more we can do the maintenance on this trail, the less likely we're going to have to build that trail."

Evans explained this money will allow others to continue to enjoy the trails.

"If we upkeep it, and help upkeep it with this donation, it will help sustain it for the future," she said.

The Forest Service also tells NBC Montana they recently learned about another donation from Butte's P&M Runners, another group that takes advantage of the trails.