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Old cars litter Bridger Creek, FWP plans removal

By Grace Ditzler, KTVM Reporter, gditzler@ktvm.com
Published On: Jan 07 2014 10:35:19 PM MST
Updated On: Jan 07 2014 10:56:23 PM MST
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is hoping to get rid of a huge eyesore in a Bozeman-area creek.

Nearly 50 cars have been dumped into Bridger Creek along a mile-long stretch of the creek from Story Mill Road east to Bridger Canyon Road, in the area of the Bridger Creek subdivision.

Fish, Wildlife and Parks hope to remove the car parts.

"Using cars for bank stabilization was fairly common back in the early 1900s," explained Regional Fisheries Manager Travis Horton. "In the 1960s was when it was actually stopped, so there's lots of places around the state where you'll find car bodies still associated with the stream bank."

The cars have been there for decades.

"The cars and car parts have been an eyesore and probably a chemical detriment to the to the creek for many, many, many years," said Bridger Creek Subdivision homeowner Betty Stroock. "Previous landowners have just dumped cars there or if they needed some erosion control."

Stroock said she was relieved when she found out Fish, Wildlife and Parks wants to get the area cleaned up.

"I'm very supportive of the effort to get this part of the creek cleaned up," she said.

Stroock attended a meeting hosted by FWP Tuesday night to discuss a project to remove all 49 cars from Bridger Creek.

"Many folks who recreate out there recognize that there's a multitude of old car bodies buried in the bank, and in terms of ability to recreate and aesthetics, folks came together to try to get some work accomplished to remove that," Horton explained.

FWP wants to restore the creek to its most natural state. Right now, they're in the beginning planning stages and we're told there's a lot to consider.

"How do we get a design started to fund raise to get that work done, and then more into the next phases which are full designs and actual implementation," Horten said.

FWP said another concern is some cars are so embedded into the stream bank, they could be difficult to remove, and might create instability in the creek that could lead to future flooding and safety hazards for nearby residents.

But Horton explained improving Bridger Creek is an important step in improving Bozeman.

"Bozeman is pretty unique in terms of an urban setting that has such great aquatic resources," Horten said.

Here's what's next: FWP plans to assess the risks of the project. Then, they'll try to secure grant money and raise funds for the project, and work to gain support from the Bridger Creek Subdivision community.

Their ultimate goal is to clear out all of the cars, as well as rebar and concrete that also litter the creek.