round table discusses historic sites in Missoula | Local news
Missoula County recently hosted a heritage roundtable on historically and culturally significant places in the region.
Representatives from the Confederate Salish and Kootenai Tribes, as well as Missoula County, the Forest Service and other local agencies were in attendance. They discussed the Rocky Mountain Gardens and Exploration Center, the National Museum of Forest Service History, the LaLonde Ranch, and the Beartracks Bridge.
Missoula County Commissioner Dave Strohmaier moderated the forum. The group originally met several years ago and the roundtable group has continued since then, meeting approximately twice a year.
“Until then and even now, there is really no forum for those interested in heritage, historic preservation, historic resources to come together and compare their notes,” he said. Strohmaier declared on December 15. “It’s mainly an informal discussion forum to get together periodically and share what we’ve been up to, what we’re seeing in the community and opportunities for us to collaborate together.
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Rocky Mountain Gardens is a partnership between the Missoula Butterfly House and Insectarium, the Missoula County Weed District, the Missoula Conservation District and the Health Acres Healthy Communities Foundation. Construction on the project, which includes 29,000 square feet of interior space, began over the summer.
So far, the project has improved the commercial and culinary buildings of the county fairgrounds. A new maintenance center is also under construction. Over the winter, planning has progressed for what the site’s gardens, which can grow to 2.5 acres, will include.
The new facility is expected to open in March 2023.
“I want programs that work with kids, but also (those who are) disabled,” said Jerry Marks, who heads the county’s district weed department. “We will have an outdoor classroom and we will also have a greenhouse for raising items for the garden as well as for teaching people to use the greenhouse. “
A fundraising campaign for a new conservation center at the US Forest Service History Museum is coming to an end, Lisa Tate, the museum’s executive director, told the assembled group.
The campaign aimed to raise $ 10.5 million for the project and about 85% of that amount has been reached, Tate said. The US Forest Service does not fund the museum.
The site, covering approximately 31 acres, currently includes a visitor center, an interpretive trail and an amphitheater. Future amenities include a barn for live animals, a playhouse, and a former aerial tanker that they plan to display at the site, courtesy of Neptune Aviation.
Fundraising is expected to be completed next year and construction could begin in 2023, although Tate said if completed earlier, construction could start earlier. The project was conceived almost 12 years ago.
The new building will include meeting spaces, art and artifact exhibits, as well as a gift shop, restrooms and other facilities.
“We’ve made a lot of progress over the past two years,” Tate said. “There was a time when people would say ‘if’ this project had ever happened and now it’s just a ‘when’ and we’re so excited to be able to bring that to Missoula. It will be a world class facility. right in our backyard. “
A project to preserve the historic buildings at the LaLonde Ranch off Interstate 90 continues to move slowly, said Chet Crowser, director of community services and planning for Missoula County.
The site is approximately 6.8 acres and is county owned. It includes a two-story brick ranch, two log barns, and a log cabin that is believed to be around 150 years old.
The project aims to celebrate the agricultural history of the Missoula Valley, which includes the thousands of years that the Salish and Kalispels have made this region their home, said Crowser.
“We will continue to move forward (with) the continuation of the Historic Register nomination,” Crowser said. “We’ve been working with the city, I think there’s going to be a collaborative effort to get things done. We continue to look at exploring potential partners and uses.”
Renovations to the Beartracks Bridge on Higgins Street are expected to be completed in July, with a groundbreaking ceremony scheduled for the 16th of this month.
The name Beartracks was chosen by the Confederate Salish and Kootenai tribes. It will honor Lk͏ʷut Smx̣e (which translates to Far Away Grizzly), a respected leader in Salish history. His first name was Louis Vanderberg.
In October 1891, the US government forced the indigenous peoples of the Bitterroot Valley to join the Flathead Reservation. One of the crossing points on this trip was near where Higgins Avenue spans the Clark Fork River today.
When July 16 comes, it will be a deeply meaningful ceremony.
“Place names mean a lot, it means life, it means people, it means history, it means stories,” said Tony Incashola, director of the Séliš-Ql̓ispé Culture Committee. “And through that process, you look and study the names of places, they themselves have a whole lot of information about the history.
“Most places, like the Salish-Kalispels, are given either by an event, by people, by stories or by our creation stories. “