Blackfoot Valley Dispatch - The Blackfoot Valley's News Source Since 1980

By Roger Dey

Meadow Creek Road re-opens to public early as weather ends work at UBMC


November 6, 2019

Roger Dey

The gates on Meadow Creek Road stand open Saturday, Nov. 2.

Restoration work at the Upper Blackfoot Mining Complex wrapped up for the year due to weather and the Forest Service re-opened Meadow Creek Road to the public Oct. 31.

"That area is now officially back open," Lincoln District Ranger Michael Stansberry said at the Lincoln Government Day meeting Nov. 1. "At this point it's a month earlier than we normally open."

National Forest land in the area has been closed to the public since the end of May, as work to clean up mine waste in the area and restore the headwaters of the Blackfoot River got underway for the sixth year.

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality had hoped this would be the final year of restoration work in the UBMC project area - with only the last of re-vegetation work needed next year - but the winter weather that settled in last month brought an early end to the effort.

According to UBMC Project Manager David Bowers, stream channel reconstruction has been completed through the final phase of the project area, but some floodplain reconstruction work remains for next year. He explained that floodplain micro topography and roughening was only partially complete in the final section before work there was weathered out. The inclement weather also prevented them from finishing work on the Mike Horse Road. A section of the road is part of the restoration area above Shaue Gulch.

Roger Dey

Mike Horse Road remains gated and closed.

Since a portion of Mike Horse Road is inaccessible, it will remain closed through the winter. Bower said they will revisit the road reconstruction next year as they button up the remaining work in the area.

Stansberry said the Meadow Creek Road will be closed again next year for about a month as the last of the restoration work is completed.

"Certainly, we won't see the closures we've seen ... for the haul traffic," he said.

Once the restoration work is complete, the activity in the area will be limited to the revegetation work to restore native plants to the new flood plain. Since those efforts are smaller in scale and don't require heavy equipment, road closures won't be required on Meadow Creek or Mike Horse roads.


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