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Helena to hold open house on future plans for former Whyte property

Posted at 6:44 PM, Feb 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-21 20:44:58-05

HELENA — Helena Parks, Recreation and Open Lands will hold a public meeting next week to talk about the city’s plans for a recently acquired property on Helena’s south side.

City staff will give a presentation on wildfire fuel mitigation work and upcoming noxious weed treatments for a 74-acre parcel, formerly owned by the Whyte family, along the LeGrande Cannon Trail. They will also discuss plans for future recreational uses of the land.

“74 acres is a big piece of land,” said city public information officer Rebecca Connors. “It’s really nice because it dovetails right into the Mount Helena open space, but we do have residences in very, very close proximity that butt up to this property. So we’ve got to make sure that, as stewards of this piece, that we’re maintaining those different aspects of the land.”

Last year, Prickly Pear Land Trust reached an agreement to purchase the land from the Whyte family, then donated it to the city. While the property had long been open to public use, leaders say it had not received any extensive fire mitigation treatment in a number of years. Crews began thinning fuels and removing hazard trees last year.

Now, leaders say they’re ready to start fully incorporate the property into Helena’s open lands system.

“Especially for the folks that live around this piece of property, this is a great opportunity for them to be a part of this open house and provide any feedback,” Connors said. “Any trail users, this is a great opportunity as well, to be able to incorporate what they see into the future of what the trail system will look like here.”

The open house will be Tuesday evening, from 5:30 to 7, at the auditorium at Montana WILD.