My beautiful pictureHell Creek State Park, Montana, circa 1966


Comments on the Hell Creek State Park Master Site & Management Plan – Draft_10-28-15 are due November 25, 2015.  They’re looking at choices to address the serious overcapacity use of the park, and to determine what to do when the “no-cost lease agreement” with the Army Corps of Engineers expires in 2021.  At this point, they’re wanting to address site infrastructure needs, make priority improvements and continue management of site and concession facility under a new contract with USACE. Send Comments, labeled as “Hell Creek State Park – Comments” to:

Montana State Parks
1420 East 6th Ave
PO Box 200701
Helena, MT  59620-0701

or online: HellCreek12 Decades ago on a family camping trip, we went to Hell Creek State Park, and it was stunning in its vast austerity.  It was on the bank of the Fort Peck Reservoir, the dam being part of our infrastructure tour that summer, and it was so bleak, hot, and dry, I wondered how people survived out there. Here’s the one campsite now with a tree! HellCreek17 We had to drive this intensely bumpy dirt road from Jordan, the nearest town, about 26 miles away, and it took a LONG time.  When we got there, we were the only campers, and were warmly greeted by the ranger, who showed us around, warned us about the cactus and said to be careful what shoes we wore because those spines could come right up through flimsy tennis shoes!  He also displayed his day’s work, he’d been out shooting rattlesnakes that day, and had half a flour sack full of dead rattlesnakes.   I don’t remember a beach, though there must have been a designated swimming area, and for sure there would have been a boat launch.  What I do remember of the reservoir, other than the dam, was an old wagon, the wooden kind, with a bench seat, the bench sticking up out of the water, which reminded me of what was probably lurking underneath the water, whatever was left when they flooded the river valley. I’ve wanted to go back there, and now with the camper, it’s on the agenda (let’s hear it for online reservations with photos!).  And in looking at the park, I found this Plan, and it presents some interesting issues, ranging from dealing with outfitters who direct clients to the park and use it as a base; moving to increased online reservations and a reservation only system; dealing with water and sewage issues, fish cleaning waste; and campground improvements to water, sanitary sewer system, electrical and cell service (there is NO cell service in the area). If you’re a camper, fisher, hunter, check out this plan and let them know what you think!      

noflyzoneNot much time to pull this together, but a couple of things to note before I head off to Cannon Falls for the hearing today…  From my stats, it’s clear people want more information — there’s flooding,and it’s a lot:

Interview with Bernard Shanks – from KMOX –  Total Information AM

“Fort Peck dam failed when it was under construction, it failed… 8 men are buried in it…”

… and in response to Shank’s claims, here’s the response from the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Ft. Peck dam operators:

Fort Peck officials work to stay ahead

Increased water release from Ft. Peck dam continues

If you’ve not been to Fort Peck dam, put it on your list and get there.  The campground there is one of the things that will stand out in my memory forever, what a dogforsaken place it was in the 60s…  The ranger came around to say hello, he’d been out shooting rattlesnakes, had a bag full, and cautioned us!


So back to the impacts of the flooding.  There’s water, water everywhere…  surrounding the Fort Calhoun nuclear generating plant, and it’s getting higher, the plant is now completely surrounded by water and sandbags are for now keeping it at bay. June 6, the day of the fire, a no-fly zone was declared that remains today:

Airspace over flooded nuclear plant still closed

OPPD addresses Ft. Calhoun rumors

And here’s the OPPD site:

OPPD Flood Rumor Control

Who needs rumors when we’ve got the truth!