Volunteers sought for project at Moose Creek

EBS STAFF

The Gallatin River Task Force, in partnership with the Custer Gallatin National Forest, are working on a restoration project at Moose Creek Flat in order to maintain the health of the Gallatin River.

Following a successful work day on May 1, where volunteers helped plant approximately 300 trees and shrubs, GRTF is seeking additional volunteers to install fencing around the newly planted vegetation. This second work day will be held on May 21, beginning at 9:30 a.m.

This opportunity is part of a long-term effort to improve river health and public safety in Gallatin Canyon. Moose Creek Flat is a popular day use area with failing streambanks and disorganized trails caused by heavy recreational use.

The project initiated by GRTF will prevent erosion and includes rebuilding streambanks, restoring streamside vegetation, building trails and fencing to concentrate river use, and installing a boat ramp, kayak launch, and stairs to access the river.

Those helping with fence construction should expect to build approximately 1,000 feet of fence. Work will include pre-drilling fence rails and attaching the rails to the posts with wood screws. Participants should wear weather-appropriate clothing, work gloves, close-toed shoes and eye protection.

GRTF is also seeking extra tools, such as cordless drills and one-quarter inch and torx size 40 drill bits.

For more information or to register to help, contact Jack Murray, GRTF Big Sky Watershed Corps member, at jack@gallatinrivertaskforce.org.

Arts Council public art project awarded national grant

ARTS COUNCIL OF BIG SKY

On May 9, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded an Art Works grant of $25,000 to the Arts Council of Big Sky for the Butterfield in Big Sky project. The project entails the September installation of a bronze horse sculpture by Montana artist Deborah Butterfield in the new Town Center Plaza, which is currently under construction along with the Wilson Hotel.

The award comes as a part of the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2018, which included more than $80 million in grants.

Art Works is the NEA’s largest funding category and supports projects that focus on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and high-caliber art, lifelong learning in the arts, and/or the strengthening of communities through the arts.

“This is an amazing opportunity to not only showcase one of Montana’s greatest artists, but to have a legacy installation for residents and visitors to appreciate for generations,” said Brian Hurlbut, the Arts Council’s executive director. “The NEA grant award signifies that this is an important project that is recognized on a national level.”

Butterfield’s artwork is on display in public spaces all over the world, but this will be her first permanent outdoor installation in the state. Her pieces can be found in the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, Washington D.C.’s Smithsonian Institution, and many other museums around the world.

For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.

Public health officials offer advice to prevent tick bites

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES

As summer approaches, state and local public health officials urge everyone to follow a few simple steps to prevent tick bites and their illnesses: limit, repel, and inspect.

According to state and local health officials tick-borne illnesses and diseases are on the rise. Commonly reported tick-borne diseases in Montana include, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, lyme disease, tickborne relapsing fever, tularemia, and Colorado tick fever, all of which can cause serious illness.

The tick that causes lyme disease is not found in Montana. To date, cases reported in Montana have all been associated with travel to the Northeast and upper Midwest of the United States.

Public health officials say the best way to prevent tick-borne disease is to prevent tick bites.

Their three-step approach to preventing tick bites is outlined below.

Limit: Ticks live in wooded, brushy, or grassy areas. Walk in the center of trails and mow your property.

Repel: Wear long, light-colored pants and socks to spot ticks more easily and use insect repellents.

Inspect: Check your skin carefully for ticks after returning from outdoor activities. Common hiding places for ticks are the scalp, beard, back of the knees, armpits, groin, back of the neck, and behind the ears. De-ticking clothing by throwing clothes into a drier on high for 10 minutes.

Individuals should see their healthcare provider immediately if they have been bitten by a tick and experience common symptoms that include fever, chills, aches, pains, and a rash.

Visit dphhs.mt.gov for more information.

Host Week honors frontline workers in June

EBS STAFF

As a thank you to the contributions made by frontline workers, the Big Sky and West Yellowstone chambers of commerce will co-sponsor Host Week June 1-11. This annual event provides opportunities for staff in the lodging, dining and and tourism industries to enjoy what the area has to offer.

Employees in these industries will receive a Host Week Passport, which includes various offers for free or discounted activities or services. The coupons may be redeemed throughout the week.

Many frontline workers are newly arrived for the summer season or are originally from out of state. The aim of Host Week is to better acquaint local employees with the food and beverage, recreational and educational opportunities available in the area. During Host Week, these frontline workers will learn about a variety of things to see and do, making them better hosts for tourists and visitors to the area.

Now in its sixth year, the annual event has received statewide recognition. In 2015, Big Sky and West Yellowstone won Gateway Community of the Year during the Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development’s Governors Conference.

In addition to educating frontline workers, Host Week encourages an increase in early-season business.

Last year, 1,700 frontline employees received Host Week Passports that included over 40 special offers.

Visit bigskychamber.com for more information.