East Helena Redevelopment Photos, July 2022

Take a look at photographs of redevelopment in East Helena on land formerly owned by the Custodial Trust. New development and amenities include East Helena High School and its athletic fields, the Highland Meadows subdivision, a community health center, and the Prickly Pear Creek Greenway.

Download the July 2022 Redevelopment Photo Slides (pdf)

Presentation from Dec. 8, 2021 Virtual Public Meeting

Now available: the presentation from our annual project update for the East Helena Former ASARCO Smelter Facility, held virtually on December 8, 2021.

Download the PDF here.

Watch the meeting recording here.

Invitation: Dec. 8, 2021 East Helena Site Virtual Public Meeting

Notice & Invitation
East Helena Smelter Site Virtual Public Meeting

Online via Zoom or by Phone
December 8, 2021, 7:00 p.m. Mountain Time

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Montana Environmental Trust Group (METG), Trustee of the Montana Environmental Custodial Trust, are sponsoring a virtual Public Meeting on Wednesday, December 8, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. MT.  Representatives from EPA and METG will review cleanup and redevelopment progress and plans at the former ASARCO Smelter Site in East Helena. The meeting will provide the public with an important opportunity to receive information and ask questions about improvements in groundwater quality, water infrastructure projects, remediation and restoration of areas along Prickly Pear Creek, the East Helena slag removal project, and property development activities.


Join Online:
Use this Zoom link
or: http://tinyurl.com/EastHelenaMeeting

Join by Phone:Call 646-876-9923
Enter meeting ID 816 5567 5621# and passcode 781655#

Please contact Christine Amrhine at 540-846-3163 or ca@g-etg.com or Anna Novikova at 267-799-3842 or an@g-etg.com.

See our recent fact sheets here: Project Update Fact Sheet and Unfumed Slag Removal Fact Sheet.

East Helena Unfumed Slag Removal Fact Sheet, September 2021

Read our new fact sheet about the former smelter site’s unfumed slag removal project. Last year, METG began working with a metals trading company interested in extracting zinc and other valuable metals from the slag pile on-Site. The project will provide many benefits for current and long-term cleanup goals at the Site.

Download the PDF here.


East Helena Project Update Fact Sheet, September 2021

Read the project update fact sheet for the East Helena Smelter Site, with information on our award-winning cleanup and redevelopment results.

Download the PDF here.

East Helena Corrective Measures Implementation Work Plan

Now Available:
Corrective Measures Implementation (CMI) Work Plan for the East Helena Facility, finalized August 2021.

Download the PDF here.

2020 Water Resources Monitoring Report

Now available: 2020 Water Resources Monitoring Report for the East Helena Facility.
Prepared June 2021.

Download the PDF here.


2021 Corrective Action Monitoring Plan

Now Available:

2021 Groundwater and Surface Water Corrective Action Monitoring Plan for the East Helena Facility, Prepared June 2021.

Download the PDF here.

2020 Corrective Action Monitoring Plan

Now Available:

2020 Groundwater and Surface Water Corrective Action Monitoring Plan for the East Helena Facility, Prepared May 2020

Download this PDF

Transfer of 322 Acres to Prickly Pear Land Trust Puts East Helena Greenway Project on the Path to Reality

Prickly Pear Land Trust (PPLT) announces it has acquired 322 acres of former ASARCO lands from the Montana Environmental Trust Group (METG). From left to right: Betsy Burns, EPA; John Beaver, PPLT Board Chair; Mary Hollow, PPLT; Scott Walter, East Helena Public Schools Board Chair; Kelly Harris, East Helena City Council; Peter Elverum, East Helena City Attorney; Don Dahl, East Helena City Council. Photo Courtesy of PPLT.

East Helena, MT (December 31, 2020) —The East Helena Greenway Project, which was first envisioned by the community 10 years ago, is now on the path to full-fledged reality as a result of the transfer of 322 acres of former ASARCO lands to Prickly Pear Land Trust (PPLT). On December 30, after years of multi-stakeholder coordination and collaboration, the Montana Environmental Trust Group, LLC (METG) conveyed title to 242 acres along the reconstructed Prickly Pear Creek (PPC) corridor south of Highway 12 and approximately 80 acres along PPC near Kennedy Park in East Helena to PPLT for development of an 8-mile trail system on remediated and revitalized former ASARCO lands. PPLT will work with the State of Montana Natural Resource Damage Program (NDRP) on design, construction and maintenance of the Greenway recreational access and educational amenities, using the $3.2 million allocated to the Greenway Project in the NRDP East Helena Natural Resource Restoration Plan that Governor Steve Bullock approved in 2019.

As 2020 comes to a close, the Greenway Project offers a new beginning for lands and waters in East Helena. The Greenway Project exemplifies how a community can honor its industrial past while positioning itself for economic opportunity, community health and quality of life. The former smelter lands near the newly constructed East Helena Public Schools (EHPS) elementary and high schools will be transformed into a trail system that will connect East Helena to Montana City. Once the Greenway trail and amenities are fully developed, PPLT will transfer the 322 acres to the East Helena Public Schools (EHPS) that has agreed to serve as the long-term steward of the Greenway land. Where possible, the trail will be Americans with Disabilities Act- (ADA) accessible to encourage people of all ages and abilities to enjoy this community asset.

The land transfer to PPLT culminates a 10-year partnership between local, state and federal governments—including the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Montana NRDP, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), Lewis and Clark County and the City of East Helena—as well as PPLT, EHPS, METG and the private sector.

“I want to congratulate the City of East Helena, the East Helena School District, the Prickly Pear Land Trust, and the Montana Environmental Trust Group on this significant milestone in the redevelopment and conservation of the former ASARCO smelter site and Prickly Pear Creek corridor,” Gov. Bullock said. “This land transfer helps position the Greenway project for success in what will no doubt be a tremendous asset to East Helena citizens, students and businesses for decades to come.”

Mary Hollow, PPLT Executive Director, said that, “Ten years ago, the City of East Helena asked Prickly Pear Land Trust to help envision trails and public access on this land. It’s incredible to celebrate this project coming to life. This community – with new schools, businesses, and now the Greenway Trail – is poised for a strong future. A project of this magnitude only happens with incredible partnerships, I commend those who have made this possible. With access to 322 acres of new outdoor space, we know that when kids achieve a greater connection to the outdoors, they experience happier and healthier lives. What an incredibly smart move for this forward-thinking community.”

East Helena Mayor Jamie Schell believes that “The Greenway project honors the hard-working, proud and dedicated people that built this community. The effort and dedication it took to make this project come to fruition by so many organizations and stakeholders cannot be understated. In an area where tales of trespass and memories of a few can be environmentally transformed and enjoyed by so many is a wonderful achievement. Leaving the Greenway for generations of families and visitors to safely enjoy for decades to come is something to be really proud of and I thank all of those that made it happen. History should never be forgotten, only built on. The legacy of the ASARCO smelter stands tall here in East Helena; it always has and with projects like this, always will.”

EHPS Superintendent Ron Whitmoyer said that “EHPS is thrilled to see this project moving forward – what an awesome educational resource this will be for our community.”

METG Managing Principal Cindy Brooks said “The Greenway Trail is the centerpiece of the future redevelopment of the former ASARCO lands in East Helena. PPLT’s willingness to assume responsibility for land ownership and trail construction and management is a testament to the leadership of a small, but powerful organization and its commitment to ensuring that this revitalized land will be an asset to the community of East Helena for generations. The Greenway Project reflects the strong partnership formed by PPLT, the City of East Helena, the East Helena Public Schools, EPA, the State of Montana and METG.”

Betsy Burns, EPA Project Manager for the East Helena Superfund site, said “the transfer of this land to PPLT for the Greenway Trail represents the culmination of more than ten years of shared vision, partnership and community collaboration. In 2010, PPLT first visited the East Helena site to explore the possibility of a trail. The following year, at an EPA-hosted design charette, the community’s vision for future redevelopment of former ASARCO property included a trail along PPC. With the support of all three levels of government, as well as METG, East Helena Public Schools, private land owners, local businesses and PPLT, the community’s vision is becoming reality.”

Kicking off in 2021, the Greenway project will be the latest and most ambitious project in Prickly Pear Land Trust’s Community Conservation portfolio. “The Greenway trail will provide public access to the reconstructed PPC corridor – which has not been accessible to the public in over 100 years – and another reason to celebrate East Helena’s heritage and encourage recreation, tourism and outdoor learning opportunities,” said Burns.

Next steps will be outlined by PPLT in early 2021. PPLT is a non-profit community land trust committed to the belief that open space is essential to the well-being of all communities. Spacious views, abundant wildlife, and recreational opportunities renew and revitalize its spirits. Maintaining traditional agricultural lands preserves Montana’s cultural heritage. PPLT seeks to preserve and protect the rural character of the Prickly Pear Valley and adjoining lands in Lewis and Clark, Jefferson, Broadwater and Powell counties through voluntary and cooperative means. Further, PPLT strives to connect people to their natural surroundings though trails and access to public lands. Sign up for PPLT’s newsletter to watch this project unfold by visiting www.pricklypearlt.org.

For more information or questions, contact Mary Hollow (mary@pricklypearlt.org).

METG is Trustee of the Montana Environmental Custodial Trust. For more information about METG and cleanup of the former ASARCO smelter, see: https://www.mtenvironmentaltrust.org.

This map shows the parcels conveyed to the Prickly Pear Land Trust for development of the Greenway Project 8-mile trail system.

Mary Hollow (PPLT), 406-240-4907, mary@pricklypearlt.org
Mayor Jamie Schell (City of East Helena), 406-227-5321, mayorschell@easthelenamt.us
Ron Whitmoyer (East Helena Public Schools), 406-227-7700, rwhitmoyer@ehps.k12.mt.us
Cindy Brooks (METG), 617-448-9762, cb@g-etg.com
Betsy Burns (EPA), 406-457-5013, burns.betsy@epa.gov

Download a PDF of this press release here.

Download a PDF of the East Helena Greenway Project Fact Sheet, December 2020, here.