East Helena Greenway Project gains 322 acres

By Phil Drake, excerpt from the Helena Independent Record, December 31, 2020

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, US Environmental Protection Agency; John Beaver, PPLT Board Chair; Mary Hollow, PPLT; Scott Walter, East Helena Public Schools Board Chair. Photo courtesy of PPLT.

The East Helena Greenway Project took a big step to becoming reality as officials said Thursday 322 acres of former ASARCO property has been transferred to Prickly Pear Land Trust.

In a news conference held in the final hours of 2020, land trust officials said the Montana Environmental Trust Group had conveyed the title of 242 of those acres along Prickly Pear Creek just south of East Helena and about 80 acres along the Creek near Kennedy Park.

Officials said this is the culmination of a 10-year effort between local, state and federal governments. The land was conveyed to the trust on Wednesday.

Mary Hollow, Prickly Pear Land Trust executive director, said it was incredible to see the project come to life and that it would benefit the community.

“We know that when kids achieve a great connection to the outdoors they experience happier and healthier lives,” she said.

Hollow said 6 of the 8 miles are now dedicated for the trail. She said they are still working with private landowners on the remaining 2 miles. But she said the 322 acres was a “real crowning point of project.”

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