Another planting day will be on Earth Day, Thursday, April 22, at the "Roots Against Erosion" project in Hamilton's Skalkaho Bend Park. The Bitter Root Water Forum and the City of Hamilton are wrapping up the planting of native trees and bushes along narrow swales that will hopefully slow the Bitterroot River's yearly movement to the east at the bend (photo above).

The swales are set back away from the river so that the plants have some years to grow before the river moves in that direction, as historic studies have shown.

Katie Vennie of the Bitter Root Water Forum said volunteers are welcome to help plant Aspen, Dogwood and Cottonwood trees and native seeds to complete the mix. The work has been progressing from the south end of the swales to the north in previous planting days in March and April. The planting session will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Be prepared to wear "gardening" clothes, since you're going to be digging in the earth, appropriate for Earth Day. To sign up as a volunteer, contact the Bitter Root Water Forum. Ellie is handling the registrations at She also has more details about being part of the planting crew.

The City of Hamilton Public Works Department and the Water Forum hope to reduce the erosion. The planting is in fenced-in areas to prevent wildlife from "browsing" and eating the new growth. The fences are expected to be up for about 5 years. The rest of the park open to the public, as always. You can find out more information at the Bitter Root Forum website.

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Today these parks are located throughout the country in 25 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The land encompassing them was either purchased or donated, though much of it had been inhabited by native people for thousands of years before the founding of the United States. These areas are protected and revered as educational resources about the natural world, and as spaces for exploration.

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