A portion of Spring Meadow Lake State Park and the state Wildlife Center, west of Helena, will close for about five months to make way for the removal of soils contaminated by century old mineral-processing activities.
The popular Spring Meadow Lake State Park swimming and picnic areas will remain open to the public. Closed areas will be posted.
Craig Marr, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks manager for the park, said the east side of the facility will close to allow heavy-equipment crews to remove the contaminated soils and protect visitor safety. The trail around the lake will be closed at the footbridges, he said.
In addition, the Wildlife Center will shut down operations until the project is completed. There are currently no animals at the center.
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality is preparing to remove approximately 40,000 cubic yards of contaminated soils scheduled to begin Aug. 5. The 12-acre work area includes the east side of Spring Meadow Lake State Park and a portion of the state Wildlife Center site.
The Spring Meadow Lake reclamation project is the DEQ Abandoned Mine Section's top cleanup priority, said Pebbles Clark, DEQ mine reclamation specialist.
"The reclamation work will benefit Montanans," Clark said. "The project will remove contaminated soils and improve the water quality in the east arm of Spring Meadow Lake and reduce any health risks that soils contaminated by heavy metals may pose to park visitors and workers."
Clark said the reclamation activities also benefit Montana’s economy by providing engineering and construction jobs. Total reclamation construction costs are estimated at $2.4 million.
The reclamation project will clear the way for FWP's proposed $3.2 million education center that will be incorporated into Spring Meadow Lake State Park. So far, more than $650,000 has been invested in the restoration of the old Stedman Foundry machine shop, which will house the education center targeted to include classrooms, a theater, and fish and wildlife exhibits.