Spraying Herbacide Spraying Herbacide <p>A Freshly Stretched Bison Hide</p>

Conserving Historic Lands at Fort Union Trading Post

  • June 11, 2015
  • Posted by Jeremy Aaron

As a field crew, we did not expect our first hitch to be involving invasive plant control at a historic trading post, but we have quickly come to learn to expect the unexpected.

Fort Union was, according to one park ranger we worked with, a unique place where the Native Americans of the great plains and the white settlers peacefully coexisted and traded throughout the nineteenth century. Although the fort was torn down when a military base was established at nearby Fort Beauford in the late 1860’s, the park was declared a national historic site and rebuilt a century later.

To help maintain the historic environment of the park and restore native habitat the park has been working to remove particularly troublesome invasive species such as Leafy Spurge, Canadian Thistle and Russian Olive trees.

Although the majority of our crews work involved spraying much of the parks prairies and woodlands with herbicide, we were also lucky enough to get to help out with the stretching of a buffalo hide (no brain tanning unfortunately), the sorting of teepee poles and repairing of teepee tarps and the sorting of historic artifacts.

In addition, our crew was treated to a traditional bacon and biscuit meal cooked over coals in a dutch oven in the trade room inside the fort. Best of all, instead of camping in a flood prone field, we were housed in a FEMA style trailer with satellite TV.

I guess you can say we got a little spoiled for a first hitch, but we sure learned our lesson, nothing is exactly like you expect it to be in the MCC!


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