We were out at the Black Bridge the other day, dreaming about the possibilities for the new state park at the confluence site. Standing on the old bridge, covered in snow and in high contrast with its surroundings–black girders against the whiteness of the Blackfoot River, our conversation roamed to considering the changes that have occurred over the last several years and the promise of developments in the future. We were reminded that to this point we have been focusing our attention on the “hard” concrete and steel manmade structures spanning the river–now we can begin to engage the “soft” and natural landscape. To begin working with living things versus inanimate objects; architects and landscape architects and park planners replacing engineers, scientists and heavy equipment operators.The future is bright with the possibilities for public access and recreation opportunities, new trails, interpretive features and picnic shelters. We can get dirt under our fingernails from planting and sculpting the earth–not as prospectors and industrialists, but as gardeners and stewards of the land.
Myself and certainly others, are fascinated by the potential for the development of the lands between the Town Pump and the houses in West Riverside. I can remember this as a knapweed-infested field and a stockpile of rows and rows of logs awaiting processing at the mill.
Is it really possible that in my lifetime (and yours) we might see this developed in a sensitive and useful way? Bringing back the vitality of Milltown when Disbrow’s store and Weimar’s garage were both economic centers and community centers? Could there be community facilities like a branch library, a fire station, medical services, a satellite county government center, a laundromat, a sensitively designed hotel/motel or an interpretive center? Or even all of the above?
I look forward to the day that I won’t have to drive 12 miles into town to “take care of business.” Change is not something to be feared or denied–the future can be shaped and guided with all of us working together towards a brighter and shared future.
Photo by Jen Slayden