By Kay Braddock
A collaborative effort between the Montana Wilderness Association and the Prairie County Economic Development Council has resulted in the printing of 5,000 brochures publicizing the Terry Badlands and Calypso Trail.
The brochure project, which took about two years to complete, features a large portion of the 44,000 acres of public lands that make up the Terry Badlands Wilderness Study Area.
Mark Good, MWA outreach coordinator, said the brochures allow visitors to rethink the Terry Badlands.
“Montana’s prairies are kind of described as boring, uninteresting or monotonous,” Good said. “I think anybody who lives there knows that’s not true at all. In fact, it’s quite the reverse.”
The 24-inch-by-18-inch full color brochure provides a trail map on one side that depicts how to reach the Calypso Trail and also includes GPS coordinates to locate popular landmarks like the Sheridan Butte, Chimney Rock and Natural Bridges. Pictures of the landmarks are also highlighted. On the opposite page, the brochure offers a brief description of the Terry Badlands WSA, which is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Details of vegetation and wildlife that live there are also described along with recreational uses and historical attractions.
One of the historical points described includes a July 31, 1806 journal entry made by William Clark describing the badlands during the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Another historical description provided includes information on frontier photographer Evelyn Cameron’s work in the area.
PCEDC Director Lance Kalfell sees the brochure project as a way to make use of the badlands.
“The biggest thing that we had to do to start utilizing the badlands is that we had to have a map,” Kalfell said, adding the vastness of the area can prove intimidating to those who may want to visit.
The two groups came together after Good heard that the PCEDC was interested in making a trail map to promote tourism to the Terry Badlands. The PCEDC was involved in earlier projects that highlighted the Sheridan Butte and other local attractions, but for this project, Kalfell said the group wanted a bigger, better result.
“We want to get them in the hands of people that will actually come and stay for awhile,” Kalfell said. The vastness of the area and popularity of sports like hiking and marathon running could make the Terry Badlands a destination point, he added. “It’s a big enough area to get people to stay for more than one day.”
While some brochures will be offered locally, both men hope to see them reach the hands of others who aren’t as familiar with the Terry Badlands.
“I think it would be important to get these to the other end of the state,” Good said. “I just don’t think many people know about the Terry Badlands. I know that’s certainly the case in the western part of the state.”
Much of the project was completed through volunteer work, both locally and across the state.
While MWA members completed much of the design work, mapping details were provided locally.
The total cost of the project was $1,700, with some of those funds coming from the Yellowstone Paddlefish Caviar Grant, donations made by MWA and funds donated by local individuals.
Good, who has been with the MWA for nearly 17 years, said this was only the second mapping brochure project the organization has been involved with and it’s the first collaborative effort that’s been undertaken by the MWA and an economic group.
“That’s sort of unique,” he said. “That’s what I like about it a lot.”
While the project’s purpose is to highlight the beauty of the area in its natural state, an equally important purpose is to help promote the area, providing economic sustainability.
“I think it could help a community like Terry,” Good said. “There’s a tourism aspect, but I also think it’s a feature that makes a town like Terry attractive.”