When your serenity becomes the Milltown Superfund site

Milltown Montana Superfund site

What do you do when your serenity becomes a Superfund site? Just my luck I find a place I like and it later becomes a Superfund site. It took us two years to refind this location. We came across it the first year we drove out to Seattle for Gnomedex. That year I saw a caboose I wanted to take a picture of. Cheryl wasn’t in the best of moods at the time. It was hot and she wanted to get down the road to our hotel for the night. So when I found a trail by the caboose and wanted to go exploring to say she was livid is an understatement. But I was in the mood for an adventure. What I found was a trail that leads under the I-90 Bridge. This took you to an area where an old cattle collection or rodeo area was on the left. You had a trail with a slight hill on the right hand side. This lead to other trails that went through some tree growth. There was a shelter meeting structure located in this area as well. It seemed to me that this might be a meeting area for local Indian tribes. However I have no proof of that.

Later in my walk I found an area by a lake or large pond. This location did have what I would consider old equipment and other things dumped along a road. At the time I didn’t give it not much thought. Just figuring this was a rural community and people had dumped some items in the woods. During my walk in the hot sun I at times felt serene. While at other times I kept getting a feeling like someone was watching me. I never saw anyone at the time. Yet the feeling wouldn’t go away and that of course screwed with the serenity portion of things.

When I got back I told Cheryl about my walk and what I had encountered. She could care less of course. All she wanted was to get back on the road and find our destination of rest for that evening. As we came to a rest stop down the road from the Caboose trail location. We came across a group selling cookies. I told them of my journey and we bought a few items from them. While I thought I had memorized the location decently. We found out I was wrong the following year. Last year I could not find my caboose and the location of the trail I wanted to travel again. This year we both swore we would find it. Cheryl gets credit for finding the long lost caboose. The interesting thing is this area was located right in the region where a message was being flashed not to stop for the next ten exits. I think we later determined that this stop was past that limit. Because of the wildfires taking place in this part of Montana the warning had been put up. As if the whole wildfire thing wasn’t a worry. I later came to find out that a surprise was around the corner.

As we approached the entrance to this location in our car we saw the closed gate. At the time I figured this was just a standard closing. Parks tend to close at certain times and it was starting to get late. Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw next. What I saw is what you see above. That my place of serenity is now a United States Superfund site. Anyone who knows anything about Superfund knows this is the worst of the worst in regards to environmental violators. These types of sites are normally littered with contaminants you don’t want to be anywhere near.

So what did I do? I walked past the sign and went to take pictures of the caboose that hadn’t been moved. I figured I had already been exposed to what every nasty particles surround this site. It had taken me almost two years to find it again. The least I was going to do was take a picture of the caboose. I also took pictures of the warning signs and how things where blocked off. I’m still not sure what the level of contamination is at this location. I’m not sure what the true threat is to the environment, the surround community and the creatures that inhabit it. I’ve just now started to do some research online.

When we were coming home from Seattle we saw nothing but Caterpillar tractors tearing up this area. It didn’t seem as if any containment was going on. I’m not sure if this is putting anyone who travels I-90 through this area at risk. I’d tend to bet that most of the so called experts would say your exposure risk is low or nothing at all. I’d tend to bet this isn’t the full truth.

This location can be found by using the Bonner, Montana exit off of I-90. It is just around the corner from the local schools and several areas where recreation would take place within the community.

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