Brundage Mountain Looks to the Future By Restoring Wetlands at Activity Barn Site in McCall
Brundage Mountain Resort is investing in the future at McCall’s Activity Barn by planting nearly 1000 shrubs and seedlings as part of a wetland restoration project.
The 115-acre Activity Barn site is located on Moonridge Drive just south of McCall. The property has been grazed and flood irrigated for more than 100 years, which left wetland areas on the site in a non-functioning state.
Crestline Engineers designed a mitigation plan for the wetland areas and crews from Franz Witte McCall Landscaping embarked on an expansive planting project the last full week of May 2023. The plant species selected are all native and belong to the same type of habitat present at the Activity Barn site.
“These species will increase wildlife habitat, stabilize banks and soil, and provide a diversity of species and structure of vegetation that creates a habitat for wildlife,” says Crestline Project Lead and Wetland Specialist, Katherine Lanspery. “These plant species will also provide pollinators with additional food sources that are often lacking in an over-grazed environment.”
Plantings range in size from one-gallon shrubs to 10 and 20-cubic-inch plugs and include several native willow species along with Red-osier dogwoods, Black hawthorne, Serviceberry and Snowberry, among others. A total of 980 shrubs and seedlings were planted in the 3-acre wetland area.
Part of the goal of the mitigation plan is to connect the unique spring fed wetland features to the overgrazed creek channel at the site. It typically takes three to five years for newly planted vegetation to establish. Several locations across the site will be monitored over time to ensure the success of the restoration.
The Activity Barn, owned and operated by Brundage Mountain Resort, is a recreational site that offers lift-served snow tubing and a free dog-friendly Nordic trail during the winter months and hosts open-air events during the summer and fall. The company recently applied for an updated CUP (Conditional Use Permit) from Valley County in the hopes of expanding parking, building two tiny homes for employee housing on site, and adding a disc golf course and non-motorized multi-use trails for walking, mountain biking and running in the future.
“We are taking a holistic approach to improving the Activity Barn site,” says Brundage Mountain General Manager, Ken Rider. “We have plans to offer more low-impact recreational opportunities at the site, but we also have an opportunity to improve the wetlands so they can support native species and the surrounding environment. We consider that a win-win situation.”