Running to preserve the East Rosebud

Two young runners held the adults at bay in the 5K East Rosebud Run for Wild & Scenic on Sunday, Aug. 2. Landon Cunningham, 10, of Frisco, Colo., won the race in 26:15. Harper Howe, 11, of Billings, was first for the women. Cunningham said he runs a lot at high elevations in Colorado, often in 10K races. His family has had a cabin on East Rosebud Lake for several generations. Six other family members participated in the 5K, from 10 to 70 years old. Bridgett Stiegemeier won the 10K race in 54:10. She's the cross-country coach at Roosevelt Middle School in Red Lodge and said she tries to run in a race every month.

About a hundred people participated in the running and walking events that started near the outlet of East Rosebud Lake on a hot and sunny morning. The event is held by Friends of East Rosebud, a grassroots group that organized about five years ago to protect East Rosebud Creek from development, according to Frank Annighofer, the group's vice president.

Water development projects have cropped up over the years, but because the stream is eligible for designation as a Wild & Scenic River, the Forest Service has managed it that way.

Then in July 2009, Hydrodynamics Inc. of Bozeman submitted a proposal to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a feasibility study for a small hydroelectric diversion dam near the mouth of the lake.

The proposal called for diverting creek water into a pipeline that would run to a turbine and generator near the East Rosebud Lake Campground. Annighofer, his wife Annette Lavalette and Kevin Owens were able to show that insufficient streamflow exists to make the project economically viable, Annighofer said.

It took the group three years to prove their point, and Hydrodynamics's permit expired in May 2013. But the group decided Wild & Scenic River designation would protect the creek once and for all.

A bill brought by Sens. Jon Tester and John Walsh last year called for designating 13 miles of East Rosebud Creek from Fossil Lake to the inlet of East Rosebud Lake, which is surrounded by private property, and for seven miles from the lake's outlet to the Forest Service boundary. It was an election year, however, and the bill didn't make it through, Annighofer said.

“Our bill was at the bottom of the pile, and we hope that won't happen again this year,” he said.


Two of the group's members traveled to Washington, D.C. in March, their third visit in five years, Annighofer said. On June 15, Sens. Tester and Steve Daines introduced Senate Bill 2787, which is similar to last year's bill. Rep. Ryan Zinke introduced House Resolution 1577 with similar language the same day, putting the entire Montana delegation on the same page, Annighofer said.

“The bill needs to make it out of committee again and then be attached to a larger bill,” he said.

With no known opposition, the bill seems destined for passage. “After reviewing the bill, Zinke's staff told us it was a 'no-brainer,'” Annighofer said.

Tester applauded the work by Friends of East Rosebud. "East Rosebud Creek is one of Montana's most scenic streams,” he said. “This bill is a great example of folks on the ground coming together and producing a made-in-Montana solution that ensures Montanans can hike and fish here for generations to come."

Upcoming Events

  • Tuesday, February 20, 2018 (All day)
    The Red Lodge Carnegie Library will be closed, Feb. 20 in observance of Presidents' Day. It will reopen, Feb. 21.
  • Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - 5:30pm
    Red Lodge Call to Action (RLCTA) meets the third week of each month from 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at Honey's Cafe. Non-partisan and open to all, the purpose of the group is to empower our community to be effective activists on local, state and national issues. The next meeting will be Feb. 20.
  • Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - 7:00pm
    Now Group meets at the Bridger United Methodist Church, 222 W. Broadway (west entrance of church) Tuesday at 7 p.m.
  • Thursday, February 22, 2018 - 7:00pm
    Meets every Thursday, 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation, 122 S. Hauser. It is open to all. 425- 1755.
  • Thursday, February 22, 2018 - 7:00pm
    Clarks Fork Group meets at St. Joseph’s Catholic Hall, north end of Montana Avenue, Thursday at 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, February 24, 2018 - 10:00am
    An Overeaters Anonymous group will meet every Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Grace Fellowship Church, Absarokee.