NYE — One year ago, Nye Road near the Sibanye-Stillwater Mine was impassable, after a large section was washed out by the Stillwater River during the June floods. The road officially re-opened Saturday along with Woodbine Campground. Locals were ecstatic to once again welcome travelers.
“We’re very excited because it really has slowed down business throughout the whole community since the flood last year. But it’s open today, July 1st, and we’re very excited," said Kirk Martin, the owner and operator of Fishtail Grind, on Saturday. "There’s already people that are coming through and going camping. There’s actually been people saying that they’ve been coming here ever since their daughter was six months old."
Kirk Martin is the son of Katy Martin, the owner of Fishtail General Store, located at 35 W. Main in Fishtail. He and his partner opened Fishtail Grind, a coffee shop inside of the general store, in 2016.
“If you haven’t been to Fishtail, you need to come see the historic general store. It’s the longest, continuously open general store in the state of Montana, and it’s a wonderful place to be," Martin said. "Everyone is amazed, and people come back year after year just to see if it’s changed or if it’s the same. It’s just wonderful.”
According to Martin, travelers often stop at the historic shop on their way to Woodbine Campground. But after the closure of Nye Road last June, the business and community took a hit.
“The flood was pretty devastating to lots of people. You guys might not know, but on December 24th, we also had an ice jam. There was a complete flood on Christmas Eve. My house, personally, got disrupted. Water came into my living room and to the bedroom, came into our mudroom," Martin said. "There was a ten-foot wall of ice that came. It went from 40º below to 40º above in one day, so it just snapped and kind of flooded. We’ve had our share of floods here in Fishtail, and we’re very happy that they’re over and people are out traveling again."
Martin explained many of Saturday's visitors were making their way to a popular campground in Nye.
“They’re headed, most of the time, to Woodbine. There’s Sioux Charlie (trail), and there’s also a waterfall that you can hike to,” Martin said. "Believe it or not, there have been people that would come (to Fishtail) just to go to the store. But now that (Nye Road is) open, the Woodbine is going to be wonderful."
Along with the re-opening of Nye Road, Woodbine Campground also welcomed the public on July 1 along with a few trails.
Outdoorsmen were eager to return to the campground. Larry and Renee Lesueur, a couple from Billings, said they were pleasantly surprised at the number of open spots at Woodbine on Saturday.
"I didn’t know it was open until a friend of mine told me," Larry said. “You look at Parkside, you look at any place in Red Lodge, they’re reserved until October. We turned on Woodbine, and it’s wide open. You just about fall out of your chair."
The couple was looking forward to a relaxing weekend at one of their favorite spots.
"(I can't wait for) some peace and quiet," Renee said. “It’s good to see Montana people get in here."
“We’re sure looking forward to it," Larry said. "It’s so quiet and peaceful in here, it’s just gorgeous."