Public health physician tried decades ago to post warnings in Arrowstone Park

A few people in the Deer Lodge community wrote off physician Dr. Katie Evans as an Erin Brockovich wannabe.

Brockovich was the dogged environmental activist portrayed by actress Julia Roberts in a 2000 film.

But Evans’ advocacy that same year for posting warning signs in Arrowstone Park in Deer Lodge and a “hot spot” downstream along the Clark Fork River wasn’t a legal crusade. And it reached no satisfactory resolution while Evans was in Deer Lodge.

Arrowstone Park along the Clark Fork River in Deer Lodge is a popular destination for walking, exercising dogs, bird-watching and more. Built in the 1990s atop contaminated tailings, the park has bare spots with elevated levels of arsenic. 

Duncan Adams, The Montana Standard

In 1999, the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry had recommended signage posting Arrowstone Park and the “hot spot” because of the risk believed posed by exposure to arsenic from mining and smelting wastes.

In 2000, Evans, as public health officer for Powell County, was prepared to go forward with the necessary signage. But she encountered stiff resistance from the EPA, representatives

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