Bitterroot Icons: Lone Rock School

Formed in 1885, Lone Rock School was originally built closer to Ambrose Creek and was named Lone Stone School.

Perry Backus - Ravalli Republic

What began as a way to bring a community together is quickly becoming a tradition in Lone Rock

Six years ago, a few people living near the Lone Rock School got together and decided that they wanted to take a step back in time.

It used to be that people would gather together on occasion for a potluck picnic to catch up on what’s been happening in each other’s lives.

So this group decided it would be nice to host a community picnic for those people who call the Lone Rock area home.

For an afternoon, people could sit down to share a meal and visit while their kids eat watermelon or play an old-fashioned game.

For the last few years, the event has been hosted by the Three Mile Senior Center, said Colleen Schmiedeke.

This year’s picnic is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 20.

It begins with a fun run hosted by the Parents Teachers Membership, or PTM, that starts at 10 a.m. from Ambrose Creek Park. People interested in participating in that can call Michelle at 240-8156.

The actual picnic begins at noon. As usual, organizers will provide the pulled pork, hamburgers and hot dogs, as well as the buns and condiments. The neighborhood is expected to bring a potluck dish.

“Usually we have a fairly good-sized crowd,” Schmiedeke said. “We were trying to do this in the middle of July, but found that there was a lot of competition for other events happening in the valley.”

“We opted to change it to this weekend in August,” she said. “It’s between fairs. So far, the response has been huge. We’re hoping to have even larger turnout with it.”

The picnic will include a 50/50 raffle and raffle tickets for $500 at both Trader Brothers and Super 1. People can also play some bingo or browse through the items offered at a silent auction.

If people are interested in donating to the silent auction, they can call Schmiedeke at 777-3710.

The proceeds for all of those endeavors will go toward a proposed project to build a community center at the park.

Schmiedeke said the group working on making that dream a reality is currently working on writing grants.

While the old folks find a piece of shade and settle in for a visit, youngsters can join in a series of junior fire challenge games that will include things like a hose relay another things related to firefighting.

“I think this picnic really brings the community together,” Schmiedeke said. “It makes them aware of what we have in our community and what we’re capable of doing. But, beyond all that, it’s just a good way to relax and enjoy your neighbors.”

Reporter Perry Backus can be reached at


Reporter for The Ravalli Republic.