It’s the only place you’ll find a quilt of the South Hills Trail System map. It’s also the only opportunity you’ll have to bid on a Spam backpacking trip — that’s right, a trip into the backcountry where every meal explores the versatility of the famous processed meat product.

The 10th annual Prickly Pear Land Trust Harvest Moon Banquet is Saturday at the Civic Center. Doors open at 5 p.m. This year’s theme is “The Land Is Our Legacy.”

But if you have a hankering for the Spam experience or want to bid on a dinner for eight of your friends with author Hugh Ambrose, you’d better act quickly. According to PPLT Development Director Heather Nese, tickets are selling quickly.

Last year, the event, which draws about 500 people, raised $82,000 for the non-profit land trust committed to preserving and protecting open space in Lewis and Clark, Jefferson, Broadwater and eastern Powell counties and expanding and maintaining the South Hills Trail Program. The amount was collected through ticket sales, auction sales, corporate sponsorships and partnerships and “call for cash” contributions attendees can make during the banquet.

“The money allows us to complete many of the projects we’ve been working on,” Nese said.

The Entertainment Trail in the South Hills system is one of those projects. PPLT has been working since 2006 to secure parcels of private land that the popular trail runs through in addition to protecting the unspoiled backdrop of our state’s Capitol, Nese said.

Money raised will also allow PPLT to increase its staff. After the passage of the Helena Open Space Bond two years ago, PPLT wants to be able to hire a Helena Valley project coordinator, who will work with landowners and agencies to help secure and maintain more open space, Nese said.

Another auction item sure to draw interest is an eight-day trekking trip to the Lares Valley in Peru. Detour, an adventure travel company based in Helena, donated the trip for two, which takes hikers to Machu Picchu, Cusco and the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

“The donors thought the trip would be a great fit with our demographic,” Nese said.

Tickets for the Harvest Moon Banquet are $75 per person. Price includes appetizers by Benny’s Bistro, prime rib dinner by Chili O’Brien’s, dessert by Park Avenue Bakery and a no-host bar with beer donated by Blackfoot River Brewing and Lewis and Clark Brewing Company. 

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