After another day and no word from the community gardens yet, I decided to do a longer bike trip devoted to searching for milkweed and planting impromptu way stations. Day 1 of the tip was a 66-mile journey south down the Swan Valley to Seeley Lake. The Swan Valley is somewhat narrow and densely forested, with two-lane Highway 83 cut into the trees. This terrain is probably not suitable for milkweed because there is not enough sunlight, although the meandering Swan River (mostly inaccessible from the highway) may hold hidden patches just like the lake.
During the ride south, I stopped by the Swan Valley Community Library in the remote enclave of Condon, Montana. It was closed, but I in front of the library I found three wine barrel planters full of marigolds and other flowers. Inside each planter was a little butterfly ornament. This was an auspicious sign; and since there was a box outside the library for the community to take and leave books, why not do the same with seeds? These three planters each have a small milkweed patch now. I hope to get in touch with the people in charge of the library so they will tend the seeds in the spring.