The Thrill of New Adventures

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by Trevor Fero, WCC Intern

blog1On July 30th I woke up to the thrill of new adventures. The WCC’s 4th hitch was only hours away and I couldn’t be more excited to enter the Scapegoat Wilderness for the first time. Having previously spent trail day with the Lincoln District, it was nice for me to be working with some familiar faces knowing that we would all work well together.

blog4Our work focused around maintenance on the Upper Landers Trail. This trail is surrounded by thick Lodge Pole Pine regeneration stands that have been there since the 1988 fire and offer great views of the tallest peak in the complex, Red Mountain.  We retreaded and brushed many yards of trail, built and cleared drains and also learn valuable trail skills, like how in-sloping trail tread keeps stock in, protecting the edge of the trail from being trampled, from the Lincoln Ranger District’s non-profit liaison, Chris.

Seeing how this was our 4th hitch I was expecting things to be slightly easier. I figured I was finally in prime trail shape and nothing could stop me. But I was wrong… After spending the majority of the two previous hitches retreading I was having a very hard time getting back into it during this hitch. It seemed that exhaustion had set in between me and the other members of the crew during the second day of work retreading and at times I couldn’t see the light. Right after that moment I realized how lucky I was to be a part of such an amazing crew and as long as I had Alex, Cassidy, Abby and Evan with me I could do anything.blog 2

Within each hitch there are many trials and tribulations which seem to go in cycles. The first couple of days are full of excitement. Then, things slow down and fatigue sets in. That is all followed by more excitement towards the end of the trip due to the hitch ending. When things get hard in the middle of the hitch it’s important to remember that without that learning experience growth is not possible. At the end of the day it’s great to be helping make the complex more accessible for recreation, and it’s great to work with so many amazing people and to be spending time in such amazingly wild places.blog5

Look out Rio 2016, here we come!

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by Cassidy Grady, 2016 WCC Intern

As I swung my pick for the hundredth time that day into the rocky hillside above trail 402, I was startled by shouts from my WCC crewmates. The commotion was a reaction to the rather large, rounded rock Trevor had dug up from the trail and was cradling in his arms with no safe place to put it beside the trail on the steep slope. The crew watched intently as Trevor adjusted his stance, shifted the rock backwards, then forwards, and released it over the beargrass-blanketed slope. It rolled and bounced its way toward the drainage below—the target—all the while picking up speed as our eager whoops and hollers egged it on. A final bound sent the rock soaring through the air until it crashed into the creek with a satisfying “thud.” The crowd went wild. What Wilderness

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t Trevor, Evan, and Abby enjoy the views from Limestone Pass Trailgame could be filled with so much excitement and anticipation? Look out Rio 2016, the Bob Marshall’s own WCC is training for “Alpine Bowling,” the next Olympic sport.

 

Chucking rocks off the trail wasn’t the only thing that occupied our time on the Limestone Pass trail. Tread work was the name of the game for the greater part of the work days with the occasional tasks of clearing drains and repairing rock water bars. We were fortunate enough to have Jeremy Watkins, Trails Specialist for the Seeley Lake Ranger District, pay us a visit to share his expertise and deliver some much needed propane. Jeremy educated us on the specifics of digging tread to make a flat trail at least 24 inches wide with a side slope of 45 degrees. He also emphasized the importance of leaving plenty of room for pack trains on either side of

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A Clark’s Nutcracker finds refuge in a subalpine Fir

the trail so their gear doesn’t get caught in trees. Along with tread instruction, Jeremy gave our crew a demonstration on the proper use of an axe in order to maintain its integrity and an individual’s safety. Not only did we learn that the axe has many parts named after human features—cheek, beard, eye, heel, toe—but we also received information on chopping and sharpening techniques. Overall, this educational experience was not something I will soon forget.

 

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Hildy yawns after arriving at the campsite

This hitch boasted the best bird-watching yet. The unmistakable screech of the Clark’s nutcracker reached our ears most days accompanied by numerous sightings of the seedeaters as they sought and stored their seeds for the winter months ahead. Mosquitos were in abundance around our camp area, and while we didn’t “hum” with joy at the sight of them, the hummingbirds sure did. As the number of insects became overwhelming and attracted hummingbirds to the scene, we were fortunate enough to get a closer look at the energetic little fellas from the comfort of our Crazy Creeks. We even spotted a few Western Tanagers, and a Mountain Bluebird graced us with its presence during a water break.

There were so many little things to appreciate when I look back on this hitch: huckleberry picking, a peak summit, and trail games to name a few. While these memories may fade, what I have learned from them will not. It’s all the little moments spent in the Bob that have helped me secure a sense of place and an everlasting appreciation for the natural world. It’s all the little moments that make me realize why I love the Bob.

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A New England Aster in the foreground with views of the Bob Marshall Wilderness

 

Wilderness Conservation Crew takes on Headquarters Pass

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by Abby Hobza, WCC Intern

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A new friend!

This hitch wasn’t just a Wilderness Conservation Corps work party.  Trail crew leader Rebecca Kambic and a six (6) BMWF volunteers joined us as we trekked up Headquarters Pass in hopes of seeing mountain goats (oh, and to do some work too).  The hike to the top was short but steep and breathtakingly beautiful with waterfalls, ridges, and mountain views all around.  Once we got to camp, we wasted no time setting up our backcountry kitchen, tents, and exploring the surrounding area.

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Two Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation crews, one mission.

The next couple days consisted of installing check steps, water bars, and a handful of rock water bars.  I never knew how much work installing a rock water bar would be.  Rebecca Kambic took the lead on instructing the WCC and volunteers on the importance of making contact between the rocks, and the number one rule which is, if you can lift the rock by yourself, it’s too small to use. Navigating in a burn area with few rocks large enough and in close proximity posed a challenge for building these rock water bars.

 

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WCC members Evan and Trevor celebrate their hard work.

The work took place over the Fourth of July weekend and was the perfect way to celebrate this national holiday in one of the most beautiful places in The Bob working with a quality group of individuals passionate about Wilderness conservation.  Seeing the Chinese Wall in the distance and learning from volunteers who have volunteered with the Foundation for twenty years was amazing.  After work, we cooked up Bratwurst in celebration of the Fourth.

After Rebecca and the BMWF volunteers departed, the WCC remained at Headquarters Pass for another four days.  We lived through a lightening/hail/thunder/snow storm, and discovered that the check steps, water bars, and rock water bars that we had built actually worked and held up to this watery assault.

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Proof that anything can happen in the backcountry, even snow in July!

We had to tweak a few check steps but for the most part they did their job of diverting runoff from the trail to prevent erosion. We spent the rest of our hitch rebuilding the trail tread in order to make it wider for stock.

This hitch was full of great company, mountain goats, valuable lessons, and of course, a much needed dosage of time in The Bob.

First Hitch of the Season: Big Salmon Lake

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By Evan Booth: 2016 Wilderness Conservation Corps Intern

The Wilderness Conservation Corps did not waste any time getting to work on our first hitch of the 2016 field season.  With plenty of windfall and large areas of newly burned terrain throughout the Spotted Bear Ranger District, the 4 other crew members and I eagerly embarked on our hike to Salmon Forks Cabin.

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Crew members Cassidy, Alex, and Abby hike through a burned area en route to Black Bear Cabin.

After two days, a pit stop at Black Bear Cabin, and over twenty miles of hiking, we finally arrived at Salmon Forks and were ready to begin clearing up to and around Big Salmon Lake.  At 8 AM sharp the next morning, we set out for our first full day of trail work.  Within minutes of leaving the cabin, we realized that clearing to Big Salmon Lake, a mere 0.5 mile jaunt, was not going to be a simple task as multitudes of trees had fallen within the past year. Soon, the familiar hum of the cross-cut saw filled the forest air, and as the freshly sawn wooden noodles fell to the ground and the minutes passed, we slowly but surely cut our way to Big Salmon Lake.

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Crew member Trevor works on a tricky set of logs blocking the trail.  The end result was pretty sweet though!

Throughout our three days of trail work, we ended cleared 175 trees, retreaded 20 yards of trail, and brushing many areas that had become overgrown with foliage.

Life in the backcountry isn’t all work, however, and each night after dinner I would head down to explore the rushing waters of the South Fork, fly rod in hand.  After a long day on the trail swinging heavy tools, the lightness of casting a fly was the perfect post-work therapy.  The fishing did not disappoint, and beautiful native Westslope Cutthroat Trout filled my nights with excitement and beauty.

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A native Westslope Cutthroat Trout caught on a dry fly on the South Fork of the Flathead River.  The South Fork is home to one of the last genetically pure populations of Westslope Cutthroat in all of Montana, another example of a precious resource protected by the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex.

Reflecting upon our days of work, I began to focus less on the numbers of trees cut (although that is important data essential to quantifying the amount of work completed) and focused more on the time, thought, and quality of work that goes into each hour on the job.  Although it will only go down as the number “1” in the work report, a massive Lodgepole Pine that Trevor and I cut out of the trail the first morning means much more than a number to me.  It means analyzing the bind on a tricky downslope, crafting a safe and efficient plan for our cuts, and communicating to each other as the saw slipped through decades, maybe even centuries, of the tree’s life.  It means the pulsing back and shoulder muscles that accompany the sawing motion.  It means the satisfying “thump” of a freed tree segment as it falls to the ground, and it means the relief and exultation in the high-five between two amateur sawyers.  Most importantly, however, it means one more hour spent caring for a special place that so many hold sacred, it means one more hour of love for The Bob.

 

Work in the Wilderness this summer

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Have you ever wanted to call this your office? 

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Crew Leader Evan Kulesa checking the map for clues.

The Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation is looking for a few hard working, Wilderness loving, safety orientated folks to spend the summer in the  Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex.

We are hiring Wilderness Crew Leaders and Wilderness Conservation Corps Interns for the 2016 field season.

Click on the links below for more information

WILDERNESS CREW LEADER

WILDERNESS CONSERVATION CORPS INTERNSHIP 

PACKER APPRENTICE PROGRAM

Read more about what it is like to be a crew leader by scrolling back through our Bob Blog!

Pleased to meet you…

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I am thrilled to be joining Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation as the new Outreach Coordinator! To introduce myself briefly (I promise): I am from Maine originally, studied Geology at Colby College in Maine; am finishing thesis research for a masters in Sustainability and Environmental Management at Harvard University; have worked in the nonprofit and public sectors around various environmental and education issues in outreach, education, advocacy, fundraising, marketing, and design; am an avid runner, cyclist, hiker, backpacker, fly fisherwoman, kayaker, skier, and naturalist; and believe that one of the best ways to protect our natural resources and wild places is to get people out to experience them and fall in love with them for themselves.

In 2016 I am looking forward to elevating how we engage with YOU, our members, volunteers, and supporters, and expanding our engagement to reach new supporters in Montana and across the country. We want to hear more from you: your stories, photos, ideas, and reasons for loving The Bob. And we want to share more of our work with you: how your contributions are working toward improving access and resource conservation within The Bob, connecting people with this spectacular place, teaching kids skills, confidence, and teamwork, and building a strong community around love for our wild places.

So be sure to connect with us on facebook, instagram, and sign up for our mailing list.  And be sure to share your stories, ideas, and photos with us, on social media or by emailing trails@bmwf.org

It’s a pleasure to meet you,

Margosia Jadkowski

Thankful

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If you listen to the news and follow politics, you probably feel pretty helpless as it appears our world is in a state of chaos. But don’t forget all the good things that happen.  Take a deep breath, get comfortable and join BMWF as we celebrate Thanksgiving by thanking the people who put their boots on the ground in 2015!

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Are you comfortable? WCC Interns AJ and Mike take a well deserved siesta after a hard day on the trail while still keeping their boots on the ground.

For starters, BMWF was led this summer by an amazing group of Crew Leaders. These folks have the hardest job in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex. Spending the summer deep in the Wilderness doing manual labor is the easy part.  A typical week for a crew leader includes: menu planning, food shopping, packer wrangling, driving down long bumpy roads, backcountry cooking, hazing salt seeking deer, blister treating and most important: getting to know and training  a new group of volunteers each week to perform manual labor using primitive tools.  These folks are the core of the BMWF experience, and they are dedicated and passionate.   We are THANKFUL for Courtney, Chrissie, Jimmy, Evan and Ben!

Of course without volunteers, our Crew Leaders would have no one to spend time with in the Wilderness! In 2015 309 volunteers dedicated their time and energy and gave back to the Wilderness.  These are the folks who packed all the gear into the backcountry, the kids who swung a pulaski for the first time, the seasoned volunteer who made the crosscut sing hour after hour and the guy who volunteered for over 6 projects and turned every meal into a gourmet masterpiece after a hard day’s work (I am looking at you Rory Kain!).  We are THANKFUL for our volunteers!

2015 was also the first year of the Wilderness Conservation Corps (WCC). This program was inspired by the desire to engage more youth in the Wilderness while offering career building opportunities for college students pursuing natural resource professions. The Corps was made up of four incredible students led by Crew Leader Courtney Wall. They participated in 6- 10 day hitches for the entire summer and worked hard, had fun, and gained valuable skills. We are THANKFUL for Claire, AJ, Che and Mike!

Sure there were forest fires that canceled projects, flat tires, blisters and sore muscles, but as I sit in my office in Hungry Horse on a cold winter day, I can’t help but smile a big, Wilderness size grin as I look back on all that was accomplished in the field this summer.

2015 by the Numbers*

  • 36 projects
  • 309 volunteers
  • Brushed 66 miles of trail
  • Cleared 2,229 trees
  • Cleaned 315 water bars and drain dips
  • 5,297 yards of tread improved
  • Hand Pulled 55 acres of weeds
  • Sprayed 10 acres of weeds
  • A Total of 133 miles of trail cleared and maintained
  • For a total wilderness stewardship value of $378,039.84!!

*These numbers were easily tallied because of the AMAZING gift of a custom MS Access database built by Mark Dostal. Mark, you are my hero…  I am THANKFUL for your contribution! 

All this wonderful stuff would not be possible without the Administrative staff, Forest Service Support, direction and dedication from the Board Of Directors, and financial supporters.

There is still good in the world, and you can find it in our wild places and I am THANKFUL for that.

Happy Trails,

Rebecca Powell, Program Director

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The Program Director gets a Wilderness recharge at the end of a successful season.

 

Art Sale

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In August 2014 Karen Thorson, Montana artist from Plains, spent two weeks immersed in Wilderness.  Granite Cabin, a single room with a pert white interior, was her ‘home’ base.  Painting ‘Plein air’ using acrylic on canvas she created “Earth,” “Sky,” “Wind,” and “Water”.  These are clustered with clay pots and fused glass to bring to life the wilderness landscape of the Great Bear Wilderness.

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AWC Art Clusters copy 4AWC Art Clusters copy 6These spectacular paintings are perfect  for the grand lodges of Glacier, Wilderness lodges, or hotels that surround ‘the Bob’ Wilderness. Or for your very own home.  Each cluster is priced at $1,550. You must see to appreciate the grandeur!  

We are currently using Ebay as our selling platform and the pieces can be viewed in person by interested buyers. Each ‘cluster’ is valued at $1,550 but you can submit any offer!

Bob Marshall Wilderness, a not for profit 501 (c) 3 is the recipient of the donation raised from the sale of these fine art pieces.  All proceeds go toward creating life changing experiences in the backcountry while keeping trails open and working for the conservation of wildland habitat.

Please contact us if you would like to support this important cause with the purchase of fine art.

Coming Soon to the Outlaw Center!

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Were you unable to volunteer on a trip with us this summer?

Do you like local art and/or photography inspired by personal experiences in the wilderness? (See examples here)

Are you in need of a new day-pack, base-layer, or warm winter hat?

Do you enjoy drinking local micro-brews or cocktails?

Do you thrive off of hearing the stories of our rich, regional history of the Flathead valley?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you MUST join us at the 9th Annual Voices of the Wilderness on Friday, November 6th! Act NOW and you will be entitled to a $15 ticket!

We will be raffling off tickets to win a Kokopelli Nirvana packraft & a 5 night pack-trip into ‘the Bob’ for two, provided by Swan Mountain Outfitters!

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This could be YOURS!


Keynote Speaker: John Fraley

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This year, John Fraley, author of Wild River Pioneers, will share his knowledge and stories revolving around the wildest river drainage in Montana, the Middle Fork of the Flathead. Fraley is full of tales that include romance in the Wilderness, bear encounters, and some of the legendary characters immersed in the Great Bear Wilderness.

Whitefish Mountain Resort will provide a table of fresh sushi creations. There will be other savory snacks as well, including beef summer sausage and crackers. Folk music will keep you entertained throughout the evening. There is even rumor that ‘Bob’, the man himself, will make an appearance and be available for pictures!

Please join us at the spacious and newly upgraded Outlaw Center, 1701 Highway 93 S in Kalispell at 7PM on Friday November 6th. All funds will benefit the boots on the ground effort of our volunteers in ‘the Bob’.

Packer of the Year

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If you read last week’s post, which I am sure you did, you know that without pack support even the burliest trail volunteers would be stuck at the trail head.  BMWF relies heavily on mules and horses to haul tools and supplies into our backcounty work sites. Folks who pack as a hobby or career are becoming more and more scarce and finding packers who can volunteer their time, skills and stock to help make our program run are hard to find.

BMWF is so very fortunate to have a number of packers that volunteer for us many times, year after year. We are honored to celebrate one of these packers, Ralph Hopkins, as the 2015  ‘Packer of the Year’!

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Ralph packing a BMWF project out of Spotted Bear Country

Ralph is a man of many talents. He was a BMWF board member for 5 years, and when our office computers and printers tell us to contact our ‘system administrator’ or else.. we call Ralph. Sometimes he can even fix the problem, but if not, at least he can offer the frazzled office staff some humor, calm demeanor and condolences. In addition to his tech skills and  Board Member contributions, Ralph is also an accomplished packer. Ralph started packing for the BMWF in 2002 when Carla Cline was the Executive Director, and has averaged 1 to 2 trips a year for the past 13 years! He is also an active member of the Backcountry Horsemen and is the current president of the Flathead chapter.

Ralph, his stock and wife Kenni waiting patiently as volunteers clear the trail so they can ride to camp.

Crew Leader Courtney Wall reflects on leading a project where Ralph was the packer: “The trail into camp had not seen much maintenance. It was one of those typical ‘Middle Fork’ trails that had a lot of brush, trees down and steep up’s and down’s. We were working hard during the hike in to camp by clearing trees and other obstacles so Ralph and his stock could safely get the supplies to camp. There was a lot of stopping and waiting he had to do. His stock was getting antsy, but Ralph was cool as a cucumber! He really did not make us feel rushed or stressed. Ralph’s laid back, yet competent attitude allowed us to work safely.”  

Packing into Big Prairie or Halfmoon Park are some of Ralph’s favorite destinations in The Bob, but he also enjoys hunting, fishing or just being in the great outdoors. Ralph has made a few trips around the sun, and is Ralph and Taylor repelingkept young at heart by joining his son Taylor in adventures that most would cower at. Repelling into a slot canyon in Utah? Sure, why not! 14 mile hikes in the desert (without a horse) O.K!

Give Ralph and Taylor an old beat up truck, some home brew and a few tanks of gas and there is no telling what adventure they could get into. Much to his wife, Kenni’s amusement.

Ralph has proven to be a valuable asset to BMWF and the packing community as a whole. So next time you run into him on the trail or in town, be sure to give him a handshake and say THANK YOU!

BOB Loves ‘The Bob’ and we love BOB!

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Each summer BMWF is lucky to have about 300 folks join us in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex. Volunteers come in all shapes and sizes, but the common thread that they all have is a desire to step out of their daily routine to reconnect with themselves, others, and nature for a day, a week, or even several weeks.

This summer we had several (OK, more like hundreds) of volunteers that stood out and were nominated for the prestigious ‘Trail Dawg of the Year’ title and ‘Volunteer Packer of the Year’ title. However, two names seemed to be repeated again and again to our Crew Leaders. So without further adieu, drum roll please….

The 2015 “Trail Dawg of the Year” is longtime volunteer, Bob Sims!

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Bob enjoying a Wilderness stroll to work. pc. Todd Harwell

Bob has been volunteering with the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation for 19 years! Which means he has been a volunteer since the first year the BMWF did trail projects in ‘the Bob’. Not only does Bob join us in the woods, but each time the BMWF travels to his hometown of Great Falls, Bob is there to lend a hand!

 How many times have you volunteered with the BMWF? Where did you work? I can remember doing 17 projects in the last 19 years that I have volunteered. I worked for the National Weather Service here in Great Falls and as luck would have it, I was able to retire at 54 years of age. My first year volunteering with the BMWF I believe was 1997. Nick Cheney was the crew leader and it was a car camping trip on Dupuyer Creek.

Tell me about a favorite experience or moment from your volunteer project with BMWF: I really enjoyed the Castle Lake project both times that I did it. But the best was when I got my son Lee to join the project.  Glacier Raft Co. brought in rafts and we got to float out to Highway 2. Our raft baptized us at Spruce Park but no one was injured. I think our guide ended up buying beer for the rest of the guides.

Tell me a little bit about why you volunteer in the backcountry. What do you like? Why do you do it? I have backpacked in ‘the BOB’ many times before I started volunteering.

Over time I lost all my backpacking buddies and I didn’t want to go alone. So when I found out about your group it fit perfectly in with my desire to keep exploring the BOB.

I think everyone that lives in the greatest country in the world should give something back and this is one of my ways. I like everything about volunteering with you folks but the best part by far is working with like-minded volunteers…they are the greatest, as are the crew leaders and your staff.

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Bob improving the tread along the Castle Lake trail in the Great Bear Wilderness

Where is your favorite spot in ‘The Bob’? My favorite spot in ‘the BOB’ is Dean Lake and Pentagon Mountain. This is truly a beautiful spot.

When not volunteering with the BMWF, what kinds of other things do you enjoy? For fun I spend the fall months hunting with my son and buddies. Elk hunting is by far the most fun. The rest of the year I enjoy going to fun runs around the state which also keeps me fit for the other things I enjoy. Volunteering is very important to me so I do a lot with other groups such as MT FWP, Tax Help MT, etc

What is your favorite backcountry meal?  I can honestly say I’ve never had a bad meal in the backcountry. Maybe the hard work made everything taste great. But Addy had a bean dish that really hit the spot.

What piece of camping gear is essential to you in the woods? The 1st thing that goes in my pack is my water filter or pen. In the BOB where the water is pretty good I now use a SteriPen which is easier to use than a filter.

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Bob (3rd from right) enjoying quality time with like minded volunteers.

Any other comments you would like to add?  I really admire your group of workers from the office staff on up to the Crew Leaders. I have worked with at least a dozen different crew leaders and I have never met one I didn’t like and respect. Their work ethic is outstanding and some come back year after year. It’s certainly not the pay that makes you folks work so hard all year. But whatever you do to attract such great people, keep it up.

I haven’t mentioned the Back Country Horsemen but without them I certainly wouldn’t be volunteering as much. As I get older I depend on them to carry part of my load which allows me to do some projects that I couldn’t do without them.

THANK YOU Bob for dedicating so much of your time to the BMWF over the past 19 years! 

Have you volunteered on a project with Bob before? Leave a comment to help us say THANKS!

Stay tuned to next weeks blog post on our “Volunteer Packer of the Year” Ralph Hopkins!

Bobtoberfest 2015!

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Bobtoberfest is nearly upon us! This Monday, October 5th we’ll be kicking it all off with our first “Beers for the Bob” event in Helena at Blackfoot River Brewing. Join our volunteers, crew leaders, and staff at 5pm to raise a glass (or more!) in recognizing the hard work of BMWF’s many volunteers.

This summer 214 dedicated volunteers took time out of their lives to clear and brush trails, remove noxious weeds, and improve tread! We hope you’ll join us in celebrating their tireless efforts. $1 from every beer sold will come right back to the Foundation.

Raffle Tickets will also be sold for prizes including: a Kokopelli Packraft and a 5 night pack trip for two with the Swan Mountain Outfitters.kokopelliraft

All money raised at the event will go directly back into providing meaningful experiences to give back to the Bob and into getting even more boots on the ground keeping trails open and maintaining wildlife habitat.

Can’t make the Helena event? Next up:

October 7th, KettleHouse North, Missoula, 5pm
October 8th, Philipsburg Brewing Company, Philipsburg, 5pm
October 20th, Flathead Lake Brewing, Bigfork, 5pm

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You know you need one of these Beers for the Bob tumblers. Lucky for you, we’ll be selling them at the events!

Backcountry Meal Tips from the Bob Squad

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Finally the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex is experiencing cooler weather and cloudier skies! For those of you dreaming up fall camping expeditions, we’ve compiled a short list of ‘Greatest Hits’ from this summer’s backcountry meals. Skip the oatmeal for a day, instead treat yourself to some of these Bob-approved treats:

Breakfast

Grits and Spicy Sausage

Stone-ground Grits
Spicy Sausage (We recommend Chorizo!)
Cheddar Cheese
Butter

Who said oatmeal is the easiest breakfast? We think this cooks up pretty fast too. In a pot, cook grits using a 4:1 water:grits ratio. First bring water to a boil, then lower temperature and add grits. Let grits simmer uncovered until creamy. While this is going, crumble sausage into a buttered pan and cook over medium heat. When sausage is browned and grits are cooked, combine them and serve with butter and grated cheese whipped in.

Coconut Couscous

Couscous
(1) Can of coconut milk
(1 cup) Chopped dried Mangos
(1/2 cup) Walnuts
(1 tblsp) Cinnamon

Cook couscous using a 1:2/3cup water:couscous ratio. Bring water to a boil, add couscous and let simmer for 10 minutes or less, covered. Once the couscous has fluffed up, pour in the coconut milk and add nuts and fruit. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Serve!

Appetizers

Topped Triscuits

Box of Triscuits
Cream Cheese
Apples
Wasabi Hummus
Jicama Root

With so many flavors of Triscuits out there these days, you can’t go wrong. The two combos depicted here are: Slices of apples and cream cheese on original flavored Triscuits and slices of Jicama Root and and Wasabi Hummus on Fire Roasted Tomato Triscuits. One Sweet, one savory, both delicious

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New York Deli Apps

Bagel Chips
Smoked Salmon Cream Cheese
Cucumber
Dill Weed

Spread cream cheese on bagel chips and top with thin slices of cucumber and a sprinkling of dill weed for a Jewish-delicatessen-inspired snack.

 Dinner

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It’s not every day you get fresh trout from the river behind your campsite, BUT if you should be so lucky don’t miss out on the opportunity to cook it up. We didn’t have any flour in our camp, but we fried ours up using a batter of crumbled triscuits and pancake mix. Since we had all the fixings for burritos, we made Fish Tacos instead! Yum!

Jimmy’s Spicy Chili

(2)  28oz cans Italian stewed tomatoes
(1) white or yellow onion
(5) cloves of garlic
(2) cans of black beans
(1) can of garbanzo beans
(1) can of kidney beans
(1) can of corn
(1) packet of chili powder
(1/2 tbsp) black pepper
(1/2 tsp) cinnamon
sour cream and shredded cheese
(optional) diced green chilies
(optional) Juanitas tortilla chips

Slice onion and mince garlic then heat in skillet. Drain water from bean and corn cans. Pour tomatoes into chili pot and simmer. Add cooked garlic and onions to chili pot, as well as green chilies, chili packet, and black pepper. Add drained beans and corn. Add cinnamon 5 mins before serving. Add salt, tortilla chips, sour cream, and shredded cheese to taste to individual servings.

Courtney’s Backcountry Pizzas

(1) piece of Na’an Bread/person
Shredded Mozzarella and Cheddar Cheese
Tomato Sauce

Toppings, including but not limited to: Artichoke Hearts, Pineapple, Anchovies, Peppers, Mushrooms, Slices of Fresh Mozzarella, Carmelized Onions, Sundried Tomatoes, Olives, Fresh Basil, Slices of Whole Tomato, Pepperoni, Spinach, ETC!

If you’ve never used Indian Na’an Bread to make backcountry pizza, you are missing out! It’s typically available in the Bakery/Deli section of your grocery store and comes in packages of at least two. Each individual gets to build their own pizza! Start with several spoonfuls of sauce and top with a layer of shredded cheese and whatever else you dream up. Then, place the pizza in a buttered, warmed skillet over medium heat and cover. Remove when the bottom of the bread/crust is browned and the cheese is melted!

Backcountry BBQ Sandwiches

 Sick of eating pasta on the last day of your trip? Here’s another durable backcountry meal that will last until the end the bitter end.

(1) bottle of BBQ Sauce (we used a bottle from Perfect Cuts in Columbia Falls, for this recipe)
(1) White or Yellow Onion
(5) Cloves of Garlic
Canned Chicken
Dill pickles

Saute chopped garlic and onions in a saucepan. Once cooked, add BBQ Sauce and canned chicken and stir to cover.

Mayo-less Coleslaw:
(1) Head Red Cabbage
(1) Red Onion
Carrots, Cucumbers- other leftover veggies from your trip
Apple Cider Vinegar
Brown Mustard
Paprika
Dill
Celery Seed

To make coleslaw: Chop up head of red cabbage into coarse slices. Slice cucumber and carrots finely. Slice red onion. Mix vegetables with several spoonfuls of mustard, spices, and apple cider vinegar.

Heap BBQ Chicken and coleslaw onto buns. Don’t forget the pickles!

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Dessert

Bob’s Boats

(4 or 5) Dates (pitted)/person
Mascarpone Cheese
Walnuts
Dark Chocolate Bars

A simple dessert that can be made in the field or ahead of time and packed! Split dates open, fill with a dollop of mascarpone cheese, half a walnut, and a square of dark chocolate! Bon Apetit!

Trailworker Tiramisu

(1 or 2) Packages of White Chocolate Flavored Jello Pudding
Instant Milk
1 Tiny Bottle of Kahlua (like the kind you get on an airplane)
(2 tblsp) Instant Espresso Powder (available in the baking aisle)
Ladyfingers Cookies or Nilla Wafers in a Pinch
(1) Dark Chocolate Bar

If you’re feeling a little more ambitious, this is a backcountry treat not to be missed. About an hour ahead of time, follow package directions to mix instant milk and water with Jello Pudding mixes. If you have a creek nearby, you can rest the bowl of jello in there to cool it down and allow it to set up. (Make sure you can keep an eye on it) If there isn’t any cool water around, just cover the bowl and put it in the shade. While the pudding is setting up, heat about 2 cups of water and mix in espresso powder. Add Kahlua once espresso is hot. To serve, layer the dessert as follows: 1 layer of cookies/wafers, 1 layer of pudding spread on top, drizzle espresso/kahlua on top. Then repeat to make two layers! Sprinkle dark chocolate shavings over the top (achieved with a cheese grater), and top with a square of chocolate for good measure!

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If you don’t mind carrying a little extra weight or if you’re being packed in, don’t forget the Bota Box! Boxed wine can be pretty high quality these days!

Wildfires Bring the Season to a Close

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What a season it has been! After a summer of hot dry weather, recent lightening storms have resulted in numerous large fire starts in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex and forced BMWF to cancel all trips for the foreseeable future. While we all endeavor to avoid the smokey skies and re-negotiate our daily commutes to avoid certain roads and highways, I thought I’d reflect on three of the recent and successful trips I’ve had the privilege to work on. DSC_6125

It was only a few weeks ago that I was out on a trip down the South Fork of the Flathead River. We retraced Bob Marshall’s footsteps to a lovely camp near the Hodag Ridge Trail and spent several days clearing trees and cutting tread.

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The fishing was wonderful, the laughter was even better, and when the first windy, stormy front came through we were in good spirits and didn’t mind clearing all the resulting blowdown on the Hodag Ridge Trail again! 

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It’s crazy to realize what a huge fire that storm brought about. At this writing the fire is almost 68,000 acres and still burning! The night the storm blew in was certainly wild with wind, smoke, and fire-starting lightning. We were all checking in with one another from our tents, and finally fell pleasantly asleep to the sound of rain. We hiked out a few days later, and missed the subsequent fire blow-up.

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I had a day off after the South Fork adventure, so I went out to Bennie Hill in the Lewis & Clark National Forest where Jimmy and a fun crew were working.

Bennie Hill is in the Lewis & Clarke National Forest

Don and Colleen Scharfe of Rocky Mountain Outfitter had gathered a rollicking group of old friends together to bust out some trail work and a couple other volunteers even agreed to join in on the work party.

Colorful Campers!

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A big elk-sized thank-you to all the work they accomplished on trails in the area. It sounds like it was a crosscutting, lopping extravaganza in an absolutely beautiful area.

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I had the privilege to co-lead my last trip of the season with Mr. Jimmy Durda. Though we had only two volunteers, they were tough ladies, and their skills with saw and loppers were unsurpassed.  We cleared the entire Twin Lakes Trail in the Lincoln Ranger District!

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Leaving the smoke filled Flathead Valley behind was a relief, but it soon followed us into the Scapegoat Wilderness. Unbelievably, at the time of our visit, there were no fire restrictions on the Helena National Forest!  We were sure this would not be the case for long, but we were happy for several deep breaths of fresh air we did inhale while there. DSC_6763We were lucky to find a beautiful campsite that still had fresh green grass! It was also a treat for our volunteer packers’ mules and horses.  The site was so luxurious that Outlaw Bob, Sue, their pack animals,  and three loving dogs decided to camp with us for several nights.DSC_6576  They were a wonderful family to come home to after a long day of trail work.

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I also want to give a special shout-out to Marley from Bigfork, who was our youngest individual volunteer of the season! It’s not every day you can convince a high schooler to spend her last week of summer vacation working for free in the woods! We had a blast with you Marley!  thanks for returning to volunteer this year.

On Sunday we made the 12 (ish) mile hike out of the woods and returned to the news that much of the Northern Bob Marshall Complex has been closed to the public due to fires.  We are so glad to have had such a great last hurrah and to have gotten a little more trail work done before resources are needed elsewhere to fight fire!DSC_6776

A huge thank-you to everyone who came out and worked with us this summer. Volunteers are the reason we exist, AND the reason we have so much fun at our jobs.

Stay safe, breathe fresh air when you can, enjoy the cooling weather!
Chrissie Bodznick
West Side Crew Leader

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Clearing to the Pass

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On July 3rd, the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation’s WCC crew hiked out from the luxurious Monture cabin (running water!) into their back country camp 12 miles down the Monture Creek Trail #27, clearing along the way.

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-Courtney and Claire hiking in.


The next day we cleared Center Creek Trail #463. This secondary trail needed quite a bit of work and we only made it about three miles before the thunder made us call it quits. After a hard day of sawing logs, we celebrated the 4th of July appropriately with brats, hot dogs and of course a rousing version of “The Star Spangled Banner”.

  • IMG_1589 As you can see, the wind wreaked havoc on this burned forest near Monture Falls.

           The crew took another long day clearing the next four miles of the steeply graded Center Creek Trail #463. As we approached Young’s Pass, we met back up with Jacob Long, a Recreation Manager with the Forest Service, who had been giving us direction on what trails needed work. He informed us that he had good news and bad news and asked which we wanted first. At the end of our long, tiring day we decided to hear the bad news first. It turned out that the trail ran straight through an avalanche chute and that there were over 40 downed trees. The good news was that there was only about a half mile more to the pass. Mike and AJ finished the clearing the next day.

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Che and Mike running the crosscut.

The WCC crew then spent the next two days cleaning drains and water bars up to Haun and Limestone passes. Courtney, Mike and Che hadn’t had enough of a hike over the last 6 days and decided to continue towards Limestone Pass after the work day, while AJ opted out to prepare some hors d’oeuvres for the famished crew.

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-AJ about to cool off after work in Monture Falls

We’d all love to give a big heartfelt thanks to Matt for packing us out in the pouring rain!

-by AJ Baeseman

Hot off the press: Summer eNewsletter

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What’s happening in ‘The Bob’?

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Group selfie on a day off hike in The Bob

Smokey Bear says fire danger is “Very High” in The Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex.  The good news is that there are no large forest fires burning in ‘the Bob’ and August is shaping up to have ‘average’ temperatures; Yah Hoo!
BMWF has not yet had to cancel or move any projects due to fire or other natural happenings unsafe for humans to be part of.  Click here for weather forecast for the heart of ‘The Bob’
Montana Academy Girls
Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, boarding schools, and 24 kids from inner city Huston, Texas, to name a few, joined BMWF in July to lay down some trail tread and bust through some log tangles. Check out the BMWF FaceBook page to see the smiling faces behind these projects.
The best part of summer is yet to come and we hope you are planning to join one of BMWF’s trips in August or September. There are spaces still available on projects with adults like yourself.  Don’t be surprised if you find some s’mores still on the Crew Leader menus (but no campfires, sooo maybe chocolate fondue instead!)
Ben cooking up some grub for hardworking volunteers!

Ben cooking up some grub for hardworking volunteers!

VOLUNTEERS STILL NEEDED!
Sign-up for your Wilderness Adventure TODAY!  
 
August is the perfect month for a Wilderness adventure. September could be even better.  The following projects still have openings:
Dry Fork (Habitat Restoration), 8/15 – 8/19/15.  Located on
     the beautiful North Fork of the Blackfoot River. Pack
     support provided by Last Chance BCH. Details Here.
Wrong Ridge Trail, 8/24 – 8/30/15.  Located in one of the
     most beautiful areas on the east side of ‘the Bob.’
     Pack support provided by legendary packers Frank and
     Dale. Details Here.
Twin Lakes, 8/25 – 8/30/15.  Bring your fishing pole or just
     just relax in the cool waters of the upper Blackfoot after a
     day of trail clearing. Pack support provided by “Outlaw
     Bob.”  Details Here.
Walking in Bob’s Footsteps to Big Prairie 8/26 – 9/3/15.  Help
maintain a portion of the trails that Bob Marshall himself trod upon during his epic 288 mile hike in 1928!  Bob didn’t have pack support but you will.  Details Here.
Lang Creek Trail 8/30 – 9/4/15.  Explore part of the newly
     designated Wilderness and help get the Lang Creek Trail
     open so others can enjoy it too! Details Here.
Cigarette Rock Trail 9/6 – 9/12/15.  Visit this spectacular rock
     formation and get further into Wilderness as you clear
     beyond the rock.  Details Here.
There is still time to camp in the Wilderness this summer!

There is still time to camp in the Wilderness this summer!

Hunting for Knapweed in the Badger Two-Med

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This past week, BMWF’s WCC Crew experienced a less than glamorous, but hugely important conservation job — noxious weed mapping and removal. We hiked into the Badger Two-Med area to bust up a patch of Spotted Knapweed. When we arrived we found that this patch had invaded and expanded to a size that would be better controlled using herbicide treatments.  Alas, we did our best to knock out the Knapweed by pulling tap-roots and bagging seed heads for two days!

Crewmembers handpulling and bagging up Knapweed at the Confluence of Badger Creek and Lookout Creek

Crewmembers hand pulling and bagging up Knapweed at the Confluence of Badger Creek and Lookout Creek

When we ran out of trash bags, we hiked along Badger Creek looking for more weed infestations. Utilizing a GPS we recorded the exact location of Spotted Knapweed, Hounds tongue, and Canada Thistle. Spotted Knapweed was found on several gravel bars and in creekside meadows.

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Crew members crossing Badger Creek to survey the other side

We learned that management of noxious weeds is incredibly important to protect biodiversity. Our workplace, the “Crown of the Continent” is home to thousands of native plants and a list of plant and animal species that has remained largely unchanged since Lewis and Clark first explored the area. Noxious weeds have the potential to out-compete these natives, some of them exuding toxic chemicals through their root systems while others have extremely effective mechanisms for seed dispersal.

Blanketflower, seen among several other native wildflowers that could be threatened if invasive weed populations continue to thrive in this area.

Blanketflower, seen among several other native wildflowers that could be threatened if invasive weed populations continue to thrive in this area.

Everyday on our commute we enjoyed the vast, open views of sharp peaks and rocky reefs iconic to the East Side of the divide

Everyday on our commute to the work site we enjoyed the vast, open views of sharp peaks and rocky reefs, iconic to the East Side of the divide

First Hitch: Without a hitch.

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The summer of 2015 is the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundations first season of the Wilderness Conservation Corps (WCC). The WCC team consist of 4 corps member and one crew leader. They have 6- 10 day hitches planned across the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex. Below is a post from WCC corps member Claire. Enjoy! 

2015 WCC Crew  AJ, Courtney, Mike, Claire. Not pictured: Che

2015 WCC Crew
AJ, Courtney, Mike, Claire. Not pictured: Che

The WCC’s first trip for the season was to clear trail from Big Salmon Lake to Pendant pass, in the Spotted Bear ranger district. We began at Meadow Creek trailhead and ended at Holland Lake. Along the way, we stayed at multiple backcountry cabins including Black Bear, Salmon Forks, and Pendant cabin. Every cabin was fully stocked with Tang and cribbage boards—so a good time was guaranteed.

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Second night of the hitch at Big Salmon Forks

It was expected to be the hardest trip of our season because we had no pack support and were backpacking the whole way. But I can now safely say that this first hitch of ours, went off without a hitch!

Since this was our first trip outside of training, it was a great opportunity to put all we learned from training to the test. We had ample opportunity to practice our crosscut, silky, axe, and Pulaski skills.

Hiking along Big Salmon Lake, clearing as we go!

Hiking along Big Salmon Lake, clearing as we go!

Naturally, there were blisters and bugs, but the food, company, and exciting trail work outweighed the negatives.

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Che, AJ, and Mike enjoying the last night of the hitch at Pendant cabin.

When we got out of the woods we rushed to the Hungry Bear, interns AJ, Mike, and Che ordered the gut bomb!

Beginning the descent from Pendant Pass to Holland Lake.

Beginning the descent from Pendant Pass to Holland Lake.

Upper Holland Lake.

Upper Holland Lake.

If this trip is an indicator of what the rest of the summer will be like, then I am ready for it and excited!

-WCC intern Claire

Beers for the Bob in the Bay! Friday, June 26th.

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The Bob Squad is heading to Woods Bay, Montana this Friday, June 26th, for a fun evening of Bluegrass, Beer, Bourbon and BBQ on the shores of Flathead Lake. The Raven and The Front Brewing Company are sponsoring this tap takeover night with proceeds from the evening’s beer and dinner special sales being donated to support the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation’s work throughout the Wilderness Complex. The Spring Wagon Stringband will be picking Bluegrass songs and Whistling Andy Distillery will be on hand providing specialty cocktail specials as well. Tickets for the Foundation’s annual 5-day Pack Trip Raffle with Swan Mountain Outfitters will be available, as well as many other raffle prizes. Festivities begin at 6:00 pm, with beer and BBQ specials available throughout the evening.

The Raven

The Raven is locate at 4.5 miles south of Bigfork, MT on the shore of Flathead Lake at 14729 Shore Acres Drive, Bigfork, MT 59911.

Beers for the Bob in the Bay

Plan almost nothing, pay hardly anything

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The 2015 BMWF projects are filling fast! In fact most projects prior to August already have a waitlist! However, the July 16-22 trail project in the gorgeous North Fork of the Blackfoot still has three spots left. 

North Fork Cabin

North Fork Cabin

Help open the Dry Fork Trail #31 by removing rocks and pesky mud flows that block the trail each spring.  The group will be based out of the North Fork Cabin, a shady oasis on the Blackfoot River where you will cool your feet and cook your meals each evening. The area is surrounded by several nice day hiking opportunities to waterfalls or peaks with stupendous views for your day off outing.

North Fork Falls

North Fork Falls

Gear for this seven day trip will be packed in by Chris Eyer, known on Instagram as muledragger. Chris was the 2014 Bob Marshall Foundation Volunteer of the year.

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North Fork Trailhead Corals

All you need for you trip is your own personal camping gear and a willingness to give back to the Bob! You can register for this volunteer vacation at www.bmwf.org

The Mules will be hehawing ‘Thank You!’

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It’s gotta be a tough and lonely existence.  Shoeing four legged beasts, lifting heavy loads, tightening knots, retightening knots, eating dust, and hitting the trail with only eight long ears to listen to your musings.  For some it is a career, for others it is a hobby. The love of horses, mules, the trail, and  a lot of heavy lifting is not a stranger to many Montanans.  Volunteer packers for the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation will find their loads a little lighter this summer thanks to a few generous donors who gave to the pannier fund.
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Thankkkkkkk Youuuuuu. Let me give you a little lipsmackaroo!

Thanks to gifts from generous donors, BMWF is able to purchase two sets of light weight aluminum bear proof panniers.  The BMWF tool cache is now equipped with four sets of these incredible devices for hitching up loads of deeelicious grub to feed its volunteer trail and weeds crews!
Physcho Saddie says Thank hehaw You!

Physcho Saddie says Thank hehaw You!

Please thank these generous donors who gave to the Pannier Fund:
 Dale Duff
Richard and Jeanne Williams
Richard Lyons
Keith Alltucker
Todd Harwell
Thank You Kindly!
Keith hitting the trail with a load of BMWF supplies.

Keith hitting the trail with a load of BMWF supplies.

Telluride Mountainfilm on Tour

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Spring is an incredibly exciting time for the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation. Our Program Director Rebecca is busy putting the finishing touches on the summer trip schedule, which appears to me as if it is an incredibly complex game of Excel sheet Suduko. Our Executive Director Carol is in her office performing grant writing jujitsu and I am am left with the fun jobs of writing all of you and cataloging the myriad raffle prizes that arrive at the Hungry Horse office each day! It really is wonderful to see the love people have for their Wilderness and the amount of support so many businesses and individuals show for the Foundation’s work. All of us are simultaneously getting ready to circumnavigate the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex with Telluride Mountainfilm Tour!

This is the ninth year that the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation has brought this inspiring offering of films to Montana. Each year we fill the hall at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Great Falls and sell out Helen’s Myrna Loy Center and Whitefish’s O’Shaughnessy Center. We also give away thousands of dollars in raffle prizes! All of which all means you should get your tickets NOW! You can follow this link to our events page to purchase tickets today:

BOB MARSHALL WILDERNESS FOUNDATION EVENTS

We look forward to seeing the Bob Squad come out to support the Foundation on March 17th in Great Falls, March 18th in Helena and March 19th in Whitefish. Doors open at 6:00 pm at all locations, with films at 7:00pm. Advance tickets are $12 and $15 at the door, if they are not sold out.

Look for more updates on raffle prizes and films in the upcoming weeks.

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February Wilderness Speaker Series

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Wilderness Management 101

February 5, 2015 – Flathead Valley Community College

Deb.Welcome

Deb Mucklow

The first speaker in the annual Wilderness Speaker Series will be Spotted Bear District Ranger Deb Mucklow. Deb will address the challenges of managing wilderness in today’s society while still maintaining wilderness character. With 16 years experience working as a District Ranger in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex Deb has many stories to share about the Wilderness landscape.  Her insights into the balance needed between today’s technology, tools, experience and Wilderness Act expectations are sure to be both thought provoking and entertaining. We hope you can join the Montana Wilderness Association-Flathead Kootenai Chapter, The Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation and Flathead Valley Community College for an engaging evening of discussion and reflection.

This free talk begins at 7:00 p.m. at the Arts & Technology Building, Room 139 on Flathead Valley Community College’s Kalispell Campus.

Thank You, Thank You!

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It turns out that the Flathead Valley likes beer… and Wilderness. The combination of the two equals a fun and successful Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation fundraiser.

Last night we had over 200 folks join us at Kalispell Brewing Company for ‘Benefit Brews’ and Volunteer appreciation.

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No shortage of beer drinkers

One dollar for each beer sold came right back to us. We also sold raffle tickets for our Kokopelli Pack Raft and Bob Marshall Pack Trip with Swan Mountain Outfitters as well as a hand full of t-shirts and hats. (Psst…You can still buy raffle tickets for these great prizes. Raffle drawing will be at our next event)

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Cheers. One non profit to another.

So we drank beer, had fun AND most importantly, gave thanks and recognition to our awesome volunteers! This past summer we had over 250 volunteers who took time away from their jobs and family’s to join us in The Bob to clear and improve trails, remove noxious weeds and maintain historic structures. Without our volunteers we would be nothing…seriously, its what we do.

We recognized two special volunteers who stood out in the 2014 class of spectacular volunteers. Our ‘Trail Dawg of the year’ award went to Derek Milner and our ‘Packer of the year’ went to Keith Alltucker. They were awarded with certificates of appreciation and some really cool REI camp chairs donated by Missoula REI. So next time they head into the backcountry, they can kick back in the warm embrace of a mono nylon mesh chair.

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Packer of the year, Keith Alltucker with his granddaughter and Trail Dawg Derek with his daughter.

This is Keith’s second summer volunteering for us. This summer he and his mules (Claude, Coal, Charlie, Catfish and Jezzabel) packed 5 projects in and out of the Wilderness.  That was food, tools and gear for 35 volunteers! Coming from Helena, he put over 2,000 miles on his rig getting to and from trailheads. And he had only one flat tire!

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In his element and never without a smile. Keith Alltucker leading his string of mules.

Derek has volunteered with us for three summers and counting. His trips have includes a trip into Big Prairie to clear the Bartlett Mountain trail in 2012, Castle lake on the Middle Fork of the Flathead in 2013 and this year, 25 mile creek in the Great Bear Wilderness. This summer Derek went above and beyond with the work and recruited some co-workers to join him for 5 days of trail clearing! Derek works for the Forest Service as a soil scientist (aka: Dirt Squeezer) so he is no stranger to working outside. He and his co-workers found it refreshing to get out of the office and put some boots on the ground and remind them of why they do the work they do!

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Off the clock, but still giving back. Derek and crew at Moose lake in the Great Bear Wilderness

So thank you to all who came out last night and all who supported us! Lets do it again soon.

Working as a team. Derek saws while Gary helps with a bind.

Working as a team. Derek saws while Gary helps with a bind.

Dereks new REI chair will be a welcome change from mantes.

Dereks new REI chair will be a welcome change from mantes.

A packers work is never done.

A packers work is never done.

Probably cold, but still smiling. Packing over route creek pass after a snowstorm.

Probably cold, but still happy. Packing over Route Creek pass after a snowstorm.

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The Thrill of New Adventures

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by Trevor Fero, WCC Intern

blog1On July 30th I woke up to the thrill of new adventures. The WCC’s 4th hitch was only hours away and I couldn’t be more excited to enter the Scapegoat Wilderness for the first time. Having previously spent trail day with the Lincoln District, it was nice for me to be working with some familiar faces knowing that we would all work well together.

blog4Our work focused around maintenance on the Upper Landers Trail. This trail is surrounded by thick Lodge Pole Pine regeneration stands that have been there since the 1988 fire and offer great views of the tallest peak in the complex, Red Mountain.  We retreaded and brushed many yards of trail, built and cleared drains and also learn valuable trail skills, like how in-sloping trail tread keeps stock in, protecting the edge of the trail from being trampled, from the Lincoln Ranger District’s non-profit liaison, Chris.

Seeing how this was our 4th hitch I was expecting things to be slightly easier. I figured I was finally in prime trail shape and nothing could stop me. But I was wrong… After spending the majority of the two previous hitches retreading I was having a very hard time getting back into it during this hitch. It seemed that exhaustion had set in between me and the other members of the crew during the second day of work retreading and at times I couldn’t see the light. Right after that moment I realized how lucky I was to be a part of such an amazing crew and as long as I had Alex, Cassidy, Abby and Evan with me I could do anything.blog 2

Within each hitch there are many trials and tribulations which seem to go in cycles. The first couple of days are full of excitement. Then, things slow down and fatigue sets in. That is all followed by more excitement towards the end of the trip due to the hitch ending. When things get hard in the middle of the hitch it’s important to remember that without that learning experience growth is not possible. At the end of the day it’s great to be helping make the complex more accessible for recreation, and it’s great to work with so many amazing people and to be spending time in such amazingly wild places.blog5

Look out Rio 2016, here we come!

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by Cassidy Grady, 2016 WCC Intern

As I swung my pick for the hundredth time that day into the rocky hillside above trail 402, I was startled by shouts from my WCC crewmates. The commotion was a reaction to the rather large, rounded rock Trevor had dug up from the trail and was cradling in his arms with no safe place to put it beside the trail on the steep slope. The crew watched intently as Trevor adjusted his stance, shifted the rock backwards, then forwards, and released it over the beargrass-blanketed slope. It rolled and bounced its way toward the drainage below—the target—all the while picking up speed as our eager whoops and hollers egged it on. A final bound sent the rock soaring through the air until it crashed into the creek with a satisfying “thud.” The crowd went wild. What Wilderness

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t Trevor, Evan, and Abby enjoy the views from Limestone Pass Trailgame could be filled with so much excitement and anticipation? Look out Rio 2016, the Bob Marshall’s own WCC is training for “Alpine Bowling,” the next Olympic sport.

 

Chucking rocks off the trail wasn’t the only thing that occupied our time on the Limestone Pass trail. Tread work was the name of the game for the greater part of the work days with the occasional tasks of clearing drains and repairing rock water bars. We were fortunate enough to have Jeremy Watkins, Trails Specialist for the Seeley Lake Ranger District, pay us a visit to share his expertise and deliver some much needed propane. Jeremy educated us on the specifics of digging tread to make a flat trail at least 24 inches wide with a side slope of 45 degrees. He also emphasized the importance of leaving plenty of room for pack trains on either side of

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A Clark’s Nutcracker finds refuge in a subalpine Fir

the trail so their gear doesn’t get caught in trees. Along with tread instruction, Jeremy gave our crew a demonstration on the proper use of an axe in order to maintain its integrity and an individual’s safety. Not only did we learn that the axe has many parts named after human features—cheek, beard, eye, heel, toe—but we also received information on chopping and sharpening techniques. Overall, this educational experience was not something I will soon forget.

 

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Hildy yawns after arriving at the campsite

This hitch boasted the best bird-watching yet. The unmistakable screech of the Clark’s nutcracker reached our ears most days accompanied by numerous sightings of the seedeaters as they sought and stored their seeds for the winter months ahead. Mosquitos were in abundance around our camp area, and while we didn’t “hum” with joy at the sight of them, the hummingbirds sure did. As the number of insects became overwhelming and attracted hummingbirds to the scene, we were fortunate enough to get a closer look at the energetic little fellas from the comfort of our Crazy Creeks. We even spotted a few Western Tanagers, and a Mountain Bluebird graced us with its presence during a water break.

There were so many little things to appreciate when I look back on this hitch: huckleberry picking, a peak summit, and trail games to name a few. While these memories may fade, what I have learned from them will not. It’s all the little moments spent in the Bob that have helped me secure a sense of place and an everlasting appreciation for the natural world. It’s all the little moments that make me realize why I love the Bob.

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A New England Aster in the foreground with views of the Bob Marshall Wilderness

 

Wilderness Conservation Crew takes on Headquarters Pass

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by Abby Hobza, WCC Intern

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A new friend!

This hitch wasn’t just a Wilderness Conservation Corps work party.  Trail crew leader Rebecca Kambic and a six (6) BMWF volunteers joined us as we trekked up Headquarters Pass in hopes of seeing mountain goats (oh, and to do some work too).  The hike to the top was short but steep and breathtakingly beautiful with waterfalls, ridges, and mountain views all around.  Once we got to camp, we wasted no time setting up our backcountry kitchen, tents, and exploring the surrounding area.

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Two Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation crews, one mission.

The next couple days consisted of installing check steps, water bars, and a handful of rock water bars.  I never knew how much work installing a rock water bar would be.  Rebecca Kambic took the lead on instructing the WCC and volunteers on the importance of making contact between the rocks, and the number one rule which is, if you can lift the rock by yourself, it’s too small to use. Navigating in a burn area with few rocks large enough and in close proximity posed a challenge for building these rock water bars.

 

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WCC members Evan and Trevor celebrate their hard work.

The work took place over the Fourth of July weekend and was the perfect way to celebrate this national holiday in one of the most beautiful places in The Bob working with a quality group of individuals passionate about Wilderness conservation.  Seeing the Chinese Wall in the distance and learning from volunteers who have volunteered with the Foundation for twenty years was amazing.  After work, we cooked up Bratwurst in celebration of the Fourth.

After Rebecca and the BMWF volunteers departed, the WCC remained at Headquarters Pass for another four days.  We lived through a lightening/hail/thunder/snow storm, and discovered that the check steps, water bars, and rock water bars that we had built actually worked and held up to this watery assault.

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Proof that anything can happen in the backcountry, even snow in July!

We had to tweak a few check steps but for the most part they did their job of diverting runoff from the trail to prevent erosion. We spent the rest of our hitch rebuilding the trail tread in order to make it wider for stock.

This hitch was full of great company, mountain goats, valuable lessons, and of course, a much needed dosage of time in The Bob.

First Hitch of the Season: Big Salmon Lake

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By Evan Booth: 2016 Wilderness Conservation Corps Intern

The Wilderness Conservation Corps did not waste any time getting to work on our first hitch of the 2016 field season.  With plenty of windfall and large areas of newly burned terrain throughout the Spotted Bear Ranger District, the 4 other crew members and I eagerly embarked on our hike to Salmon Forks Cabin.

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Crew members Cassidy, Alex, and Abby hike through a burned area en route to Black Bear Cabin.

After two days, a pit stop at Black Bear Cabin, and over twenty miles of hiking, we finally arrived at Salmon Forks and were ready to begin clearing up to and around Big Salmon Lake.  At 8 AM sharp the next morning, we set out for our first full day of trail work.  Within minutes of leaving the cabin, we realized that clearing to Big Salmon Lake, a mere 0.5 mile jaunt, was not going to be a simple task as multitudes of trees had fallen within the past year. Soon, the familiar hum of the cross-cut saw filled the forest air, and as the freshly sawn wooden noodles fell to the ground and the minutes passed, we slowly but surely cut our way to Big Salmon Lake.

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Crew member Trevor works on a tricky set of logs blocking the trail.  The end result was pretty sweet though!

Throughout our three days of trail work, we ended cleared 175 trees, retreaded 20 yards of trail, and brushing many areas that had become overgrown with foliage.

Life in the backcountry isn’t all work, however, and each night after dinner I would head down to explore the rushing waters of the South Fork, fly rod in hand.  After a long day on the trail swinging heavy tools, the lightness of casting a fly was the perfect post-work therapy.  The fishing did not disappoint, and beautiful native Westslope Cutthroat Trout filled my nights with excitement and beauty.

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A native Westslope Cutthroat Trout caught on a dry fly on the South Fork of the Flathead River.  The South Fork is home to one of the last genetically pure populations of Westslope Cutthroat in all of Montana, another example of a precious resource protected by the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex.

Reflecting upon our days of work, I began to focus less on the numbers of trees cut (although that is important data essential to quantifying the amount of work completed) and focused more on the time, thought, and quality of work that goes into each hour on the job.  Although it will only go down as the number “1” in the work report, a massive Lodgepole Pine that Trevor and I cut out of the trail the first morning means much more than a number to me.  It means analyzing the bind on a tricky downslope, crafting a safe and efficient plan for our cuts, and communicating to each other as the saw slipped through decades, maybe even centuries, of the tree’s life.  It means the pulsing back and shoulder muscles that accompany the sawing motion.  It means the satisfying “thump” of a freed tree segment as it falls to the ground, and it means the relief and exultation in the high-five between two amateur sawyers.  Most importantly, however, it means one more hour spent caring for a special place that so many hold sacred, it means one more hour of love for The Bob.

 

Work in the Wilderness this summer

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Have you ever wanted to call this your office? 

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Crew Leader Evan Kulesa checking the map for clues.

The Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation is looking for a few hard working, Wilderness loving, safety orientated folks to spend the summer in the  Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex.

We are hiring Wilderness Crew Leaders and Wilderness Conservation Corps Interns for the 2016 field season.

Click on the links below for more information

WILDERNESS CREW LEADER

WILDERNESS CONSERVATION CORPS INTERNSHIP 

PACKER APPRENTICE PROGRAM

Read more about what it is like to be a crew leader by scrolling back through our Bob Blog!

Pleased to meet you…

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I am thrilled to be joining Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation as the new Outreach Coordinator! To introduce myself briefly (I promise): I am from Maine originally, studied Geology at Colby College in Maine; am finishing thesis research for a masters in Sustainability and Environmental Management at Harvard University; have worked in the nonprofit and public sectors around various environmental and education issues in outreach, education, advocacy, fundraising, marketing, and design; am an avid runner, cyclist, hiker, backpacker, fly fisherwoman, kayaker, skier, and naturalist; and believe that one of the best ways to protect our natural resources and wild places is to get people out to experience them and fall in love with them for themselves.

In 2016 I am looking forward to elevating how we engage with YOU, our members, volunteers, and supporters, and expanding our engagement to reach new supporters in Montana and across the country. We want to hear more from you: your stories, photos, ideas, and reasons for loving The Bob. And we want to share more of our work with you: how your contributions are working toward improving access and resource conservation within The Bob, connecting people with this spectacular place, teaching kids skills, confidence, and teamwork, and building a strong community around love for our wild places.

So be sure to connect with us on facebook, instagram, and sign up for our mailing list.  And be sure to share your stories, ideas, and photos with us, on social media or by emailing trails@bmwf.org

It’s a pleasure to meet you,

Margosia Jadkowski

Thankful

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If you listen to the news and follow politics, you probably feel pretty helpless as it appears our world is in a state of chaos. But don’t forget all the good things that happen.  Take a deep breath, get comfortable and join BMWF as we celebrate Thanksgiving by thanking the people who put their boots on the ground in 2015!

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Are you comfortable? WCC Interns AJ and Mike take a well deserved siesta after a hard day on the trail while still keeping their boots on the ground.

For starters, BMWF was led this summer by an amazing group of Crew Leaders. These folks have the hardest job in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex. Spending the summer deep in the Wilderness doing manual labor is the easy part.  A typical week for a crew leader includes: menu planning, food shopping, packer wrangling, driving down long bumpy roads, backcountry cooking, hazing salt seeking deer, blister treating and most important: getting to know and training  a new group of volunteers each week to perform manual labor using primitive tools.  These folks are the core of the BMWF experience, and they are dedicated and passionate.   We are THANKFUL for Courtney, Chrissie, Jimmy, Evan and Ben!

Of course without volunteers, our Crew Leaders would have no one to spend time with in the Wilderness! In 2015 309 volunteers dedicated their time and energy and gave back to the Wilderness.  These are the folks who packed all the gear into the backcountry, the kids who swung a pulaski for the first time, the seasoned volunteer who made the crosscut sing hour after hour and the guy who volunteered for over 6 projects and turned every meal into a gourmet masterpiece after a hard day’s work (I am looking at you Rory Kain!).  We are THANKFUL for our volunteers!

2015 was also the first year of the Wilderness Conservation Corps (WCC). This program was inspired by the desire to engage more youth in the Wilderness while offering career building opportunities for college students pursuing natural resource professions. The Corps was made up of four incredible students led by Crew Leader Courtney Wall. They participated in 6- 10 day hitches for the entire summer and worked hard, had fun, and gained valuable skills. We are THANKFUL for Claire, AJ, Che and Mike!

Sure there were forest fires that canceled projects, flat tires, blisters and sore muscles, but as I sit in my office in Hungry Horse on a cold winter day, I can’t help but smile a big, Wilderness size grin as I look back on all that was accomplished in the field this summer.

2015 by the Numbers*

  • 36 projects
  • 309 volunteers
  • Brushed 66 miles of trail
  • Cleared 2,229 trees
  • Cleaned 315 water bars and drain dips
  • 5,297 yards of tread improved
  • Hand Pulled 55 acres of weeds
  • Sprayed 10 acres of weeds
  • A Total of 133 miles of trail cleared and maintained
  • For a total wilderness stewardship value of $378,039.84!!

*These numbers were easily tallied because of the AMAZING gift of a custom MS Access database built by Mark Dostal. Mark, you are my hero…  I am THANKFUL for your contribution! 

All this wonderful stuff would not be possible without the Administrative staff, Forest Service Support, direction and dedication from the Board Of Directors, and financial supporters.

There is still good in the world, and you can find it in our wild places and I am THANKFUL for that.

Happy Trails,

Rebecca Powell, Program Director

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The Program Director gets a Wilderness recharge at the end of a successful season.

 

Art Sale

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In August 2014 Karen Thorson, Montana artist from Plains, spent two weeks immersed in Wilderness.  Granite Cabin, a single room with a pert white interior, was her ‘home’ base.  Painting ‘Plein air’ using acrylic on canvas she created “Earth,” “Sky,” “Wind,” and “Water”.  These are clustered with clay pots and fused glass to bring to life the wilderness landscape of the Great Bear Wilderness.

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AWC Art Clusters copy 4AWC Art Clusters copy 6These spectacular paintings are perfect  for the grand lodges of Glacier, Wilderness lodges, or hotels that surround ‘the Bob’ Wilderness. Or for your very own home.  Each cluster is priced at $1,550. You must see to appreciate the grandeur!  

We are currently using Ebay as our selling platform and the pieces can be viewed in person by interested buyers. Each ‘cluster’ is valued at $1,550 but you can submit any offer!

Bob Marshall Wilderness, a not for profit 501 (c) 3 is the recipient of the donation raised from the sale of these fine art pieces.  All proceeds go toward creating life changing experiences in the backcountry while keeping trails open and working for the conservation of wildland habitat.

Please contact us if you would like to support this important cause with the purchase of fine art.

Coming Soon to the Outlaw Center!

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Were you unable to volunteer on a trip with us this summer?

Do you like local art and/or photography inspired by personal experiences in the wilderness? (See examples here)

Are you in need of a new day-pack, base-layer, or warm winter hat?

Do you enjoy drinking local micro-brews or cocktails?

Do you thrive off of hearing the stories of our rich, regional history of the Flathead valley?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you MUST join us at the 9th Annual Voices of the Wilderness on Friday, November 6th! Act NOW and you will be entitled to a $15 ticket!

We will be raffling off tickets to win a Kokopelli Nirvana packraft & a 5 night pack-trip into ‘the Bob’ for two, provided by Swan Mountain Outfitters!

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This could be YOURS!


Keynote Speaker: John Fraley

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This year, John Fraley, author of Wild River Pioneers, will share his knowledge and stories revolving around the wildest river drainage in Montana, the Middle Fork of the Flathead. Fraley is full of tales that include romance in the Wilderness, bear encounters, and some of the legendary characters immersed in the Great Bear Wilderness.

Whitefish Mountain Resort will provide a table of fresh sushi creations. There will be other savory snacks as well, including beef summer sausage and crackers. Folk music will keep you entertained throughout the evening. There is even rumor that ‘Bob’, the man himself, will make an appearance and be available for pictures!

Please join us at the spacious and newly upgraded Outlaw Center, 1701 Highway 93 S in Kalispell at 7PM on Friday November 6th. All funds will benefit the boots on the ground effort of our volunteers in ‘the Bob’.

Packer of the Year

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If you read last week’s post, which I am sure you did, you know that without pack support even the burliest trail volunteers would be stuck at the trail head.  BMWF relies heavily on mules and horses to haul tools and supplies into our backcounty work sites. Folks who pack as a hobby or career are becoming more and more scarce and finding packers who can volunteer their time, skills and stock to help make our program run are hard to find.

BMWF is so very fortunate to have a number of packers that volunteer for us many times, year after year. We are honored to celebrate one of these packers, Ralph Hopkins, as the 2015  ‘Packer of the Year’!

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Ralph packing a BMWF project out of Spotted Bear Country

Ralph is a man of many talents. He was a BMWF board member for 5 years, and when our office computers and printers tell us to contact our ‘system administrator’ or else.. we call Ralph. Sometimes he can even fix the problem, but if not, at least he can offer the frazzled office staff some humor, calm demeanor and condolences. In addition to his tech skills and  Board Member contributions, Ralph is also an accomplished packer. Ralph started packing for the BMWF in 2002 when Carla Cline was the Executive Director, and has averaged 1 to 2 trips a year for the past 13 years! He is also an active member of the Backcountry Horsemen and is the current president of the Flathead chapter.

Ralph, his stock and wife Kenni waiting patiently as volunteers clear the trail so they can ride to camp.

Crew Leader Courtney Wall reflects on leading a project where Ralph was the packer: “The trail into camp had not seen much maintenance. It was one of those typical ‘Middle Fork’ trails that had a lot of brush, trees down and steep up’s and down’s. We were working hard during the hike in to camp by clearing trees and other obstacles so Ralph and his stock could safely get the supplies to camp. There was a lot of stopping and waiting he had to do. His stock was getting antsy, but Ralph was cool as a cucumber! He really did not make us feel rushed or stressed. Ralph’s laid back, yet competent attitude allowed us to work safely.”  

Packing into Big Prairie or Halfmoon Park are some of Ralph’s favorite destinations in The Bob, but he also enjoys hunting, fishing or just being in the great outdoors. Ralph has made a few trips around the sun, and is Ralph and Taylor repelingkept young at heart by joining his son Taylor in adventures that most would cower at. Repelling into a slot canyon in Utah? Sure, why not! 14 mile hikes in the desert (without a horse) O.K!

Give Ralph and Taylor an old beat up truck, some home brew and a few tanks of gas and there is no telling what adventure they could get into. Much to his wife, Kenni’s amusement.

Ralph has proven to be a valuable asset to BMWF and the packing community as a whole. So next time you run into him on the trail or in town, be sure to give him a handshake and say THANK YOU!

BOB Loves ‘The Bob’ and we love BOB!

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Each summer BMWF is lucky to have about 300 folks join us in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex. Volunteers come in all shapes and sizes, but the common thread that they all have is a desire to step out of their daily routine to reconnect with themselves, others, and nature for a day, a week, or even several weeks.

This summer we had several (OK, more like hundreds) of volunteers that stood out and were nominated for the prestigious ‘Trail Dawg of the Year’ title and ‘Volunteer Packer of the Year’ title. However, two names seemed to be repeated again and again to our Crew Leaders. So without further adieu, drum roll please….

The 2015 “Trail Dawg of the Year” is longtime volunteer, Bob Sims!

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Bob enjoying a Wilderness stroll to work. pc. Todd Harwell

Bob has been volunteering with the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation for 19 years! Which means he has been a volunteer since the first year the BMWF did trail projects in ‘the Bob’. Not only does Bob join us in the woods, but each time the BMWF travels to his hometown of Great Falls, Bob is there to lend a hand!

 How many times have you volunteered with the BMWF? Where did you work? I can remember doing 17 projects in the last 19 years that I have volunteered. I worked for the National Weather Service here in Great Falls and as luck would have it, I was able to retire at 54 years of age. My first year volunteering with the BMWF I believe was 1997. Nick Cheney was the crew leader and it was a car camping trip on Dupuyer Creek.

Tell me about a favorite experience or moment from your volunteer project with BMWF: I really enjoyed the Castle Lake project both times that I did it. But the best was when I got my son Lee to join the project.  Glacier Raft Co. brought in rafts and we got to float out to Highway 2. Our raft baptized us at Spruce Park but no one was injured. I think our guide ended up buying beer for the rest of the guides.

Tell me a little bit about why you volunteer in the backcountry. What do you like? Why do you do it? I have backpacked in ‘the BOB’ many times before I started volunteering.

Over time I lost all my backpacking buddies and I didn’t want to go alone. So when I found out about your group it fit perfectly in with my desire to keep exploring the BOB.

I think everyone that lives in the greatest country in the world should give something back and this is one of my ways. I like everything about volunteering with you folks but the best part by far is working with like-minded volunteers…they are the greatest, as are the crew leaders and your staff.

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Bob improving the tread along the Castle Lake trail in the Great Bear Wilderness

Where is your favorite spot in ‘The Bob’? My favorite spot in ‘the BOB’ is Dean Lake and Pentagon Mountain. This is truly a beautiful spot.

When not volunteering with the BMWF, what kinds of other things do you enjoy? For fun I spend the fall months hunting with my son and buddies. Elk hunting is by far the most fun. The rest of the year I enjoy going to fun runs around the state which also keeps me fit for the other things I enjoy. Volunteering is very important to me so I do a lot with other groups such as MT FWP, Tax Help MT, etc

What is your favorite backcountry meal?  I can honestly say I’ve never had a bad meal in the backcountry. Maybe the hard work made everything taste great. But Addy had a bean dish that really hit the spot.

What piece of camping gear is essential to you in the woods? The 1st thing that goes in my pack is my water filter or pen. In the BOB where the water is pretty good I now use a SteriPen which is easier to use than a filter.

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Bob (3rd from right) enjoying quality time with like minded volunteers.

Any other comments you would like to add?  I really admire your group of workers from the office staff on up to the Crew Leaders. I have worked with at least a dozen different crew leaders and I have never met one I didn’t like and respect. Their work ethic is outstanding and some come back year after year. It’s certainly not the pay that makes you folks work so hard all year. But whatever you do to attract such great people, keep it up.

I haven’t mentioned the Back Country Horsemen but without them I certainly wouldn’t be volunteering as much. As I get older I depend on them to carry part of my load which allows me to do some projects that I couldn’t do without them.

THANK YOU Bob for dedicating so much of your time to the BMWF over the past 19 years! 

Have you volunteered on a project with Bob before? Leave a comment to help us say THANKS!

Stay tuned to next weeks blog post on our “Volunteer Packer of the Year” Ralph Hopkins!

Bobtoberfest 2015!

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Bobtoberfest is nearly upon us! This Monday, October 5th we’ll be kicking it all off with our first “Beers for the Bob” event in Helena at Blackfoot River Brewing. Join our volunteers, crew leaders, and staff at 5pm to raise a glass (or more!) in recognizing the hard work of BMWF’s many volunteers.

This summer 214 dedicated volunteers took time out of their lives to clear and brush trails, remove noxious weeds, and improve tread! We hope you’ll join us in celebrating their tireless efforts. $1 from every beer sold will come right back to the Foundation.

Raffle Tickets will also be sold for prizes including: a Kokopelli Packraft and a 5 night pack trip for two with the Swan Mountain Outfitters.kokopelliraft

All money raised at the event will go directly back into providing meaningful experiences to give back to the Bob and into getting even more boots on the ground keeping trails open and maintaining wildlife habitat.

Can’t make the Helena event? Next up:

October 7th, KettleHouse North, Missoula, 5pm
October 8th, Philipsburg Brewing Company, Philipsburg, 5pm
October 20th, Flathead Lake Brewing, Bigfork, 5pm

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You know you need one of these Beers for the Bob tumblers. Lucky for you, we’ll be selling them at the events!

Backcountry Meal Tips from the Bob Squad

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Finally the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex is experiencing cooler weather and cloudier skies! For those of you dreaming up fall camping expeditions, we’ve compiled a short list of ‘Greatest Hits’ from this summer’s backcountry meals. Skip the oatmeal for a day, instead treat yourself to some of these Bob-approved treats:

Breakfast

Grits and Spicy Sausage

Stone-ground Grits
Spicy Sausage (We recommend Chorizo!)
Cheddar Cheese
Butter

Who said oatmeal is the easiest breakfast? We think this cooks up pretty fast too. In a pot, cook grits using a 4:1 water:grits ratio. First bring water to a boil, then lower temperature and add grits. Let grits simmer uncovered until creamy. While this is going, crumble sausage into a buttered pan and cook over medium heat. When sausage is browned and grits are cooked, combine them and serve with butter and grated cheese whipped in.

Coconut Couscous

Couscous
(1) Can of coconut milk
(1 cup) Chopped dried Mangos
(1/2 cup) Walnuts
(1 tblsp) Cinnamon

Cook couscous using a 1:2/3cup water:couscous ratio. Bring water to a boil, add couscous and let simmer for 10 minutes or less, covered. Once the couscous has fluffed up, pour in the coconut milk and add nuts and fruit. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Serve!

Appetizers

Topped Triscuits

Box of Triscuits
Cream Cheese
Apples
Wasabi Hummus
Jicama Root

With so many flavors of Triscuits out there these days, you can’t go wrong. The two combos depicted here are: Slices of apples and cream cheese on original flavored Triscuits and slices of Jicama Root and and Wasabi Hummus on Fire Roasted Tomato Triscuits. One Sweet, one savory, both delicious

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New York Deli Apps

Bagel Chips
Smoked Salmon Cream Cheese
Cucumber
Dill Weed

Spread cream cheese on bagel chips and top with thin slices of cucumber and a sprinkling of dill weed for a Jewish-delicatessen-inspired snack.

 Dinner

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It’s not every day you get fresh trout from the river behind your campsite, BUT if you should be so lucky don’t miss out on the opportunity to cook it up. We didn’t have any flour in our camp, but we fried ours up using a batter of crumbled triscuits and pancake mix. Since we had all the fixings for burritos, we made Fish Tacos instead! Yum!

Jimmy’s Spicy Chili

(2)  28oz cans Italian stewed tomatoes
(1) white or yellow onion
(5) cloves of garlic
(2) cans of black beans
(1) can of garbanzo beans
(1) can of kidney beans
(1) can of corn
(1) packet of chili powder
(1/2 tbsp) black pepper
(1/2 tsp) cinnamon
sour cream and shredded cheese
(optional) diced green chilies
(optional) Juanitas tortilla chips

Slice onion and mince garlic then heat in skillet. Drain water from bean and corn cans. Pour tomatoes into chili pot and simmer. Add cooked garlic and onions to chili pot, as well as green chilies, chili packet, and black pepper. Add drained beans and corn. Add cinnamon 5 mins before serving. Add salt, tortilla chips, sour cream, and shredded cheese to taste to individual servings.

Courtney’s Backcountry Pizzas

(1) piece of Na’an Bread/person
Shredded Mozzarella and Cheddar Cheese
Tomato Sauce

Toppings, including but not limited to: Artichoke Hearts, Pineapple, Anchovies, Peppers, Mushrooms, Slices of Fresh Mozzarella, Carmelized Onions, Sundried Tomatoes, Olives, Fresh Basil, Slices of Whole Tomato, Pepperoni, Spinach, ETC!

If you’ve never used Indian Na’an Bread to make backcountry pizza, you are missing out! It’s typically available in the Bakery/Deli section of your grocery store and comes in packages of at least two. Each individual gets to build their own pizza! Start with several spoonfuls of sauce and top with a layer of shredded cheese and whatever else you dream up. Then, place the pizza in a buttered, warmed skillet over medium heat and cover. Remove when the bottom of the bread/crust is browned and the cheese is melted!

Backcountry BBQ Sandwiches

 Sick of eating pasta on the last day of your trip? Here’s another durable backcountry meal that will last until the end the bitter end.

(1) bottle of BBQ Sauce (we used a bottle from Perfect Cuts in Columbia Falls, for this recipe)
(1) White or Yellow Onion
(5) Cloves of Garlic
Canned Chicken
Dill pickles

Saute chopped garlic and onions in a saucepan. Once cooked, add BBQ Sauce and canned chicken and stir to cover.

Mayo-less Coleslaw:
(1) Head Red Cabbage
(1) Red Onion
Carrots, Cucumbers- other leftover veggies from your trip
Apple Cider Vinegar
Brown Mustard
Paprika
Dill
Celery Seed

To make coleslaw: Chop up head of red cabbage into coarse slices. Slice cucumber and carrots finely. Slice red onion. Mix vegetables with several spoonfuls of mustard, spices, and apple cider vinegar.

Heap BBQ Chicken and coleslaw onto buns. Don’t forget the pickles!

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Dessert

Bob’s Boats

(4 or 5) Dates (pitted)/person
Mascarpone Cheese
Walnuts
Dark Chocolate Bars

A simple dessert that can be made in the field or ahead of time and packed! Split dates open, fill with a dollop of mascarpone cheese, half a walnut, and a square of dark chocolate! Bon Apetit!

Trailworker Tiramisu

(1 or 2) Packages of White Chocolate Flavored Jello Pudding
Instant Milk
1 Tiny Bottle of Kahlua (like the kind you get on an airplane)
(2 tblsp) Instant Espresso Powder (available in the baking aisle)
Ladyfingers Cookies or Nilla Wafers in a Pinch
(1) Dark Chocolate Bar

If you’re feeling a little more ambitious, this is a backcountry treat not to be missed. About an hour ahead of time, follow package directions to mix instant milk and water with Jello Pudding mixes. If you have a creek nearby, you can rest the bowl of jello in there to cool it down and allow it to set up. (Make sure you can keep an eye on it) If there isn’t any cool water around, just cover the bowl and put it in the shade. While the pudding is setting up, heat about 2 cups of water and mix in espresso powder. Add Kahlua once espresso is hot. To serve, layer the dessert as follows: 1 layer of cookies/wafers, 1 layer of pudding spread on top, drizzle espresso/kahlua on top. Then repeat to make two layers! Sprinkle dark chocolate shavings over the top (achieved with a cheese grater), and top with a square of chocolate for good measure!

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If you don’t mind carrying a little extra weight or if you’re being packed in, don’t forget the Bota Box! Boxed wine can be pretty high quality these days!

Wildfires Bring the Season to a Close

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What a season it has been! After a summer of hot dry weather, recent lightening storms have resulted in numerous large fire starts in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex and forced BMWF to cancel all trips for the foreseeable future. While we all endeavor to avoid the smokey skies and re-negotiate our daily commutes to avoid certain roads and highways, I thought I’d reflect on three of the recent and successful trips I’ve had the privilege to work on. DSC_6125

It was only a few weeks ago that I was out on a trip down the South Fork of the Flathead River. We retraced Bob Marshall’s footsteps to a lovely camp near the Hodag Ridge Trail and spent several days clearing trees and cutting tread.

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The fishing was wonderful, the laughter was even better, and when the first windy, stormy front came through we were in good spirits and didn’t mind clearing all the resulting blowdown on the Hodag Ridge Trail again! 

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It’s crazy to realize what a huge fire that storm brought about. At this writing the fire is almost 68,000 acres and still burning! The night the storm blew in was certainly wild with wind, smoke, and fire-starting lightning. We were all checking in with one another from our tents, and finally fell pleasantly asleep to the sound of rain. We hiked out a few days later, and missed the subsequent fire blow-up.

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I had a day off after the South Fork adventure, so I went out to Bennie Hill in the Lewis & Clark National Forest where Jimmy and a fun crew were working.

Bennie Hill is in the Lewis & Clarke National Forest

Don and Colleen Scharfe of Rocky Mountain Outfitter had gathered a rollicking group of old friends together to bust out some trail work and a couple other volunteers even agreed to join in on the work party.

Colorful Campers!

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A big elk-sized thank-you to all the work they accomplished on trails in the area. It sounds like it was a crosscutting, lopping extravaganza in an absolutely beautiful area.

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I had the privilege to co-lead my last trip of the season with Mr. Jimmy Durda. Though we had only two volunteers, they were tough ladies, and their skills with saw and loppers were unsurpassed.  We cleared the entire Twin Lakes Trail in the Lincoln Ranger District!

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Leaving the smoke filled Flathead Valley behind was a relief, but it soon followed us into the Scapegoat Wilderness. Unbelievably, at the time of our visit, there were no fire restrictions on the Helena National Forest!  We were sure this would not be the case for long, but we were happy for several deep breaths of fresh air we did inhale while there. DSC_6763We were lucky to find a beautiful campsite that still had fresh green grass! It was also a treat for our volunteer packers’ mules and horses.  The site was so luxurious that Outlaw Bob, Sue, their pack animals,  and three loving dogs decided to camp with us for several nights.DSC_6576  They were a wonderful family to come home to after a long day of trail work.

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I also want to give a special shout-out to Marley from Bigfork, who was our youngest individual volunteer of the season! It’s not every day you can convince a high schooler to spend her last week of summer vacation working for free in the woods! We had a blast with you Marley!  thanks for returning to volunteer this year.

On Sunday we made the 12 (ish) mile hike out of the woods and returned to the news that much of the Northern Bob Marshall Complex has been closed to the public due to fires.  We are so glad to have had such a great last hurrah and to have gotten a little more trail work done before resources are needed elsewhere to fight fire!DSC_6776

A huge thank-you to everyone who came out and worked with us this summer. Volunteers are the reason we exist, AND the reason we have so much fun at our jobs.

Stay safe, breathe fresh air when you can, enjoy the cooling weather!
Chrissie Bodznick
West Side Crew Leader

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Clearing to the Pass

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On July 3rd, the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation’s WCC crew hiked out from the luxurious Monture cabin (running water!) into their back country camp 12 miles down the Monture Creek Trail #27, clearing along the way.

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-Courtney and Claire hiking in.


The next day we cleared Center Creek Trail #463. This secondary trail needed quite a bit of work and we only made it about three miles before the thunder made us call it quits. After a hard day of sawing logs, we celebrated the 4th of July appropriately with brats, hot dogs and of course a rousing version of “The Star Spangled Banner”.

  • IMG_1589 As you can see, the wind wreaked havoc on this burned forest near Monture Falls.

           The crew took another long day clearing the next four miles of the steeply graded Center Creek Trail #463. As we approached Young’s Pass, we met back up with Jacob Long, a Recreation Manager with the Forest Service, who had been giving us direction on what trails needed work. He informed us that he had good news and bad news and asked which we wanted first. At the end of our long, tiring day we decided to hear the bad news first. It turned out that the trail ran straight through an avalanche chute and that there were over 40 downed trees. The good news was that there was only about a half mile more to the pass. Mike and AJ finished the clearing the next day.

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Che and Mike running the crosscut.

The WCC crew then spent the next two days cleaning drains and water bars up to Haun and Limestone passes. Courtney, Mike and Che hadn’t had enough of a hike over the last 6 days and decided to continue towards Limestone Pass after the work day, while AJ opted out to prepare some hors d’oeuvres for the famished crew.

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-AJ about to cool off after work in Monture Falls

We’d all love to give a big heartfelt thanks to Matt for packing us out in the pouring rain!

-by AJ Baeseman

Hot off the press: Summer eNewsletter

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What’s happening in ‘The Bob’?

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Group selfie on a day off hike in The Bob

Smokey Bear says fire danger is “Very High” in The Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex.  The good news is that there are no large forest fires burning in ‘the Bob’ and August is shaping up to have ‘average’ temperatures; Yah Hoo!
BMWF has not yet had to cancel or move any projects due to fire or other natural happenings unsafe for humans to be part of.  Click here for weather forecast for the heart of ‘The Bob’
Montana Academy Girls
Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, boarding schools, and 24 kids from inner city Huston, Texas, to name a few, joined BMWF in July to lay down some trail tread and bust through some log tangles. Check out the BMWF FaceBook page to see the smiling faces behind these projects.
The best part of summer is yet to come and we hope you are planning to join one of BMWF’s trips in August or September. There are spaces still available on projects with adults like yourself.  Don’t be surprised if you find some s’mores still on the Crew Leader menus (but no campfires, sooo maybe chocolate fondue instead!)
Ben cooking up some grub for hardworking volunteers!

Ben cooking up some grub for hardworking volunteers!

VOLUNTEERS STILL NEEDED!
Sign-up for your Wilderness Adventure TODAY!  
 
August is the perfect month for a Wilderness adventure. September could be even better.  The following projects still have openings:
Dry Fork (Habitat Restoration), 8/15 – 8/19/15.  Located on
     the beautiful North Fork of the Blackfoot River. Pack
     support provided by Last Chance BCH. Details Here.
Wrong Ridge Trail, 8/24 – 8/30/15.  Located in one of the
     most beautiful areas on the east side of ‘the Bob.’
     Pack support provided by legendary packers Frank and
     Dale. Details Here.
Twin Lakes, 8/25 – 8/30/15.  Bring your fishing pole or just
     just relax in the cool waters of the upper Blackfoot after a
     day of trail clearing. Pack support provided by “Outlaw
     Bob.”  Details Here.
Walking in Bob’s Footsteps to Big Prairie 8/26 – 9/3/15.  Help
maintain a portion of the trails that Bob Marshall himself trod upon during his epic 288 mile hike in 1928!  Bob didn’t have pack support but you will.  Details Here.
Lang Creek Trail 8/30 – 9/4/15.  Explore part of the newly
     designated Wilderness and help get the Lang Creek Trail
     open so others can enjoy it too! Details Here.
Cigarette Rock Trail 9/6 – 9/12/15.  Visit this spectacular rock
     formation and get further into Wilderness as you clear
     beyond the rock.  Details Here.
There is still time to camp in the Wilderness this summer!

There is still time to camp in the Wilderness this summer!

Hunting for Knapweed in the Badger Two-Med

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This past week, BMWF’s WCC Crew experienced a less than glamorous, but hugely important conservation job — noxious weed mapping and removal. We hiked into the Badger Two-Med area to bust up a patch of Spotted Knapweed. When we arrived we found that this patch had invaded and expanded to a size that would be better controlled using herbicide treatments.  Alas, we did our best to knock out the Knapweed by pulling tap-roots and bagging seed heads for two days!

Crewmembers handpulling and bagging up Knapweed at the Confluence of Badger Creek and Lookout Creek

Crewmembers hand pulling and bagging up Knapweed at the Confluence of Badger Creek and Lookout Creek

When we ran out of trash bags, we hiked along Badger Creek looking for more weed infestations. Utilizing a GPS we recorded the exact location of Spotted Knapweed, Hounds tongue, and Canada Thistle. Spotted Knapweed was found on several gravel bars and in creekside meadows.

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Crew members crossing Badger Creek to survey the other side

We learned that management of noxious weeds is incredibly important to protect biodiversity. Our workplace, the “Crown of the Continent” is home to thousands of native plants and a list of plant and animal species that has remained largely unchanged since Lewis and Clark first explored the area. Noxious weeds have the potential to out-compete these natives, some of them exuding toxic chemicals through their root systems while others have extremely effective mechanisms for seed dispersal.

Blanketflower, seen among several other native wildflowers that could be threatened if invasive weed populations continue to thrive in this area.

Blanketflower, seen among several other native wildflowers that could be threatened if invasive weed populations continue to thrive in this area.

Everyday on our commute we enjoyed the vast, open views of sharp peaks and rocky reefs iconic to the East Side of the divide

Everyday on our commute to the work site we enjoyed the vast, open views of sharp peaks and rocky reefs, iconic to the East Side of the divide

First Hitch: Without a hitch.

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The summer of 2015 is the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundations first season of the Wilderness Conservation Corps (WCC). The WCC team consist of 4 corps member and one crew leader. They have 6- 10 day hitches planned across the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex. Below is a post from WCC corps member Claire. Enjoy! 

2015 WCC Crew  AJ, Courtney, Mike, Claire. Not pictured: Che

2015 WCC Crew
AJ, Courtney, Mike, Claire. Not pictured: Che

The WCC’s first trip for the season was to clear trail from Big Salmon Lake to Pendant pass, in the Spotted Bear ranger district. We began at Meadow Creek trailhead and ended at Holland Lake. Along the way, we stayed at multiple backcountry cabins including Black Bear, Salmon Forks, and Pendant cabin. Every cabin was fully stocked with Tang and cribbage boards—so a good time was guaranteed.

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Second night of the hitch at Big Salmon Forks

It was expected to be the hardest trip of our season because we had no pack support and were backpacking the whole way. But I can now safely say that this first hitch of ours, went off without a hitch!

Since this was our first trip outside of training, it was a great opportunity to put all we learned from training to the test. We had ample opportunity to practice our crosscut, silky, axe, and Pulaski skills.

Hiking along Big Salmon Lake, clearing as we go!

Hiking along Big Salmon Lake, clearing as we go!

Naturally, there were blisters and bugs, but the food, company, and exciting trail work outweighed the negatives.

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Che, AJ, and Mike enjoying the last night of the hitch at Pendant cabin.

When we got out of the woods we rushed to the Hungry Bear, interns AJ, Mike, and Che ordered the gut bomb!

Beginning the descent from Pendant Pass to Holland Lake.

Beginning the descent from Pendant Pass to Holland Lake.

Upper Holland Lake.

Upper Holland Lake.

If this trip is an indicator of what the rest of the summer will be like, then I am ready for it and excited!

-WCC intern Claire

Beers for the Bob in the Bay! Friday, June 26th.

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The Bob Squad is heading to Woods Bay, Montana this Friday, June 26th, for a fun evening of Bluegrass, Beer, Bourbon and BBQ on the shores of Flathead Lake. The Raven and The Front Brewing Company are sponsoring this tap takeover night with proceeds from the evening’s beer and dinner special sales being donated to support the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation’s work throughout the Wilderness Complex. The Spring Wagon Stringband will be picking Bluegrass songs and Whistling Andy Distillery will be on hand providing specialty cocktail specials as well. Tickets for the Foundation’s annual 5-day Pack Trip Raffle with Swan Mountain Outfitters will be available, as well as many other raffle prizes. Festivities begin at 6:00 pm, with beer and BBQ specials available throughout the evening.

The Raven

The Raven is locate at 4.5 miles south of Bigfork, MT on the shore of Flathead Lake at 14729 Shore Acres Drive, Bigfork, MT 59911.

Beers for the Bob in the Bay

Plan almost nothing, pay hardly anything

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The 2015 BMWF projects are filling fast! In fact most projects prior to August already have a waitlist! However, the July 16-22 trail project in the gorgeous North Fork of the Blackfoot still has three spots left. 

North Fork Cabin

North Fork Cabin

Help open the Dry Fork Trail #31 by removing rocks and pesky mud flows that block the trail each spring.  The group will be based out of the North Fork Cabin, a shady oasis on the Blackfoot River where you will cool your feet and cook your meals each evening. The area is surrounded by several nice day hiking opportunities to waterfalls or peaks with stupendous views for your day off outing.

North Fork Falls

North Fork Falls

Gear for this seven day trip will be packed in by Chris Eyer, known on Instagram as muledragger. Chris was the 2014 Bob Marshall Foundation Volunteer of the year.

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North Fork Trailhead Corals

All you need for you trip is your own personal camping gear and a willingness to give back to the Bob! You can register for this volunteer vacation at www.bmwf.org

The Mules will be hehawing ‘Thank You!’

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It’s gotta be a tough and lonely existence.  Shoeing four legged beasts, lifting heavy loads, tightening knots, retightening knots, eating dust, and hitting the trail with only eight long ears to listen to your musings.  For some it is a career, for others it is a hobby. The love of horses, mules, the trail, and  a lot of heavy lifting is not a stranger to many Montanans.  Volunteer packers for the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation will find their loads a little lighter this summer thanks to a few generous donors who gave to the pannier fund.
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Thankkkkkkk Youuuuuu. Let me give you a little lipsmackaroo!

Thanks to gifts from generous donors, BMWF is able to purchase two sets of light weight aluminum bear proof panniers.  The BMWF tool cache is now equipped with four sets of these incredible devices for hitching up loads of deeelicious grub to feed its volunteer trail and weeds crews!
Physcho Saddie says Thank hehaw You!

Physcho Saddie says Thank hehaw You!

Please thank these generous donors who gave to the Pannier Fund:
 Dale Duff
Richard and Jeanne Williams
Richard Lyons
Keith Alltucker
Todd Harwell
Thank You Kindly!
Keith hitting the trail with a load of BMWF supplies.

Keith hitting the trail with a load of BMWF supplies.

Telluride Mountainfilm on Tour

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Spring is an incredibly exciting time for the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation. Our Program Director Rebecca is busy putting the finishing touches on the summer trip schedule, which appears to me as if it is an incredibly complex game of Excel sheet Suduko. Our Executive Director Carol is in her office performing grant writing jujitsu and I am am left with the fun jobs of writing all of you and cataloging the myriad raffle prizes that arrive at the Hungry Horse office each day! It really is wonderful to see the love people have for their Wilderness and the amount of support so many businesses and individuals show for the Foundation’s work. All of us are simultaneously getting ready to circumnavigate the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex with Telluride Mountainfilm Tour!

This is the ninth year that the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation has brought this inspiring offering of films to Montana. Each year we fill the hall at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Great Falls and sell out Helen’s Myrna Loy Center and Whitefish’s O’Shaughnessy Center. We also give away thousands of dollars in raffle prizes! All of which all means you should get your tickets NOW! You can follow this link to our events page to purchase tickets today:

BOB MARSHALL WILDERNESS FOUNDATION EVENTS

We look forward to seeing the Bob Squad come out to support the Foundation on March 17th in Great Falls, March 18th in Helena and March 19th in Whitefish. Doors open at 6:00 pm at all locations, with films at 7:00pm. Advance tickets are $12 and $15 at the door, if they are not sold out.

Look for more updates on raffle prizes and films in the upcoming weeks.

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February Wilderness Speaker Series

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Wilderness Management 101

February 5, 2015 – Flathead Valley Community College

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Deb Mucklow

The first speaker in the annual Wilderness Speaker Series will be Spotted Bear District Ranger Deb Mucklow. Deb will address the challenges of managing wilderness in today’s society while still maintaining wilderness character. With 16 years experience working as a District Ranger in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex Deb has many stories to share about the Wilderness landscape.  Her insights into the balance needed between today’s technology, tools, experience and Wilderness Act expectations are sure to be both thought provoking and entertaining. We hope you can join the Montana Wilderness Association-Flathead Kootenai Chapter, The Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation and Flathead Valley Community College for an engaging evening of discussion and reflection.

This free talk begins at 7:00 p.m. at the Arts & Technology Building, Room 139 on Flathead Valley Community College’s Kalispell Campus.

Thank You, Thank You!

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It turns out that the Flathead Valley likes beer… and Wilderness. The combination of the two equals a fun and successful Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation fundraiser.

Last night we had over 200 folks join us at Kalispell Brewing Company for ‘Benefit Brews’ and Volunteer appreciation.

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No shortage of beer drinkers

One dollar for each beer sold came right back to us. We also sold raffle tickets for our Kokopelli Pack Raft and Bob Marshall Pack Trip with Swan Mountain Outfitters as well as a hand full of t-shirts and hats. (Psst…You can still buy raffle tickets for these great prizes. Raffle drawing will be at our next event)

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Cheers. One non profit to another.

So we drank beer, had fun AND most importantly, gave thanks and recognition to our awesome volunteers! This past summer we had over 250 volunteers who took time away from their jobs and family’s to join us in The Bob to clear and improve trails, remove noxious weeds and maintain historic structures. Without our volunteers we would be nothing…seriously, its what we do.

We recognized two special volunteers who stood out in the 2014 class of spectacular volunteers. Our ‘Trail Dawg of the year’ award went to Derek Milner and our ‘Packer of the year’ went to Keith Alltucker. They were awarded with certificates of appreciation and some really cool REI camp chairs donated by Missoula REI. So next time they head into the backcountry, they can kick back in the warm embrace of a mono nylon mesh chair.

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Packer of the year, Keith Alltucker with his granddaughter and Trail Dawg Derek with his daughter.

This is Keith’s second summer volunteering for us. This summer he and his mules (Claude, Coal, Charlie, Catfish and Jezzabel) packed 5 projects in and out of the Wilderness.  That was food, tools and gear for 35 volunteers! Coming from Helena, he put over 2,000 miles on his rig getting to and from trailheads. And he had only one flat tire!

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In his element and never without a smile. Keith Alltucker leading his string of mules.

Derek has volunteered with us for three summers and counting. His trips have includes a trip into Big Prairie to clear the Bartlett Mountain trail in 2012, Castle lake on the Middle Fork of the Flathead in 2013 and this year, 25 mile creek in the Great Bear Wilderness. This summer Derek went above and beyond with the work and recruited some co-workers to join him for 5 days of trail clearing! Derek works for the Forest Service as a soil scientist (aka: Dirt Squeezer) so he is no stranger to working outside. He and his co-workers found it refreshing to get out of the office and put some boots on the ground and remind them of why they do the work they do!

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Off the clock, but still giving back. Derek and crew at Moose lake in the Great Bear Wilderness

So thank you to all who came out last night and all who supported us! Lets do it again soon.

Working as a team. Derek saws while Gary helps with a bind.

Working as a team. Derek saws while Gary helps with a bind.

Dereks new REI chair will be a welcome change from mantes.

Dereks new REI chair will be a welcome change from mantes.

A packers work is never done.

A packers work is never done.

Probably cold, but still smiling. Packing over route creek pass after a snowstorm.

Probably cold, but still happy. Packing over Route Creek pass after a snowstorm.

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