SBFC News

Foundation Announces Warren Q. Miller Internship Fund

September 29th, 2014

Warren Miller photo from obit

Warren Q Miller 1945-2014

The Foundation and the Wilderness community will miss Warren Miller, a member and long-time supporter. Warren was known for his skill in crosscut saw sharpening, a lost art mastered by few which Warren generously shared through teaching. Our field staff regarded him as an expert and an inspiration in the world of filing and maintaining their saws. An internship in Warren’s name has been established and donations are welcomed.

Warren worked as a Wilderness Ranger in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness from 1971-1991 (Moose Creek District), and he taught “Crosscut Maintenance and Sharpening” at the Ninemile Wildlands Training Center near Missoula every spring from 1993-2012. We all looked up to Warren for the wisdom he’d gained from so many years’ experience. He always gave us time when we needed a saw sharpened, a backcountry conundrum figured out, or to share a good story. He donated a free saw-filing every year to the auction at the Foundation’s Annual Gathering in Lewiston.

Warren was an independent, caring and brainy guy whose curiosity was piqued by the complexities of the saws he used when he started at Moose Creek. So many teeth! Spider guages, swedging hammers, the Gibbs jointer! He was always drawn to figuring out how something worked (he’d majored in physics at Reed) and he had patience for the many hours it can take to ready a saw for a wilderness season.

“Hmmmm” he would have said, “I wonder how you sharpen this thing?”

He taught himself how by studying with Martin Winters, a filing master who’d practiced since 1927. Soon he was sharpening saws for his district, and in 1978 he published “The Crosscut Saw Manual” through the Forest Service.  Today an updated print version of the manual and a companion DVD “The Crosscut Saw Filer” are available on the web. People from everywhere send notes of appreciative feedback; I saw one from a fellow in Czech Republic!

Warren loved the challenge of figuring out how to tackle complex problems requiring non-motorized equipment. He was on the team that helped clear trails in the hurricane-damaged Juniper Springs Wilderness in Florida. He figured out how to breach a dam inside the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, a project that was written up for a Region One Traditional Skills Award. He helped Region One’s Historical Preservation Team stabilize remote wilderness lookouts and also buildings at the Jim Moore Place on the  Salmon River. In 2005 he demonstrated saw filing at the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival in Washington DC.

“So what makes filing a crosscut saw so technical and so difficult?” Debbie Lee asked him in a recent interview for the Selway-Bitterroot History Project. “Well,” he said, “it takes me a week to teach this. There’s a lot of different aspects that all have to work together. You’ve got … two different kinds of teeth and they each … have to be sharpened, or treated in a particular way so that they work with each other. A crosscut saw … is not really a primitive tool because … for it to work properly each of the teeth has to be filed … in a very precise way so that it interacts most efficiently with the wood, because unlike a power saw where you have a lot of power to muddle your way through a cut if the saw’s not sharpened properly, your crosscut is human powered … Humans have a quarter of a horsepower at most … so you want … a tool that is as efficient at cutting a log as you can make it … It’s a very precise tool made up of a number of different parts all of which have to be working in concert with each other for it to work efficiently and that’s basically what makes it complicated. It’s … not that each individual piece is very complex or difficult it’s just that they all have to be working together.”

The Foundation thanks Warren for the spirit and authenticity he gave for the continued use of traditional tools, and for his support of the work we do.

-Sarah Walker (SBFCF Advisory Board and former wilderness worker)

 

Idaho Gives to SBFC

April 24th, 2014

Attention Idahoans! Idaho Gives is right around the corner and we’d love you to consider SBFC as a recipient of your donation. Idaho Gives is a special day for philanthropy across Idaho, join us on May 1, 2014 to make your contribution.

Last year Idaho Gives raised $578,735 from 6,192 individuals who gave to 541 nonprofit causes. We would be honored if you selected the Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation as your choice for 2014.

Thanks to Idaho Gives for this fantastic opportunity.

http://idahogives.razoo.com/story/Selway-Bitterroot-Foundation

Montana Silent Auction & Winter Gathering

January 7th, 2014
Montana’s 2014 Annual Sient Auction & Winter Gathering

Saturday, February 22nd 2014

Hamilton City Hall Community Room, 223 South 2nd Street Hamilton, MT
6:00PM to 9:00PM

Map/Directions to Location

Join us at the Hamilton City Hall Community Room in downtown Hamilton on Saturday February 22nd for our Annual Winter Gathering and Fundraiser. Come bid on some items in one of the best wilderness-oriented silent auctions around while filling yourself up on wine, beer and hors d’ouvres. Guided fishing trips, flights, artwork of local artists, works of local authors, culinary treats, ski tickets, fishing gear, meals at local restaurants, and more!

Our presentation will focus on our Summer 2013 Field Season featuring SBFC Staff and Interns and their experiences working in the Wildest Place.

Don’t forget to pick up some raffle tickets for our Grand Raffle where you have a chance to win two spots on an all-inclusive Middle Fork of the Salmon River Trip provided by Idaho River Adventures.

North Idaho Annual Silent Auction & Winter Gathering

January 7th, 2014

North Idaho Annual Silent Auction & Winter Gathering

Saturday, February 1st 2014

The Orchid Room, 301 Main St. Lewiston, Idaho
6:00PM to 9:00PM

Map/Directions to Location

Join us at The Orchid Room in downtown Lewiston on Saturday February 1st for our 8th Annual Winter Gathering and Fundraiser. Come bid on some items in one of the best wilderness-oriented silent auctions around while filling yourself up on wine, beer and hors d’ouvres. Fishing & float trips; framed photographs; carvings, handknits and weavings by local artists; rafting, stock, fishing and backpack gear; trout and steelhead flies; theater tickets; meals at local restaurants, and more!

Our keynote speaker will be Richard Holm. Holm is a back country pilot who is deeply interested in capturing the history of people and places in Idaho’s backcountry. He has gathered oral histories and conducted interviews about Idaho’s remote airfields and fire lookouts. He has published 2 books: “Bound for the Backcountry–A HIstory of Idaho’s Remote Airstrips” and “Points of Prominence–Fire Lookouts of the Payette National Forest.” He grew up in McCall and received a degree in Environmental Sciences from the University of Idaho in 2005.

Live music by Sarah Swett, Concertina.

Don’t forget to pick up some raffle tickets for our Grand Raffle where you have a chance to win two spots on an all-inclusive Middle Fork of the Salmon River Trip provided by Idaho River Adventures.

Sally Ferguson Named Executive Director of the Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation

December 13th, 2013

Sally brings over 15 years of experience in non-profit management, conservation advocacy, and organizational development to the SBFC.  Sally is coming to SBFC from several years with the Student Conservation Association, where she worked closely with wilderness and trails managers on forests across USFS Regions 1, 2, 3 and 4 to create conservation internships. She was the founding president of the Idaho Trails Association and remains an active board member.

Sally will start her position with SBFC on January 1.  She is looking forward to meeting and working with the Forest Service and all of our partners.  SBFC Board and staff are thrilled to have Sally on our team.  Please help us welcome her.

SBFC Releases 2014 Wilderness Ranger Internship Application

December 13th, 2013

On the heels of an amazing 2013 field season with our 2013 Wilderness Ranger Interns, we are excited to release the application for our 2014 Wilderness Ranger Internship Program. If you are interested in applying, or just generally interested in the nation’s premier wilderness ranger training program, please go to our Wilderness Ranger Internship Program page, or download the announcement here.

Southern Idaho’s 2nd Annual Fall Gathering

October 30th, 2013

Join us at the Linen Building Event Center in downtown Boise for our 2nd Annual Fall Gathering and Fundraiser. After a lively and highly successful 2012 event, we can’t wait to gather again with fellow wilderness lovers after our most successful field season to date!

The night will feature SBFC Staff and Ranger Interns, their experiences working in Idaho’s Wildest Place and how wilderness stewardship has affected their lives. Come meet the new additions to our 2014 Staff!

Bid on fantastic auction items in one of the best wilderness-oriented silent auctions around while filling yourself up on wine, Sockeye Brewing beer and hors d’ouvres from Open Table Catering.

Don’t forget to pick up a few raffle tickets for our GRAND RAFFLE for your chance to win a 2-person, 6-day Middle Fork Salmon river trip.

Missoula Montana – Benefit Beer Release Party

October 30th, 2013

Join SBFC as we release the first ever Spruce Tip Ale!

Missoula’s very own Kettlehouse Brewing Company is tapping kegs of our unique partnership ale on Tuesday, November 5th at the SOUTHSIDE location!

Swing by 602 Myrtle St. in Missoula from 4pm – 8pm to try Montana’s ONLY Spruce Tip Ale, all while supporting the Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation at our U-Night event.

$1 PER PINT during this U-Night directly benefits trail maintenance and wilderness stewardship within Montana’s Wildest Place – the 1.4 million acre Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.

SBFC will have a raffle table with tickets available for the GRAND RAFFLE!

This specialty brew will only be found at Kettlehouse until supplies last.

What could be better than drinking craft beer and supporting YOUR local wildlands? Hope to see you there!

Cream Puffs to Beef Jerky

June 30th, 2014

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The wilderness is abuzz in birthday celebration—bird calls echo through trees, snowmelt waterfalls over rocky cliffs, wildflowers tint the verdant hillsides with whites, yellows, and purples, and even the ticks and mosquitos are making an appearance. While some might say the array is simply a showing of spring, but it sure feels like a party.

The wilderness is abuzz in birthday celebration—bird calls echo through trees, snowmelt waterfalls over rocky cliffs, wildflowers tint the verdant hillsides with whites, yellows, and purples, and even the ticks and mosquitos are making an appearance. While some might say the array is simply a showing of spring, but it sure feels like a party.

It’s an exciting time to delve into the valleys, forests, and landscapes that are marking their 50th year of Wilderness, and this first hitch was a wonderful introduction into the Bitterroots.  Erica, Claire (our crew leader), and I went up four different canyons, monitoring campsites and obliterating campfire rings.  The Bitterroots are magnificent—glaciated valleys rise into rocky peaks and cliffs—and the fabulous geography distracted us green interns from our blistered feet, sore shoulders, new callouses, and high-waisted uniform pants. With every canyon, my body is changing from a soft winter cream puff to a sinewy piece of jerky, and I like to think that by the end of this summer I’ll be pretty darn tough.

Why I Love Wilderness

June 5th, 2014

During our interns’ crosscut saw training, the Forest Service offered a beautiful double-bit axe to the winner of a writing competition.

There were many wonderfully written odes to wild places, but only one axe to dole out as a prize. Here is intern Andrew Bushnell’s winning entry to the prompt ‘Why I Love Wilderness:’

“The meaning of Wilderness is not meant to be put on paper. The touch of wind, the rush of water cannot be wrote between lines. What we write, what we describe of wilderness is a mere attempt, a miniscule effort to cage something meant to be experienced. Wilderness is a feeling. It’s a sensation, a sense of something basic, simple, and unkempt. In its solitude it is welcoming. It beckons to the restless, and in its confines the restless find calm. The solitude of wilderness is not lonely. Within its character we find company. In the pines, in the birdsong, and in the feel of dirt beneath the palms we find solace. In its unkempt and wild nature we find order. In wilderness we find ourselves. With this quality, wilderness is the giver of meaning . It’s the backdrop for self discovery and the conduit for introspection. With its basic and pure character, it is a yardstick to measure oneself. Against the backdrop of wilderness we can find our meaning. Why we do what we do, what we want to do, who we want to be. Within wilderness a clarity exists like no where else. Outside influence becomes inward reflection and inward reflection becomes meaning. In its purest form wilderness is a way to experience oneself.”

Congratulations Andrew! Here’s a photo of him with his new beauty, outside Fenn Ranger Station.

Axe courtesy of Doug Olive, USFS, Fenn Ranger Station, Moose Creek Ranger District, Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest, Selway Bitterroot Wilderness.

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