On to a Summer of Beauty and Hard Work…..

June 29th, 2015

Jim Renshaw Women interns

June 29, 2015

What a week! We have officially completed our intern training based at the beautiful Lochsa Historic Ranger Station, a setting fit for a mountain yoga retreat. We began our training as Wilderness Ranger Interns in Missoula, MT where we participated in a heated discussion about the meanings of the Wilderness Act. After this, we rounded ourselves up and shipped off down Highway 12 to our home for the week at the Lochsa Historic Station. Each morning we would rise, participate in a rejuvenating yoga session, and split up in to groups of two or three with our wilderness partners for station based trainings. The stations included tread-digging and brushing, stock packing, crosscut saw and axe use, noxious weed identification, campsite monitoring training, campsite preparation, and a colorful history of the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness by the one and only Jim Renshaw.

I cannot even begin to describe how much I learned this week, not only about the job, but also about the delightful and committed folks that make the SBFC Foundation run, as well as the SBFC Trail Crew and my fellow Wilderness Ranger Interns. On our last evening at the Lochsa Historic Station we scrubbed ourselves up a bit, piled into the MCC vehicles, and trekked to River Dance – a scenic restaurant located on the shores of the Selway River. Here we had the opportunity to meet the board members of the SBFC Foundation, as well as indulge in one of the most savory meals of the summer. As the sun set I couldn’t help but to get a little sappy – what a lucky group of people we all are to get the opportunities to work and live in one of the most breath-taking places I have ever experienced. And all thanks to the people who love, and have loved, this area as much as we do. While I am sad to say ‘so long’ to the majority of these friends for the summer, I am energized and excited to apply all of my new skills in the field. Cheers to a summer of beauty and hard work!

Taryn Schreiner – Northern Arizona University

Overnight project sets the tone

June 24th, 2015

unnamed[4] unnamed[3] unnamed[5]June 23, 2015

On the morning of June 22, the Bitterroot National Forest Wilderness Intern crew hiked up the Sweeney Ridge Trail.  We hiked up in a quite literal sense: gaining 1,800 feet in the first 2 miles, and then 500 in the last half mile.  They were a long 7 miles, during which we silkied and crosscutted our way toward the campsite at Duffy Lake.  Grueling aside, we were rewarded with beautiful views of glacier-carved mountains, wildflowers, and alpine lakes.

This overnight project closed out the field portion of our first hitch, setting the tone for the rest of the season;  exhausting, challenging, rewarding, and indescribably beautiful.

Melinda Horne-University of Montana

FR Training continued…………….

June 2nd, 2015

Our Wilderness First Responder Training stretched us.  We were required to respond to various situations, all crazier than we will ever have to deal with (hopefully).  The very first day we jumped into life threats such as punctured lungs and arterial bleeds.  I learned about many traumatic injuries that I had no idea were even possible.  I am much more prepared for any medical issues that could arise while in the backcountry.  My first-aid kit might even expand to more than two band aids and ibuprofen.  On the second day of training we felt confident enough to perform a head-to-toe examination, our instructors, Ramon and Dara, humbled us by having us perform an examination blindfolded.

We grew as a team, forced to coordinate and designate levels of command to respond to a Multiple Casualty Incident which was acted out by volunteers.  We looked for little details, or changes in a patient’s vitals, while the bigger picture of evacuation priority and scene safety couldn’t be ignored either.  Our acting skills improved as we played patients that weren’t always very cooperative. We even got to talk to the crew of a medical helicopter that landed in the field. The final day, we heard an incredible rap on carbon monoxide poisoning performed by the trail crew.

After some intense days we roasted s’mores and worked on our ultimate frisbee skills too.

Carly Stinson-University of Montana

Give Local Missoula May 5th, 2015

April 29th, 2015

Help SBFC raise funds to support projects in 2015 by making a donation on Missoula Gives Day!

Shop Amazon.Smile/support SBFC

March 10th, 2015

Amazon.Smile sign-up is quick and easy.  Designate the Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation as the donation organization, and a percentage of your purchase goes to us!  Every time you shop!  It’s quick, easy and links your “prime” account too!  Register once and you’re done!  Thanks for your support!  Happy Shopping.

FEB 26 – Missoula’s Winter Gathering – Join Us!

February 10th, 2015

Join the Festivities and Celebrate the land you love so much! You are invited to Missoula’s 9th Annual Winter Gathering and Silent Auction.

WHEN:  Thursday, February 26 @ 6:30-9:30 p.m.

WHERE:  Missoula Winery & Event Center-5646 W. Harrier

GUEST SPEAKERS:  SBFC Volunteers & Field Staff

Hors d’Oeuvres – Desserts – Cash Wine Bar

9:00 PM Drawing for River Raft Raffle!


Explore America’s National Parks a Day’s Drive from Boise – WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 11 @ 7:00 pm REI

January 27th, 2015



REI BOISE – 8300 W. Emerald St.

Outdoor writer, photographer, and author Michael Lanza, of Boise, will speak and share his photos from dayhiking, backpacking, and cross-country skiing in several national parks within a day’s drive of Boise: Yosemite, Yellowstone, Mount Rainier, Olympic, and Glacier. Michael was for many years the Northwest Editor of Backpacker Magazine and is now the person behind the outdoor-adventures blog and website The Big Outside. His book Before They’re Gone–A Family’s Year-Long Quest to Explore America’s Most Endangered National Parks, winner of a National Outdoor Book Award, chronicles the year he and his wife took their children, then age 9 and 7, on 11 national park adventures, backpacking, sea kayaking, canoeing, cross-country skiing, and rock climbing, and tells how climate change is affecting each of these iconic parks in unique ways. Michael will also take questions and sign and sell copies of his book. The event is sponsored by the Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation.

Northern Idaho Gathering – February 7

January 25th, 2015

Join the Festivities and Celebrate with friends the land you love so much!  You are invited to North Idaho’s 9th Annual Winter Gathering and Silent Auction.

WHEN:  Saturday, February 7 @ 6:00 p.m.

WHERE:  Quality Inn – Clarkston, WA

GUEST SPEAKER:  Cort Conley – Author of Idaho for the Curious

MUSIC BY:  Sarah Swett, Moscow, ID

Also Food and Beverages!

River Raffle Tickets and Silent Auction Items


New Kiosk Installed at Magruder Ranger Station

December 31st, 2014


By Michelle McConnaha – Ravilli Republic – 

The 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act was celebrated with the installation of a wilderness kiosk and dedication event by multiple forest agencies at the Magruder Ranger Station on Sept. 16.

Julie King, Bitterroot National Forest supervisor, said wilderness helps us with our interpretation of life.

“It’s that journey within to examine our feelings as human beings,” said King. “It’s how we look at the landscape and our role with it as stewards – and here’s an environment that’s allowed to function without us intervening.

“It’s amazing in this day and age to have that foresight to put that aside to do that. So think about how wilderness helps you as a human being to become more defined or to understand your environment and your place and your role.”

The wilderness kiosk installed and dedicated as part of the day was designed and built by the young men and women of the Trapper Creek Job Corps Center in Darby.

Steve Kimball, wilderness manager for the Forest Service’s Northern Region, said the kiosk was significant.

“This piece of art that you put together and put in the ground here is remarkable, and the location is remarkable,” said Kimball. “We’re standing in the corridor between two of the largest, most wild, most remarkable wilderness areas in the country. The Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, which was formed when the Wilderness Act was signed 50 years ago, and the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness to the south that was designated in 1980, so we’re right here where people are going to come and access both wilderness areas and think about the meaning of wilderness areas.

“The folks who created wilderness – they were thinking of legacy tracts of land left for future generations of Americans. Now the system has grown to 110 million acres and we celebrate 50 years of wilderness.”

Sally Ferguson, executive director of the Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation, said caring for the wilderness is a group effort.

“I wanted to acknowledge the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance – a national outfit all about building a wilderness/stewardship community,” said Ferguson. “They funded the project and they gave us an opportunity to work together.

“The intent of the project was to bring the U.S. Forest Service and the NWSA with other wilderness organizations together to get something done that had a legacy component.”

The kiosk was funded as a Wilderness Partnership Project with National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance, Selway Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation, Trapper Creek Job Corps, USFS Region 1 and the Bitterroot National Forest.

Story continued at: Ravilli Republic

Get Your River Raffle Tickets!

November 23rd, 2014

Our Annual River Raffle has begun!

Get your tickets for a chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime trip on either the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, cutting its way through the 2.3-million acre Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, or the Wild and Scenic Selway River, deep within the heart of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.

Raffle Start Date: November 1, 2014

Winners Announced: February 26, 2015

Ticket Price: $20 Salmon – $20 Selway

Purchase Tickets:

These trips are made possible by our partners at Idaho River Adventures who donated the Middle Fork of the Salmon Trip, and Three Rivers Resort and Rafting who donated the Selway trip. We couldn’t auction off these incredible experiences without the support from these two companies. Please show your support by purchasing raffle tickets today!





Idaho Wilderness License Plate – Order Today!

November 22nd, 2014

Idaho’s first and only Wilderness license plate was released in 2011. The plate, which features artwork from Boise-area artist Ward Hooper, benefits wilderness and trails stewardship efforts in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness and Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. The plate is available at any Idaho DMV office, or you can order your personalized plate online at See an image of the place at our license plate page.  Pick your up today!

Foundation Announces Warren Q. Miller Internship Fund

November 19th, 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.  Find out ways to donate by sending an email to:

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)