SBFC News

October 22 – Telluride Mountain Film – Egyptian

August 26th, 2015

Mark your calendars for Thursday, October 22 for Telluride Mountain Film on Tour at the Egyptian in downtown Boise.  Co-hosted by Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation and Idaho Conservation league.  Tickets will be on sale through Event Brite on October 8 or at the door.  $10 Students $12 General Admission.

More info contact:   info@selwaybitterroot.org.

Wilderness we call “The Frank

August 20th, 2015

Alright, this is starting to get ridiculous… For the second time this week the neighbors are causing a ruckus. Mountain goats are launching rock avalanches down the mountain towards our tents! An unexpected Wilderness experience for sure!

The USFS Middle Fork Wilderness team, including myself, took on some of the River of No Return’s most pristine country; from crystal clear alpine lakes, sharp narrow ridges, to towering summits. The USFS/SBFC team managed to summit Martin Mountain six times and Sleeping Deer Peak once. We logged out over twelve miles of trail, and visited four alpine lakes. Over 12 miles of trail was cleared from Sleeping Deer Lookout through the Cache Lakes Basin past Martin Mountain to the junction of Grouse Creek Trail #085 and Macarte Ridge Trail #4097.

Conversely, the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness fought back against the team by reclaiming the Grouse Creek Trail. The term “Ghost Trail” was best used to describe Grouse Creek. It was not enough to be equipped with GPS technology and detailed maps, the team completely lost the trail at the Macarte Ridge junction. There was no sign of tread or cut logs. Grouse Creek Trail was left as it was – wherever that might be. GPS or map is the only means to navigate in this territory.

The USFS and SBFC teams worked together to uphold the undeniably high level of wilderness character in the Frank Church. The teams were a force to be reckoned with on the trail and also on the alpine lakes. The elite anglers in the crew indulged upon the bountiful and aggressive cutthroat for their evening ritual.

Come next Wednesday the Salmon-Challis SBFC Interns and Middle Fork USFS team will reassemble for one final hitch, those logs across the trail have another thing coming.

Tyler Lee – Western State Colorado UniversityLookout Mtn Photo

End of Season Wrap up

August 20th, 2015

Jake Henry Photo Jake Henry Group photo

It is the final week of my SBFC Internship. Many things have happened this season, some good, some bad, and (definitely) some painful. The other interns and myself have been through a lot together. We have worked on miles of trails and seen some of the most beautiful places in the country. Our bodies have been stained with sweat, blood, and (after our most recent hitch) tears.

This summer has tested me mentally as well as physically. Being covered in mosquitos, a little loopy from dehydration, and experiencing an abundance of blisters and sores in all parts of my body were just a few of the “tests”.  Throw all of those things on top of being submitted to upwards of 14-hour workdays, and it makes for a fun time. My experience sounds pretty awesome, huh?

Looking back on everything that happened this season, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Each and every experience has made me a much stronger person, helped me to realize and be grateful for the things that I have, and opened the door to lasting friendships. This has really been the summer of a lifetime and I will remember it for as long as I live. I want to thank all of the SBFC staff, the board members, the generous donors, and my fellow interns for allowing me to have a great season.

Jake Henry – Eastern Kentucky University

Here is the link to my video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xr0BQtwFpBE 

 

We “killed it” at Colt Killed Creek!

August 20th, 2015

Colt Killed 2 cnznf ssmithphotoThis has been one exciting hitch. Although it was shorter than all the rest it was filled with plenty of good times. This hitch it was all four of the Nez Perce-Clearwater interns working together to get five campsites inventoried and all of trail 71 cleared in four days. Colt Killed creek cnznf ssmithphoto

There were two campsites off at different lakes that we had to bushwhack for a good mile and a half to get to. Taryn and Jake inventoried the campsite at Garnet Lake while Nolan and I found the campsite at Parachute Lake. This whole hitch was quite the adventure and I’m glad I got to spend it with all of the interns in my area.

Susan Eisenbraun – University of Idaho

 

Thanks to our exceptional volunteers!

July 26th, 2015

 

 

Jake Henry 2

With the third hitch behind us, it is finally safe to say that I am pooped! The other interns and I have battled through some very hard work and have quite literally conquered mountains. We have been covered in everything from mosquitos to dirt, blood, and sweat… It has been awesome! We are all becoming stronger and certainly more skilled with the tools that we use on the trails. We just finished our third hitch of the season and we were lucky enough to have volunteers on the trip. It made things very different from the way that they usually are. Jake Henry 1The volunteers bring something to the trip that could be described as a curious passion for nature. It means so much to me to see that there are people out there willing to sacrifice their time and energy to help out and get some work done. All of the hitches have been great but this past one in particular was special. Any time that you get that many passionate people together, great things happen. I am greatly looking forward to continuing my work and my next few hitches. I wouldn’t replace my fellow interns with anyone else in the world. I love working with them and I cannot wait to keep it up.

Jake Henry – Eastern Kentucky University

 

 

Harrington 2

July 26th, 2015

Harrington 1SBFC staff, interns, and volunteers spent 6 days in the Frank Church crosscutting trees out of Harrington Ridge Trail no. 9. We were gifted with storms, solitude, and 360 degree views the entire hike. 

Harrington 2

Melinda Horne – University of Montana

 

Harrington Ridge – the drama of nature

July 26th, 2015

Vivian MapThis past hitch the Selway-Bitterroot team went over to the Frank Church for a lesson in remoteness. Getting to our trail, Harrington Ridge, was an effort in itself. First, we drove 60 miles on the infamously rough Magruder Corridor to reach Salmon Mountain base camp. Then from the trailhead, we hiked 10 miles in to Swet Lake Cabin, which was just off the junction to Harrington Ridge Trail.

The impending thunderstorms looming over the drive up provided dramatic lighting for an intensely dynamic landscape, one that alternated from dense walls of forests to wide open tracts of burned areas.

The Magruder Corridor is the sole divider of the Selway-Bitterroot and the Frank Church River of No Return Wildernesses. Together, these two wilderness areas make up the largest block of wilderness in the US– and the views reflect this. This isolated location came with incredible views of seemingly unending wilderness and mountains. Stopping at Nez Perce Pass- the meeting point between Idaho and Montana- it was only mountains as far as the eye can see stretching from the East to the West. It was as if you could walk forever and only be climbing mountains.

The trip started with a night at Salmon Basecamp, under the cover of the season’s first thunderstorms.

These were not our only encounters with storms, the first half of our trip was filled with thunderstorm and hail. Not only that, but our entire route was basically composed of ridges so we were not only exposed to incredible panoramic views but also to the elements. This made being out and experiencing the views all the more worth it as the storms intensified the scenery, with billowing clouds that would speed overhead, oscillating the lighting from darkness to brilliance in a matter of minutes.

With this weather, we remained flexible and erred on the safe side, which translated to 3 nights in the cabin. The first two nights were wet and cold, and the cabin was a warm, dry haven. We ended up clearing 5.25 miles of quickly disappearing trail (due to its remote location is barely used/maintained) with our fantastic volunteers, Bryce and Josh.

Overall, this ridge trip was a reminder of how moving and powerful wilderness can be.

Vivian Ly – Stanford

 

 

Dagger Falls – Thoughts on Wilderness……

July 26th, 2015

Dagger FallsI’m currently sitting at Dagger Falls Campground, on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. The Middle Fork is a Wild & Scenic River and a premier destination for floaters in Idaho. The falls are absolutely stunning, our campground is covered in Mariposa lilies, and the air is filled with the scent of lodgepole pine and subalpine fir. We’ve already seen pine marten, pika, and we just missed the annual Chinook salmon run by a week. Despite having all the “feels” of wilderness, this campground is similar to many others in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness in that the road leading up to the campground creates a “cherry stem”—a long, narrow non-wilderness intrusion—in the wilderness boundary. Considering that we’re over two hours from any paved road and at least three hours from any sort of advanced medical care, many perspectives would say we’re in “wilderness”, despite the fact that this campground is accessible by vehicle and the actual Wilderness boundary lies about 100 yards on either side of us. This common condition of “cherry stemming” in the Frank Church-River of No Return reflects the larger historical context of this Wilderness and poses questions for the future management of this vast place.

 

While the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness was designated in 1964 with the passage of the Wilderness Act, the Frank Church-River of No Return was not federally recognized until 1980. As one can deduce, this delayed designation came with many more compromises in the legislature—more “cherry stems”, a large number of airstrips, many private inholdings—as well as a generally tenuous “wilderness culture” when compared to the Selway-Bitterroot. From what I can tell based on my limited experience here so far, the somewhat wilderness-resistant character is wearing off in the River of No Return as our nation’s attitude toward wilderness becomes more admirable and more people catch wind of the largest, most unexplored contiguous Wilderness area in the lower 48. Nonetheless, the original compromises cannot be undone.

I now realize that most of my distaste with this all-too-familiar situation of compromises in Wilderness is actually rooted in guilt. As I become more accustomed to this area and the general workings of federal management agencies, such concessions become commonplace. However, my straight shootin’, deep-down wilderness steward self knows that we—both as a country with Wilderness in its veins and as wilderness stewards—can do much better than that. I feel guilty that I’m letting such lackadaisical wilderness management go unquestioned, unchallenged, and un-retaliated.

I understand that compromise is fundamental to functional legislature and I have the upmost respect for legislators that are willing to defend Wilderness, but it is also crucial to maintain a constituency that stands firm on the grounds of wilderness character and questions the decisions of our lawmakers. Only then can we live up to the title “Guardians of Freedom”.

 

Peter Breigenzer-University of Montana

New Turnpike for the Yellowjacket Project

July 26th, 2015

We began our journey by meeting our first 5 volunteers and 4 Forest Service crew members the night of June 20 at Yellow Jacket Lake Campground where we made introductions over our first dinner together.

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The next morning we began with our daily yoga stretch after a good breakfast and then made our way 2 miles up the trail to base camp where we would be working for the next four days. Shortly after setting up camp we began to work on the turnpike across the marsh and made good progress even though the rain and lightning shut us down early.

The work over the next few days were long, hot and strenuous yet gratifying as we watched the project quickly come together. Everyone had a chance to work on all aspects of the job from running a crosscut saw and brushing to hauling, peeling logs, and putting them in place.

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There was also always a good dinner to look forward to at the end of the day; salmon one night, steak and potatoes the next, jambalaya on another, and everyone took a night to pitch in and cook so everyone else could take their time to relax.

The Drake Cooper Volunteers came in mid-week and thanks to their hard work helped us to finish the turnpike on time.

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I would like to thank all the volunteers for their hard work so that future generations will have an opportunity to visit these grand places. Thank you to Sally, Nikki, Sheryl, Tom and Leslie and our Drake Cooper volunteers; Amanda, Chase, Chris, Colleen, and Malia. I would also like to thank our Forest Service crew, Jeff, Harry, Rachel and Anne for your hard work. A big thanks to Coby also for taking the time out of his busy schedule to come out and lead this trip.

Hard work was done and new memories and new friendships were made. Thank you all again and may our paths cross again on the great trail of life.

Adam Hoge – University of Montana

WARM SPRINGS CREEK TRAIL, WIND LAKES, GRAVE PEAK LOOKOUT

July 8th, 2015

Well it’s already the end of hitch two. Greg, Ben, Taryn, Jake and I started out hiking the Warm Springs Creek Trail on day one. The weather forecast predicted this hitch to be a hot and dry one; it wasn’t wrong in the end. We were sent to cover a lot of miles this hitch and so we split into two separate work forces and then met back up towards the end of the hitch. Greg’s team went over to McConnell Mountain, while Ben and I went to clear the rest of the Warm Springs trail and the trail up to Wind Lakes. The team got back together just in time for a day full of some serious brushing. Then we enjoyed 4th of July together sharing stories and laughs. The last couple of days were spent up around Wind Lakes. After another day of clearing trail, our team hiked up to Grave Peak Lookout for some amazing 360 views. We then made sure to swim a little in the gorgeous lake that we named “Mirror Mirror on the Wall” just because we could. All in all I feel confident and proud about the work that we accomplished. Wishing you all fun filled adventures.

Susan Eisenbraun – University of Idaho

BIG CREEK & ST. MARY’S LOOKOUT

July 8th, 2015

It can be too easy sometimes to focus on work and almost forget where you are. Our first project of the hitch was to head up Big Creek. Big Creek Lake is the biggest in the Bitterroots. Our commute to work involved stopping to take our boots off to cross the dam’s spillway on the edge of the lake. Although this lengthened the time of our hike, the cool water flowing by my feet as the sun rose over the hill reminded me to enjoy our incredibly scenic location. We cut out logs so the packer could get to camp for our trips up Big Creek with the Sierra Club and American Hiking Society later this summer. Midway through our nine-mile hike I happened to look at the bottom of my boot. The sole was cracked almost in half!

For our second project, Claire led four interns (myself included) and 10 volunteers on a two-day project working on the trail at Saint Mary’s Peak. The first day we all hiked up to the 9,351 ft. summit, enjoyed the stunning views, and worked down the trail, cutting out logs, brushing the trail, and cleaning 187 drains,  all in two days. In a few weeks, the lookout volunteer can be packed in along a clear trail. This was an incredible way to spend a holiday weekend; we even had a barbeque for the volunteers at the home of our incredible hosts. One of the interns, Valentin filled up on all the good food by eating four veggie burgers. I guess he was hungry.

Hitch 2 was a great success, and I would recommend taking a look at the bottom of your boots once in a while.

Carly Stinson – University of MontanaP7040086

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!

https://www.givelocalmissoula.org/#home

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.

http://smile.amazon.com/ch/27-2868220

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!

FREE & OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!

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

January 27th, 2015

NEW EVENT

WEDNESDAY – FEBRUARY 11 @ 7pm

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.

http://rei.com/Boise

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

FREE & OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!

New Kiosk Installed at Magruder Ranger Station

December 31st, 2014

Kiosk

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: info@selwaybitterroot.org

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 accessidaho.org. 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:     info@selwaybitterroot.org

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)