July 31-August 7: A New Legacy

The Moose Creek Ranger District, a place where history thrives in both the natural and human realms. Long before the designation of this slice of wilderness in 1964, hardworking folks were laying down a new path (literally) into these wild lands. Bridges, airstrips, ranger stations, cabins, and trails were finally making this place accessible. Among the most famous of these innovators were Emil and Penny Keck. Emil and Penny are household names in this neck of the woods, and I finally figured out why. They spent the latter half of the twentieth century building many of the structures and trails that we so often take for granted. The Three Links Bridge, a forty-foot bridge over Three Links Creek, was one of their bridge accomplishments that was completed almost as simultaneously as the Wilderness Act of 1964.

Nearly fifty years later and it is time for this bridge to come down; time for a new legacy of wilderness stewards to claim these structures as part of their hard work. And that is what we set out to do the week of 7/31-8/7. I joined the SBFC Three Links Crew, Corey Swanson, and construction expert Barry Thompson to remove the Three Links Bridge for a new bridge that will also eventually become part of this local history.

As we destroyed this bridge I could not help but admire the hard work that Emil and Penny put into this project, hoping that this work would make them satisfied with the work that SBFC has been doing. Although we did not get to build the bridge yet, dismantling the bridge was quite a feat, especially when there are no power tools to drill 8’’ holes into a concrete foundation. Let’s just say, I am a pro at hand drilling now.

I was thrilled to be a part of this project and am so thankful to have taken part in such a variety of projects this summer.

     — Christian LaBar, Wilderness Ranger Intern | August 17, 2012