2015 Volunteer Opportunities!
June 18-21 One Horse Lake Trail #326 Clearing and Campsite Monitoring Project (Bitterroot NF)
SBFC and volunteers will work to the clear the popular One Horse Lake trail near Carlton Lake and Iconic Lolo Peak during this fun, long weekend project. Volunteers and SBFC Crew members will work with traditional tools to clear the trails in this popular high alpine basin. SBFC hopes to have the help of volunteers for this important project in order to address the many needs for seasonal maintenance in this area that has not seen US Forest Service crew maintenance in many years.
June 20 – June 27th Yellowjacket Volunteer Trail Clearing (Salmon-Challis NF)
With great work accomplished in 2013, we are aiming to finish work on the Upper Yellowjacket Trail #038 in 2015. Come camp 3 nights at Yellowjacket Lake Campground and 3 nights at a beautiful meadow on Upper Yellowjacket Trail, while helping us build a long turnpike structure and some french drains in a few remaining boggy spots. The Forest Service will pack in camp as you backpack 2 miles in beautiful meadow camp. Enjoy the serenity of the wild Frank Church – River of No Return Wilderness and check out the great views of the Bighorn Crags from just above camp. Mules will help with surfacing turnpike.
June 29 — July 5th Big Sand Lake Trail Clearing and Improvement Project (Nez-Perce/Clearwater NF)
SBFC is recruiting volunteers for one of our earliest volunteer projects of the 2015 field season. This exciting volunteer project is a great opportunity to give back to the wild public lands of the United State of America while celebrating Independence Day in a spectacular natural setting. What better way to commemorate the founding of our great country than heading into the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness of Idaho? Bring along your fishing gear, American Flags, and work boots. The crew will spend the days cutting out logs with crosscut saws, building trail drainage structures and rehabbing old campsites before returning to a comfortable basecamp for delicious “Americana” meals and cold beverages.
July 4 — 5th St. Mary’s Peak Lookout Trail Opening (Bitterroot NF)
Come join SBFC and the USFS as we work to open the trail to the iconic St. Mary’s Peak Fire Lookout this July. Learn to use traditional tools such as cross-cut saws and double bit axes to clear trees and brush from the trail. Volunteers will also work with SBFC crew to restore damaged alpine slopes adjacent to the trail. Work will be performed from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM on both days with a great dinner at a festive camp to be provided by SBFC on the night of July 4. This is a great way to do some trail work above treeline in one of the most scenic areas of the state of Montana.
July 4th to July 11th Middle Fork Volunteer Trail Clearing (Salmon-Challis NF)
Ever want to visit Idaho’s most iconic Middle Fork of the Salmon River? How about volunteering to maintain the first twenty miles of trail alongside the Middle Fork, while our basecamp gets packed along on a string of mules! Join us for this unique project, working one-direction, bumping camp every day and flying out from Indian Creek Guard Station. The project is best suited to experienced trail workers who are physically fit and able to hike several miles a day while working on clearing trees and improving trail conditions.
July 13 – 19th Harrington Ridge Trail Clearing Project (Bitterroot NF)
Join SBFC for a trip to the remote northern portion of the iconic Frank Church River of no Return wilderness area. We will be travelling deep into this seldom visited corner of the largest wilderness area in the continental United States. We’ll be clearing trails and monitoring campsites during this 7 day project. Mules and horses will carry all of the food, tools, and group gear that we will need to set up a comfortable camp and truly enjoy our time in the Frank Church. The hikes in and out of basecamp will be long 10 to 12 mile days so be sure you are feeling up to the challenge.
August 8th to August 15th Indian Creek Volunteer Trail Clearing (Salmon-Challis NF)
Picking up where we left off in 2014, we’re heading back to Indian Creek one of the Frank’s most secluded and wild West-side drainages. Our trip includes a walk in from Chilcoot Pass, basecamping on the headwaters of Indian Creek and working on clearing downfall with cross-cut saws. Check out the December issue of Idaho Magazine for a recount from the 2014 trip, and come help us open this wild and beautiful trail corridor!
August 8th to August 15th Marble Creek Volunteer Trail Clearing (Payette NF)
Part of the Idaho Centennial Trail, Marble Creek has been an annual Volunteer Project for SBFC for the past four seasons. Join us this year, as we continue to improve trail conditions on the ICT, removing downfall with cross-cut saws and handtools. The BackCountry Horseman are supporting this trip by packing our kitchen gear down, all you need is your personal backpacking gear and a week to volunteer!
August 23-29 Lost Horse Trail #430 Widening and Improvement Project (Nez-Perce/Clearwater NF)
Volunteers will be joining forces with SBFC Project Leaders and USFS Nez-Perce National Forest Staff to complete an exciting trail improvement project on the Lost Horse Trail in the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness area of Idaho. This great backcountry trail provides access to some truly spectacular wild backcountry but is currently almost unusable for horses and mules because of some large rocks that constrict the trail on a very steep slope. The goal of this project will be to remove those obtrusive rocks using a combination of hammers, pry bars, and of course, dynamite. Volunteers will get the opportunity to work with certified USFS blasters to design and detonate highly sophisticated explosive systems.
August 28 – 31 High Lake Trail Clearing and Repair Project (Bitterroot NF)
Volunteers will join SBFC to clear and repair the long neglected High Lake Trail in scenic Blodgett Canyon. Repairing this seldom used trail will come with big rewards for volunteers in the form of great views and access to wild country that most hikers never explore. The tower granite cliffs and spires of Blodgett Canyon provide a truly spectacular backdrop for the hard work of rebuilding blown out sections of switchbacks, installing drainage structures and logging out down trees.
September 10-15 Lochsa Peak Area Cut and Run Project (Nez-Perce/Clearwater NF)
In mid-September SBFC will be joining forces with volunteers and USFS mule packers for work trip to the beautiful Lochsa Peak area. This fun trip is a great opportunity to get out in the wilderness and view the gorgeous fall colors while helping to improve the trials in the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness area. We will be working to cut out logs and brush from the trail while stopping along the way to take inventory of old campsites and restore areas that have been damaged by misuse in the past. The fall weather in the mountains around the Lochsa River is ideal, warm sunny days and cold clear nights. We look forward to seeing you out there for this project.
Sept 24 – 27 Boulder Creek Trail and Stanley Hot Springs Trail Clearing and Campsite Monitoring (Nez-Perce/Clearwater NF)
Picture this. Warm sunny days spent clearing trails, restoring old campsites, and building trail drains followed by cool, clear evenings with someone to cook you dinner and serve it to you while you sit around a campfire all topped off with a relaxing soak in a natural hotspring. If this sounds as good to you as it does to us, you’re going to want to get registered for this long weekend project. This late September project is sure to fill up fast so don’t wait.
Great Volunteer Projects Hosted by our Partners
March 30 to April 3 University of Montana-Montana Wilderness Association Students Group Project (Nez-Perce/Clearwater National Forest)
In late March of 2015 students from the UM-Montana Wilderness Association Students Group will be joining SBFC staff on a 5 day trail maintenance and improvement project on the Selway River Trail in Idaho. The low elevation of this area is ideal for early spring projects like this one. Volunteers will work to clear the trail of downed trees and debris left from winter storms. If time permits, the crew will work to improve trail conditions and potential build and improve trail drainage structures.
July 26 to August 1 American Hiking Society South Fork of Big Creek Project (Bitterroot National Forest)
Volunteers will be working on improving the long neglected South Fork of Big Creek Trail in the beautiful Bitterroot Mountains of western Montana. Pack stock will carry the kitchen and other group gear to a great backcountry campsite where the crew will settle in for the week after a fairly flat seven mile hike along Big Creek. The crew will clear over 300 downed trees from the three mile long trail to South Fork and Pearl Lakes using traditional wilderness tools, such as crosscut saws and double bit axes. Then the crew will use hand tools such as pick mattocks and shovels to improve the trail tread passing through the magnificent high mountain valley.
August 2 to August 8 Sierra Club Big Creek Divide and Packbox Pass Project (Bitterroot National Forest)
Volunteers will be heading up Big Creek Lake to complete 7 days of project work aimed at improving the Big Creek Divide and Packbox Saddle trails of the Selway Bitterroot Mountains. The relatively mellow ten mile hike in will bring volunteers to basecamp, located on the northern shore of iconic Big Creek Lake. After completing the hike in volunteers will help SBFC staff set up camp before settling in for a relaxing evening. The next morning volunteers will hit the trail with seasoned SBFC staff members to work on projects ranging from logging out neglected trails with a crosscut saw to monitoring and inventorying campsites in this high mountain valley. Volunteers will be working to improve trails that have been used for generations by our Native American and European predecessors.
Iowa Conservation Educators and Students Wind Lakes Trail Maintenance Project (Nez-Perce/Clearwater National Forest)
Connie-Saylor Johnson and her crew of dedicated conservation and science educators from the state of Iowa will be back in the Idaho again in 2015 to complete trail maintenance work on the Wind Lakes Trail. This committed group has been completing great work in the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness Area for many years. With Connie’s great leadership and a little help from the USFS the crew hopes to have another very successful project in 2015.
National Smokejumpers Association Trail Maintenance Group (Nez-Perce/Clearwater National Forest)
Bob Whaley and his crew of seasoned smokejumper alumnus will be back out in the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness again in 2015. This time the crew will be working in the Big Sand Lake area to make considerable upgrades to a rough section of trail. The crew will be rebuilding a badly damaged puncheon, fixing a variety of drainage structures and doing deferred maintenance on the Diablo Lookout trail. With a comfy camp at Horse Heaven Meadows, this project once again promises to be a good time and a resounding success.
More Projects will be Announced in Early 2015