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Apr

27

2012

Ecotourism with Blisters

bob-marshall-wilderness-foundationTrail crew at work in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Courtesy photoWant to run a two-person, six-foot crosscut saw to fell trees in the wilderness? Well, now is your chance. The Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation (BMWF) needs volunteers to complete 50 projects this summer.

 

“The Bob is home to one of the largest intact ecosystems in the U.S.,” says Keagan Zoellner, executive director of the foundation. The area encompasses 1.5 million acres of Montana backcountry, straddling the Continental Divide just southeast of Glacier National Park. Within its boundaries you’ll encounter steep mountain passes, fishing and rafting in the Flathead and Sun Rivers, alpine cirques, and native animals including elk herds, bears, and wolverines. Flocks of migratory birds pass through, and diverse trout species call the rivers and lakes home.

 

The BMWF partners with the U.S. Forest Service to coordinate projects from basic trail maintenance to eradicating invasive species to clearing downed trees and restoring natural areas. “There are so many trails and so little time,” Zoellner says. “Volunteers get to go out and enjoy themselves, but also get a huge sense of accomplishment.”

 

Volunteers can commit to a single-day outing, or backcountry trips of 7–10 days. BMWF supplies food, tools, and logistical support. Volunteers are responsible for getting to Montana and bringing personal gear. On multi-day trips, mules and pack horses enable work crews to cover more ground. The eight-hour workdays (with non-mechanized tools) are complemented by a vacation element: Volunteers choose from photography clinics, yoga classes, day hikes, and trout fishing. Groups pulling weeds along rivers load up the rafts to float out. Not bad for a working vacation.  —Olivia Dwyer

 

Visit bmwf.org for more information.

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