BMWF Starts Summer Programs

By Beacon Staff

Snow, windstorms, and rains wreak havoc annually on local trails. As a prelude to the upcoming hiking season, the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation (BMWF) launches its summer volunteer program with a National Trails Day project designed to clean up one of the local trails.

Along with the American Hiking Society and Montana Conservation Corps, volunteers with the BMWF plan to attack the Grant Ridge Trail in the Great Bear Wilderness this Saturday, May 31, and then celebrate afterwards with a barbecue. “It’s so early in the season that with snow on the ridge, we’ll be working in the lower elevations,” says Carla Belski, executive director for BMWF.

Dividing into two groups, crews will depart the Highway 2 trailheads, working up each end of the nine-mile loop trail. They’ll saw up windfall, cut back brush, repair trail sloughs, and clean out water bars to aid proper drainage. Belski says that one crew may even do some campground restoration at Stanton Lake, a spur on the Grant Ridge Trail.

The foundation encourages last minute interested volunteers to call to sign up. Following the National Trails Day work, the BMWF sponsors a tailgate barbecue at the Hungry Horse Ranger Station for all volunteers.

“We know we’re not going to get all the work done this time,” says Belski. “We’ll do what we can this weekend and continue the work later.” Follow-up work on Grant Ridge is scheduled for June 12-16 during an all-women trails project. Broads in the Backcountry still has room available for volunteers.

Other trails projects scheduled throughout the summer range throughout the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Some are single days; some are multi-day overnights supported by pack horses.

For further information, call 406/387-3808 or check www.thebmwf.org.

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