Supporting the Bob

By Beacon Staff

The Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex is a magnet for explorers and solace-seekers of all kinds, and an upcoming event is aimed at helping keep the trails in the Bob open to all who hope to walk there.

The seventh annual Voices of the Wilderness exhibit and silent auction will take place on Nov. 8 at the Alpine Ballroom on Main Street in Kalispell. The festivities begin at 7 p.m.

Carol Treadwell, executive director at the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation, said the Voices of Wilderness event is an important way for the community to help the nonprofit organization’s ’s efforts to protect the Bob, as well as connect with the artists sent into the Bob to create pieces of art through the Artist-Wilderness-Connection program.

Artist-Wilderness-Connection is an artist-in-residence program coordinated through the Flathead National Forest, the BMWF and the Hockaday Museum of Art.

The artists sent to the Bob in the summer of 2012 – a trio of musicians – will be featured in a video they recorded to capture their experience in the wild called, “The Logan-Dirtyface Sessions.” The musicians’ work is inspired by their time spent at the Spruce Creek Cabin in the Great Bear Wilderness.

One of the musicians, Mandy Mohler, will present the video, featuring her along with musicians Josh Harvey and Bettreena Jaeger.

Voices of the Wilderness usually exhibits work from the previous year’s artist-in-residence, Treadwell said, but this video will give new insight into the popular program.

“It’s really cool because usually we see the art they do, but this time we’ll be able to see the experience they had,” Treadwell said.

The night will also feature live music from the Spring Wagon String Band, who will play old-time Appalachian bluegrass to help set the mood for the evening.

Along with the art exhibit, ticketholders will also have the opportunity to participate in a silent auction featuring art and crafts from local artisans, including oil and watercolor paintings, photography, pottery, leatherwork, fabric art, handmade jewelry, cast iron works and more.

Treadwell said there will be a raffle during the evening, with the grand prize of a five-day pack trip into the Bob Marshall Wilderness with Swan Mountain Outfitters.

Tickets, which cost $15, are available on the BMWF website at www.bmwf.org. Ticketholders also receive one drink and a dessert.

Proceeds from this event help the BMWF keep trails open in the Bob through its trail trips, Treadwell said. And while maintaining the trail program is important, she said, the money also helps the foundation introduce the next generation to the beauty and possibilities of being in wilderness.

“It also supports getting kids into the woods,” Treadwell said. “That’s a big component of what we do, to have youth groups to participate in the trail programs; when you’re in the wilderness, there’s no cell reception.”

Treadwell said the foundation helps organize about 40 trips the trail program sends into the Bob each year, and around 30 percent of the participants are kids. It’s an important time in their lives to allow them to disconnect from their technology, online social networks, and computers and get them back in nature.

“It’s a great thing for them,” Treadwell said. “For some of them, it’s life-changing.”

For more information on the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation, visit www.bmwf.org.

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