What comes to mind when you think of your perfect June Saturday? Pulaski, rock bar, tread, digging crew, brushing, and hard hats are exactly what you envision when you think of a Montana summer day, right? Maybe not. Well, if you weren’t planning your next trail crew adventure in Montana, we’d like to share our report of our trail crew efforts in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex to celebrate National Trails Day two Saturdays ago.
National Trails Day began in 1993 to engage and inspire people from all across the country to get involved in their local trails, either by recreating or volunteering to help maintain their trail systems. This tradition occurs every year on the first Saturday in June and RAP was more than excited to get down and dirty for and help maintain a beautiful trail in Maggie’s neck of the woods.
The Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation, based in Hungry Horse, MT, hosted a one day volunteer trail work project in celebration of National Trails Day. As good friends of Maggie’s, she signed up to help. The Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation provides folks with volunteer trips to work on the vast and rugged trail system of the third largest Wilderness area in the lower 48. Their trips range from a one day experience to spending a week backpacking through the “Bob” on a trail crew, noxious weed eradication or restoring a historic phone line. Volunteers luck out–all of their food and work gear are provided by the Foundation. In fact, on some trips, there are even inflatable kayaks packed in by a pack-string to let those hard-workin’ volunteers float out of the Bob on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River after they’ve spent a week working on trails! So, if this little post has wet your whistle for an incredible volunteer vacation in one of Montana’s most pristine and wild places, click here to learn more about the BMWF’s trips.
Maggie’s group was led by veteran trail crew leader Addy and her dog Beast. And the 5 person group was the muscle group–using rock bars to move large rocks and Pulaski’s to widen the eroding Skiumah trail. And luckily for the rest of Maggie’s crew, she was working hard in her Red Ants Pants, so no horrifying plumber’s crack was exposed since RAPs have a higher back rise to prevent any indecent exposures. Although rain, which has been a constant in Montana this June, greeted the volunteer crews in the morning, by lunch time, trailside, the skies cleared! And at the end of the day, the crews, a bit weary from the work, but left knowing that this special trail was left in much, much better shape then when they found it.
So you might not have a trail crew project in your summer plans, but even if you’re not finding yourself with a cross-cut saw in hand, RAPs are perfect for any dirty and tough job that not only requires some good ol’ strength but also some good fun. And yes, crazy as it may sound, we do think that trail crew projects are fun, especially when there’ s a BBQ afterwards to celebrate our accomplishments!