On September 17th, a half dozen BHA volunteers spent a day brushing and clearing two miles of trail in the Flathead National Forest to improve access for hunters, hikers, and other public land recreators.
Volunteers met at Sylvia Lake on Saturday evening to enjoy a little fishing for grayling and cutthroat. Luckily, the lack of fish didn't leave us hungry as we enjoyed Gastrognome dehydrated meals for dinner. We enjoyed a clear night sky and campfire chat before retreating into our tents to get a good night's rest before the work began on Sunday.
Sunday morning, volunteers met with Jules Pace, the Wilderness/Trails Technician for the Tally Lake Ranger District of Flathead National Forest, and then we hit the trail. After a beautiful two-mile hike and a few wildlife sightings, we got to work. Trails are important not only for access, but to ensure wildlife habitat stays intact, especially in areas that are highly recreated. Over time, foliage can become overgrown making trails inaccessible, hard to follow, or forcing trail users to find alternate paths that can erode surrounding habitat. Using loppers and hand saws, we worked to clear away shrubs and trees that had overgrown and blocked the trail for over two miles.
We owe a huge thank you to the volunteers who gave up a weekend to give back to their public lands. Thank you to Gastrognome for feeding us, Timberline Ace for the tools, BHA intern Harrison Stasik for serving as co-lead, and the Flathead National Forest staff for allowing us to support their work.
This project is part of our two-year effort to improve trails across the state in collaboration with the Forest Service, and thanks to the Montana Trail Stewardship Grant administered by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks.