Photo by Meg Killen

G. Centennials

September 12-16, 2017

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Project Name: Centennials
Project Dates: September 12-16, 2017 (*note these are the correct dates)
Registration Deadline: September 1, 2017

Volunteer Limit: 8
Volunteer Spaces Left: 2
Level of Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous

Location: Centennial Mountains, BLM - Ennis/Dillon Field Office, south of Red Rocks Lakes Wilderness
Type of project:  Primitive frontcountry camp
Meeting Time and Place: Monday, Sept 11 @ 6PM

Basic Project Description

Join MWA and the BLM in the majestic and secluded Centennial Mountains. One of the few east-west trending divide ranges in the Northern Rockies, the Centennials are unlike any other region MWA works. The marshy Red Rock Lakes in the northern foothills create a stark contrast with the jagged peaks and steep canyons of the mountains. Volunteers will be working to install drainage and erosion control structures, repair switchbacks, and stabilize tread. The hike to the project site will potentially include a daily trek up a set of switchbacks. The crew will be camped at the Nemesis Mountain Trailhead, with views of Red Rocks in the distance.

About the Area

One of the few east-west trending divide ranges in the Northern Rockies, the Centennials are unlike anyother region MWA works. The marshy Red Rock Lakes in the northern foothills create a stark contrast with the jagged peaks and steep canyons of the mountains. Notable peaks Nemesis and Red Rock soar to over 9000', giving a backdrop to the lake that rises over 3000' in less than a mile. Nestled within the Centennials is the Missouri River's ultimate headwaters in Hellroaring Creek, flowing out Hellroaring Canyon.

The Centennial Mountains are the southern boundary of the Centennial Valley which is home to the 32,350 acre Red Rocks Lake Wilderness. Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, it was designated in 1976. This remote, virtually undeveloped basin holds an amazing system of waterways consisting of lakes and connected marshes that is managed for wildlife. More than 14,000 acres of wetlands provide habitat and solitude for a stunning array of birds and other wildlife. The wilderness comprises about 80 percent of a refuge that was established in 1935 to safeguard the rare trumpeter swan. Some 215 bird species have been observed within this wetlands wilderness. Red Rock’s high prairies and mountains combine with the water to create a habitat for moose, elk, deer and antelope.

Meeting Place

Monday September 11 at 6:00 PM at Nemesis Mountain TH
To get to the Nemesis Mtn Trailhead (near Red Rock Pass), we'll follow these directions:

It is recommended you enter the Centennial Valley in from the East to minimize time spent driving on a rough, gravel road.
From Ennis, MT:

Head South on HWY 287 for 41 miles
Turn Right onto MT - 87 toward Henrys Lake for 8.6 miles
Continue on ID - 87 for 4 miles
Turn Right onto Henrys Lake Rd/Red Rock Pass Road to head toward Red Rock Pass
After 5.5 miles, continue onto Red Rock Pass Rd to Red Rock Pass
Follow this road up to Red Rock Pass and continue across the State Line toward Red Rock Lakes
About 1.5 miles past the pass, the road takes a hard 90 degree turn right. At this corner there is a gate with a two track road headed west. We will be camped about 1/4 mile down this two track road.

Camping Information

We'll be camped at Nemesis Mtn TH.  This is a primitive frontcountry campsite. The crew will need to filter all water and dig a latrine for the week. 

Volunteers will assist in preparing the campsite for the week including setting up tarps, kitchen equipment and digging a latrine. Crew will be educated on Leave No Trace practices and asked to follow these principles throughout the week. Food storage (bear) regulations will be observed. MWA will provide adequate food and snacks, however, if you want to bring along some extra personal snacks please be prepared to hang the food with your own gear and know-how. MWA bear boxes will be full with crew food and extra space will not be available. Read more about safely camping in bear country here. We kindly ask that you leave your technology and gadgets behind - let's enjoy the solitude and escape from technology for a week.

Food and Water

Your first meal provided will be breakfast and lunch fixings on Monday morning. Please arrive to the trailhead on Sunday having already eaten or ready to prepare your own dinner.

Please inform your crew leader of any dietary restrictions or requirements when you register for a project or no less than a week before the project start date. Even if this means you’re a picky eater…please tell us! We need you to have full energy for working on the trail, so we want to provide everyone with food they will eat. Volunteers will be expected to assist with cooking meals, and cleaning dishes throughout the week. Please remember to bring your own dishware, utensils and coffee mug. All participants will be asked to help with camp chores including cooking, cleaning and camp set-up.

What to Bring

Please check out this link to review suggested gear list and to consider what to bring (or not bring) while camping and traveling in bear country. Frequently forgotten items include creek crossing shoes, rain gear and personal mess kits.

Physical Abilities

The work involved in this project is strenuous. We'll have to hike up and down switchbacks each day to get to and from the worksite. Then we may be lifting and moving heavy objects and digging the rest of the time. You must be in great shape to join for this project. Please be honest with yourself about your fitness level before registering for this project. If you have any questions or concerns about your ability to participate, please contact MWA's Stewardship Coordinator Sonny Mazzullo at or 406.334.7378.


Prepare for the possibility of rain, snowstorms, high winds, heat, cold weather and bugs. Unpredictable weather is to be expected – bring proper gear. It can snow in high elevations - especially September. If we do experience actual summerlike temperatures, be prepared for sun exposure. Bring hats, long sleeves, and sunscreen!

Here is a link to the weather forecast on However, don't be fooled; weather on the divide can be very different than predicted. Please be prepared for all kinds of conditions, regardless of the forecast.


Do not show up to an MWA project without registering or without receiving a confirmation email from MWA staff. Unregistered volunteers will not be permitted to participate on projects. Minors require a hard copy volunteer registration with two signatures: one from volunteer, one from parent/guardian.

MWA requires a refundable deposit for project registration. This will help us ensure that everyone who registers is well-intentioned and that MWA will not have to bear the costs of last-minute cancellations. More info available on the registration page linked below. Refundable Deposit for this project is $50.


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