Wild Life - July 2013

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Sara Meloy, right, leads volunteers on citizen science trips with the Wilderness Institute. Photo by Michael Dax

What is wilderness? For many, wilderness is an abstract idea that means different things to different people. Scholars have filled volumes discussing this very issue, but for the Wilderness Institute, which is associated with the University of Montana and funded by the National Forest Service, wilderness is a quantifiable resource. Every summer for the past eight years, the Wilderness Institute has run a citizen science program that takes volunteers out into a different Montana wilderness area to monitor their wilderness character.

Frank Vitale packing a door to Hornet Lookout.

It was one cold winter evening last December that I met Frank Vitale. We visited over a crackling fire and ate a delicious meal…

Jumping for joy on Castle Reef. Photo by Jeff Van Tine

Helena photographer Jeff Van Tine shares a photo of three young ladies who are big fans of the Castle Reef on the Rocky Mountain Front

Trapper Badovinac

In this video, Trapper Badovinac shares a stroy about a rare expereince the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act would preserve.

Broadwater County Commissioner Laura Obert

In this video, Laura Obert, with the Broadwater County Commision, shares why she believes the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act is importnat to the vibrancy of her community.

Spanish Peaks Unit, Lee Metcalf Wilderness. Photo by Zack Porter

May is a funny month in Montana. The weather has finally warmed, the snow in the valleys is a distant memory, and the mind starts drifting towards summer. Yet, the snow stubbornly persists in the high country. Only the hardiest of travelers, willing to don snowshoes or climbing skins, can access those high alpine lakes and passes, leaving more weather-wary travelers like myself in the low country, impatiently gazing upwards in hopes of summer’s arrival.