Volunteer Trail Crew

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Photo by Meg Killen

Volunteer Trail Crew

2020 Volunteer Trail Crew Projects

Get outside. Break a sweat. Do some good.


All VTC projects through July 10 have been canceled due to COVID-19. We aim to resume our season on July 11 with added precautionary measures in place to ensure the safety of our crew.

While we look forward to getting out on the trail soon, all prospective volunteers should be made aware of the following:

  • If anyone has experienced symptoms of Covid-19 or been around someone that has, we will be asking you to kindly stay home.
  • We will be following government and CDC recommendations relevant to travel restrictions, quarantine mandates, and group size limits. This means that we may have to reduce our crew size and out of state volunteers may not be allowed to participate.
  • In order to limit group touches of common items and promote social distancing, we may ask volunteers to supply some of their own meals for projects. Same goes for drinking water, water filters, and toilet paper.
  • We will be especially cautious with sharing items, including PPE. We will likely ask everyone to supply their own gloves, cloth facemasks, and safety glasses/sunglasses.
  • As is always the case, maintaining proper personal and group hygiene will be extremely important.

We will give you plenty of advance notice of any changes that will affect your preparation and participation. And we will do whatever we can to help promote a safe environment on these projects.


Every summer, volunteers just like you join together to maintain trails on public lands across the state with our Volunteer Trail Crew (VTC). MWA provides staff leadership, tools, food, and group gear for all projects. All projects are free to join, though we do collect a refundable deposit to hold your spot on a project.

2020’s VTC project lineup is our most exciting yet. For the first time, we’ll have projects on each of Montana’s seven National Forests. We will also work with the BLM and Montana State Parks. We will be headed back to several key landscapes, including the Centennial Mountains WSA, the North Fork of the Blackfoot, and the Cabinet Mountains. We’ll also be venturing to new areas, such as the Sapphire Mountains WSA and the Pryor Mountains.

These VTC projects are a great way to explore a new landscape while making a difference! Projects range from moderate, weekend, frontcountry trips to very strenuous, week-long backcountry adventures. Check out our full summer offerings below. You can click on a project to learn more and to sign up. For more information on what to expect from a VTC project, check out our Volunteer Guide here.

Spots are limited – sign up today to secure your spot on a VTC project!

Projects listed as "FULL" are currently at capacity. However, cancellations are not uncommon and we frequently pull volunteers from the waitlist. If you are interested in joining, register on the project webpages linked below to add your name to the waitlist.

2020 Projects Landscape Dates D.R. Slots?
Crosscut Saw Training Classroom/MacDonald Pass May 1 - 2 M NO
North Fork Blackfoot Scapegoat Wilderness May 14 - 17 V.S. FULL
Big Pryor Mountain Pryor Mountains May 28 - 31 S FULL
Southern Cabinet Trails Cabinet Mountains June 4 - 7 S FULL
Meyers Hill Nevada Mtn Roadless Area June 25 - 28 M FULL
Sapphire W.S.A. Sapphire Mountains June 25 - 28 S FULL
Pintler Creek Anaconda Pintler Wilderness July 11 - 18 V.S. FULL
Twin Lakes Northern Anaconda Range July 25 - Aug 1 S FULL
Flesher Pass Lincoln Valley August 3 - 7 S FULL
Big Timber Canyon Crazy Mountains August 13 - 16 S FULL
Nemesis Mountain Centennial Mountains W.S.A. August 20 - 23 S FULL
Clayton Lake Jewel Basin September 3 - 6 V.S. FULL
Sluice Boxes State Park Little Belt Mountains September 10 - 13 M FULL
Adopt-A-Trail Crew Madison Gallatin Chapter Recurring Day Trips S YES

D.R. = Difficulty Rating
M = Moderate; S = Strenuous; V.S. = Very Strenuous


Physical Ability – Please Be Honest

It's extremely important that you select a project that is aligned with your physical ability. If you are a first-time volunteer – or it has been a few years since your last project – review this page to better understand what you are signing up for. To ensure your safety and the safety of the entire crew, you must be prepared for the level of difficulty of the project you select. Keep in mind that you'll be working full days in the field and that you must be able to work for the duration of the project. All volunteer registrations will be reviewed in detail, and we'll be giving special attention to those who sign up for projects that are "strenuous" and "very strenuous." MWA Staff will, if necessary, kindly recommend that you sign up for another project that is better suited to your experience and physical ability. Please call us if you're unsure about how your skills might align with our project work. Thank you in advance for your understanding. 

Here is what you can expect from projects with these levels of difficulty: 

  • Moderate: Project requiring fewer than 5 miles of daily hiking. Work is physically demanding, but can be self-paced according to one's comfort level. Camp is not far from the worksite and there is access to vehicles at camp. 
  • Strenuous: Project requiring some combination of long daily hikes, demanding work tasks, and a hike into a backcountry camp. Opportunities for self-paced tasks exist during the workday but may not always be available. Camp will often be established in the backcountry and will require hiking with a full pack. 
  • Very Strenuous: Project requiring some combination of long daily hikes, a long hike into a backcountry camp, especially demanding work tasks and the need to keep pace with the rest of the crew at all times. These are our most challenging projects. If you have any doubts about your ability level, contact MWA staff prior to registering.
Project Deposits

MWA requires a $50 refundable deposit to hold your place on a Volunteer Trail Crew project. The integrity of our program requires committed volunteers. If you register for a project, we are counting on you to show up. If you either cancel (with less than one month's notice) or do not show up, MWA will accept your deposit as a donation to offset the administrative costs associated with pre-project planning and food shopping.

Deposits will not be refunded until the conclusion of the field season. Expect to receive your refunded deposit sometime in mid-September, but no later than October 1st. Deposits are refunded to the credit card used to process the transaction.


If you cancel less than one month before the project start date, your deposit will be considered a donation to the stewardship program and will be used to offset the expense we will incur to find your replacement on the crew. We understand that sometimes life happens and plans need to change. If you cancel with at least one month's notice, your deposit will be refunded. Thank you for your understanding. 


Those projects listed as "FULL" are at capacity, although you can still register and be added to the waitlist. You'll still need to provide a refundable project deposit. In the event of a cancellation, we will begin calling everyone on the waitlist. The first to respond and accept the position will be added to the confirmed list. MWA will refund your project deposit if you aren't added to the confirmed list. We will also gladly accept deposits as donations to the Stewardship program. 

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