Volunteer Trail Crew

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Photo by Meg Killen

2021 Volunteer Trail Crew Projects

Get outside. Break a sweat. Do some good.

 

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.

In 2021, we'll continue to expand our impact across the state. We will have crews working in the East Pioneers, Snowcrest Range, and Pryors for the first time. We will also return to old haunts like the Anaconda Pintler Wilderness, North Fork of the Blackfoot, and several spots along the Continental Divide Trail.

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.

Projects listed as "FULL" are currently at capacity but still accepting waitlist registrations. We often pull volunteers from the waitlist. If you are interested in joining a waitlist, register on the project webpages linked below.

2021 Projects Landscape Dates D.R. Slots?
North Fork Blackfoot Scapegoat Wilderness May 13 - 16 V.S. FULL
Southern Cabinet Trails Cabinet Mountains June 3 - 6 S FULL
Sapphires Sapphire Mountains June 17 - 20 S FULL
Big Pryor Mountain Pryor Mountains June 24 - 27 S FULL
Flesher Pass Continental Divide July 8 - 11 S FULL
Bison Mountain Electric Peak Rec. Wilderness July 15 - 18 S FULL
Phyllis Lakes Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness July 24 - 31 S FULL
Lake Abundance East Pioneers August 7 - 14 V.S. FULL
Snowcrest Mountain Snowcrest Range August 13 - 16 V.S. FULL
Trespass Creek Crazy Mountains August 26 - 29 S FULL
West Big Hole Beaverhead Mountains September 2 - 5 S FULL
Sluice Boxes State Park Little Belt Mountains September 9 - 12 S FULL
Tunnel Creek Great Bear Wilderness September 25 M YES
Adopt-A-Trail Crew Madison-Gallatin Chapter Recurring Days S YES

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

 

Covid Precautions

The health and safety of our volunteers is our top priority during the coronavirus pandemic. The outdoor setting of our VTC projects, coupled with extensive precautionary measures, give us confidence that we can host these outings safely. Please only sign up for a project if you understand that, despite our best precautions, there is nothing we can do to completely remove the risk of contracting the coronavirus. If you are a member of an at-risk population we would encourage you to stay home.

If you decide to sign up for a trip, please come prepared to comply with the following precautions:

  • If you have experienced symptoms of Covid-19 or been around someone that has in the weeks leading up to the project dates, we will be asking you to 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 unexpectantly reduce our crew size and out-of-state volunteers may not be allowed to participate. If a trip is canceled due to covid, your trip deposit will be refunded.
  • We will be practicing social distancing at all times. Fortunately, this is an easy thing to do when we’re outside on a trail.
  • Masks will be required when social distancing is not possible. This includes when we prepare food in the kitchen and are doing dishes.
  • We will be especially cautious with sharing items, including PPE. We will 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. Frequent handwashing is a must.

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

Volunteer Registration Information

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.

Cancellations

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. 

Waitlists 

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. 

More Information