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Feb 28 2020

Join our Volunteer Trail Crew this Summer

Registration for 2020 trail projects opens March 1

Get outside. Break a sweat. Do some good.

Join MWA’s Volunteer Trail Crew this summer and help us carry on a proud legacy of trail stewardship across Montana.

2019 marked our eighth season of trail stewardship, and it produced the largest annual accomplishment numbers to date: 269 volunteers from across the country improved 63 miles of trail and contributed $133,000 in volunteer labor. Our work took us to the Continental Divide and beyond, with 22 stewardship projects in the Lee Metcalf Wilderness, Gallatin Range, Badger-Two Medicine, and other iconic Montana landscapes. 

MWA volunteers broke ground alongside the mountain bikers and equestrians of the Montana High Divide Trails Partnership on a trail reroute project near Kading Campground outside of Helena. We maintained a well-used hiker and angler’s trail in Sluice Boxes State Park, which was our first-ever project in a Montana state park. 

Checking off new projects and piling up big numbers reflect well on our efforts to chip away at the mountainous backlog of deferred maintenance needs on our public lands. But equally important are the meaningful minutes that comprise each of those 5,500 total volunteer hours, and the relationships we build with volunteers and land managers along the way.

This year, volunteers can choose from 12 Volunteer Trail Crew projects across the state, from the Pryor Mountains to the Cabinet Mountains. Five projects are along the Continental Divide Trail, where our stewardship program began back in 2012. We’ll be doing two week-long backcountry projects in the Anaconda Pintler Wilderness with pack support provided by the Bitter Root Chapter of the Back Country Horsemen.

2020 trail season highlights

Weekend Projects - Of our 12 Volunteer Trail Crew projects this year, 10 are weekend projects, perfect for those who can’t spend a whole week on the trail. Spend three to four days working in the Pryors, Cabinet Mountains, Lincoln Valley, Crazy Mountains and more. 

Chapter-based Stewardship - This summer, our Southwestern Wildlands, Madison-Gallatin, and Shining Mountains chapters are all taking the initiative to help protect their local public lands. All three chapters are offering a variety of one-day outings, including trail workdays, noxious weed mitigation, trailhead education, monitoring, and more. These outings are a great way to spend a day helping out right in your own backyard. Read about what our local chapters have in store in our member-exclusive Discover Wild Montana trail book coming out mid-April (want the book? Become a $40+ member today).

Youth Engagement - As we’ve done in the past, we’re partnering with Salish Kootenai College, Montana Conservation Corps’ Piikani Land Crew, and Montana Youth Challenge Academy to engage youth in meaningful conservation service to Montana’s public lands.

  • Salish Kootenai College’s Upward Bound program is designed to provide low-income, first-generation high school students with the skills and motivation necessary for success in post-secondary education.
     
  • The Piikani Land Crew brings together a unique and dedicated partnership of nonprofit organizations, tribal institutions, and federal agencies: Blackfeet Nation, Montana Conservation Corps (lead organization), U.S. Forest Service, U.S. National Park Service, The Nature Conservancy and Glacier National Park Conservancy.
     
  • Montana Youth Challenge Academy assists at-risk Montana youth in developing the skills and abilities necessary to become productive citizens by focusing on their physical, emotional, and educational needs.  

And the best news of all: registration officially opens for our 2020 projects on March 1. Sign up for our Volunteer Trail Crew as a crew member, camp cook or photographer to help keep Montana’s public lands accessible for years to come – but don’t wait too long because projects fill up quickly. 

To put your name down for a project, head over to wildmontana.org/vtc on March 1.

See you on the trail!

 
Sonny Mazzullo
Stewardship Coordinator

Sonny mobilizes MWA's world-class trail volunteers and organizes our trail stewardship volunteer projects. He spends his time outdoors fishing, hiking, skiing, and biking.
Email Sonny