Lend a Hand on our Volunteer Trail Crew this Summer
Our Stewardship team has been preparing for another successful trail season. Volunteer registration begins on March 1.
On the Trail
Every winter, I have the privilege of planning our Volunteer Trail Crew projects for the upcoming summer. In advance of our March 1 project launch, I spend time pouring over maps, talking trail conditions with Forest Service personnel, and building excitement with our dedicated volunteer base. This process always helps me fight through the dark days of winter. Visions of long summer days enjoyed in the company of others keep me going for another round.
However, 2021’s winter days are undoubtedly harder than years past. Even with the good fortune of health during a pandemic, keeping my chin up can be a struggle. I imagine I’m not alone in looking toward summer for solace. So this year more than any other, I want to make sure I get the most out of our Volunteer Trail Crew projects. To that end, I’ve embraced a balanced diet and strict exercise regime and dedicated myself to fine-tuning my crew leader skills.
Don’t believe me? See it for yourself:
Goofing around is a bit of a specialty for the Volunteer Trail Crew, but we take pride in getting work done. Since 2012, we’ve spent nearly 40,000 hours building and maintaining trails across the state. Even with Covid shakeups last summer, we still managed to improve over 60 miles of trail.
This summer we’re jumping back in the ring. Our Volunteer Trail Crew will return to old haunts in the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness, along the Continental Divide Trail, and up the North Fork of the Blackfoot River. We’ll also venture to the East Pioneers, Snowcrest Range, and Pryor Mountains for our first-ever projects in those places. Additional highlights include projects in the Cabinets, Crazies, and the West Big Hole. Needless to say, we’re covering some serious ground in 2021.
And somewhere along the way, we’ll reach an exciting milestone – this summer our Volunteer Trail Crew will contribute another 3,000 hours to Montana’s trails, surpassing $1,000,000 of in-kind volunteer labor value since the program began!
As always, the health and safety of our volunteers will be our top priority on all these projects. To mitigate the risk presented by Covid-19, we’ll continue to practice social distancing, emphasize good hygiene at camp, and wear masks when circumstances call for it. Additionally, we'll be limiting the size of our crews this year.
Next time it feels like the one-two of Zoom fatigue and vitamin D deficiency is going to take you to the mat, remember that summer is right around the corner before you throw in the towel. Sign up for a Volunteer Trail Crew project to give yourself something to look forward to. We have trips all across the state, with projects ranging from one-day frontcountry outings to a week in the backcountry. Project work varies in difficulty, so you don’t have to be a prizefighter to join up. While raw egg breakfasts and Balboa-esque workout routines may help prepare you for a trip, they’re certainly not required.
Signups begin March 1 at wildmontana.org/vtc – make sure you register early to ensure no one beats you to the punch! Thanks for volunteering and I’m looking forward to seeing you on the trail.
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.