Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area
August 22 - August 28
The Boulder River drains the geographic heart of Montana’s 944,000 acre Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area. A rugged dirt road that runs alongside it provides access to some of the wildest country in the entire wilderness, including the ghost town of Independence, the famed Lake Plateau, Silver Lake, and famous trout fishing. From our basecamp at Lake Kathleen, five miles up the E. Fork Trail, our group will do a wide variety of trailwork—improving and widening the existing trail, getting rid of invasive weeds clearing trees, and most of all cleaning and installing drainage structures (known as ‘waterbars’. We will use all manner of trail tools, such as Pulaskis, cross-cut saws, rakes, and loppers. In general the work can be anywhere from moderate to quite strenuous in nature. We will be working between 8000 and 9000 feet in elevation. Each morning we will hike out from our camp at Lake Kathleen a mile or more to work. There are a couple of significant creek crossings (below the knees) that must be managed each way to work. All tools and personal protective equipment will be provided by the ABWF and the Forest Service. The trip will be led by a Trail Crew leader provided by the ABWF. This person is trained in Wilderness Medicine (First Responder), Leave no Trace principles, and has extensive training and experience in trail building and maintenance. Their job is to facilitate a fun and safe volunteer experience for you. With your help, they will make sure meals are prepared and that you are well fed, and will teach you more about the local area, flora and fauna, and particularly about the Wilderness and issues facing our public lands. On every project, we also work alongside one or more Forest Service trail crew leaders who will help supervise the technical aspects of the work at hand. The ABWF & Forest Service will have emergency communication devices available. This is grizzly country, and while trip leaders will be equipped with canisters of bear repellent, volunteers may want to bring their own bear spray for protection.
This trip is hosted and crew led by the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Foundation.