Project Description: Volunteers will be working on improving the long neglected South Fork of Big Creek Trail in the beautiful Bitterroot Mountains of western Montana. Pack stock will carry the kitchen and other group gear to a great backcountry campsite where the crew will settle in for the week after a fairly flat 7-mile hike along Big Creek. The crew will clear over 300 downed trees from the 3-mile long trail to South Fork and Pearl Lakes using traditional wilderness tools, such as crosscut saws and double bit axes. The crew will then use hand tools such as pick mattocks and shovels to improve the trail tread passing through the magnificent high mountain valley .
Hosting Organization: Selway Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation
Day Hiking or Backpacking: Backpacking Up to 7 Miles to Basecamp (Day Hiking Up to 4 Miles Per Day)
Work Level: Strenuous
Minimum Age: 16
Area and Attractions: The Bitterroot Mountains of Western Montana run for hundreds of miles north and south, forming an imposing physical barrier between Montana and Idaho. These high, jagged peaks are home to robust populations of deer, elk, mountain lions, moose, grouse, pine martens, and wolves. The high mountain lakes and rushing streams teem with Westslope Cutthroat trout and other native fish species. The Big Creek drainage is framed by high rocky peaks such as Ranger Peak, the Heavenly Twins, and Sky Pilot. The glacial valley ends at Packbox Pass, once a popular overland route to the Selway River to the west in Idaho. There will be a day hike to Packbox Pass from Basecamp and a stop in the afternoon to swim and fish (don't forget your rod!) at Big Creek Lake.
Accommodations: Primitive Tent Sites
Accommodations Description: Volunteers will be staying in primitive tent sites large enough to comfortably fit all the SBFC staff and volunteers. SBFC will arrange for a mule packing services to haul kitchen equipment, food, tools, and group gear from the trailhead to the campsite. SBFC backcountry camps typically include group latrines, well stocked kitchens and a covered space for socializing and eating. Showers available at end of trip. Volunteers should bring their own tent, sleeping bag, pad, cup/bowl, eating utensils, and personal items.
Climate Information: Late July and early August in the Bitterroot Mountains feature warm days with cool clear nights. Occasional thunderstorms cool the afternoons but typically pass quickly. Keep in mind conditions can change rapidly in the mountains and snow is never out of season in Montana, pack accordingly.
Travel Information: Airport pickup provided from Missoula International Airport.
Maximum # of Volunteers: 10