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Field Program

[Image Description: Two MCC members taking a brief break; one is sitting on a rock, the other is standing nearby. They are both in their uniforms, looking out at the expansive, mountain view surrounding them.]

MCC Forestry Crew 8 Now Trails Crew?

A crew hiking down a trail

With a high demand for trail work in the Flathead, Forestry Crew 8 has been converted into a trail crew to meet each ranger station’s needs. This hitch, that consisted of repairing Trail No. 18 up to Thoma Fire Lookout just south of the Canadian border. This was Crew 8’s third trail hitch and our recent experience showed through the hard work we put in and the finished product we produced.

The highlights of this hitch included working with many MCCers outside of our crew, learning how to crosscut, and restoring 2.5 miles of trail. Led by interim leader Margaret Judge, we were able to make swift progress. The work we accomplished will be extremely helpful to recreators and those running Thoma Lookout. Because of our work, pack animals will now be able to make trips to the lookout providing it with the necessary supplies to function. Before our crew went through, trail 18 was covered in thick Alder, Huckleberry, and Bear Grass. Additionally, it was eroded in many places and was even covered in fallen logs. Margaret’s previous trail experience was very helpful in navigating these obstacles.

We were joined by Forestry FC Elle Hollingsworth and new Regional Director Gavin Wisdom early in our hitch. They assisted us with our trail work and taught our crew how to crosscut. Given the stage 2 fire ban in Northwest Montana, we were unable to use chainsaws to clear the trail of fallen logs, so crosscuts were a necessity. It was very fulfilling to learn a new forestry practice, especially with a new member of the MCC family. Additionally, our Senior Crew Lead Francie Hammer came out near the end of hitch brightening up the mood as always. It is always nice having outsiders from our crew join us on hitches because they help teach things we didn’t know before and generally just make the whole experience much more fun.

While this hitch did have its bumps, it was all in all very rewarding. I now firmly believe that Forestry Crew 8 has the capability of tackling anything thrown at it, whether that is forestry, trail work, or maybe even wilderness restoration in the future. Who knows!