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FSPW volunteers clear more than 66 miles of trail

by DERRICK PERKINS
Daily Inter Lake | November 9, 2021 7:00 AM

Volunteers with the Friends of the Scotchman Peaks Wilderness (FSPW) cleared more than 66 miles of trail in Lincoln and Sanders counties this year, organization officials say.

“As more people move to the region, our most beloved and remote destinations — the Scotchman Peaks, Cabinet Mountain Wilderness and the Cube Iron Cataracts — are increasingly bustling,” FSPW officials said in a press release. “The love for our local public land is growing quickly. However, funding for trail maintenance and public education is not growing quickly.”

The crew of volunteer trail stewards, organized each year by FSPW, cleared more than 126 trees, built water bars and pruned overgrown plants. Many are amateurs when it comes to trail maintenance, group officials said, and worked without the help of power tools or heavy equipment.

Simultaneously, volunteer trail ambassadors spoke with more than 1,258 hikers in the Scotchman Peak area, discussing how best not to disturb animals, stay safe and avoid accidents while exploring the proposed wilderness area.

“I like helping keep the trails open, accessible and more inviting, for people I don't even know,” said Greg Dugdale, a FSPW volunteer, in a statement. “Hopefully [they] can find the same enjoyment and peace I feel, when out hiking in the wilderness.”

Officials estimate that, in all, volunteers spent more than 1,694 hours working in the proposed wilderness area.

“Some of our region’s most beautiful landscapes would be barely navigable without the work of FSPW’s volunteers,” said Carolyn Knaack, trail volunteer, in a statement. “Their work increases recreational opportunities while also protecting our shared lands. Those are services that are invaluable to our rapidly-growing community.”

Those interested in volunteering with FSPW can visit www.scotchmanpeaks.org/get-involved/ for more information.