The Central Divide Region is based in Helena, the capital of Montana at the front range of the Rocky Mountains. Our city is nestled between Mount Helena and Mount Ascension, both city parks boasting a combined 80 miles of trail just a moment’s walk from the city’s charming historic downtown. Zooming out, Helena is conveniently located halfway between Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks as well as Montana’s larger cities. Helena is within reach of high plains, great rivers and rugged mountains just as wild as when the Lewis and Clark expedition passed through the area more than 200 years ago. In Montana, where the mountains meet the plains, you’ll find “the Queen City of the Rockies.”
The Central Divide Region does a variety of projects as near as the mountains within Helena city limits and as far away as North Dakota’s Theodore Roosevelt National Park. At any point in the season a crew will be in the Scapegoat Wilderness opening trails with crosscuts and axes, while another is in the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument building fences. At the same time, a crew is working to repair trails in the backcountry of Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountain Range while another is in the sage plains of Eastern Montana maintaining habitat for the endangered sage grouse. Crews work with a variety of project partners including Forest Service, Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Department of Natural Resources, Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, Prickly Pear Land Trust, City of Helena, and any number of other non-profits. Corps members often find future career opportunities with our project partners during their season with MCC. Central Divide truly provides its crews a taste of all Montana and its neighbors have to offer.
MCC’s Central Divide Region operates a number of programs for various age groups. All of our programs function in a crew based environment that focus to help maintain our public lands for recreation and resource. Our youth programing focuses on providing 14-17 year olds an opportunity to develop working skills on various conservation projects for a month at a time. For those beyond high school, we have opportunities in our Field and Veteran Green Corps Programs. Our Field Crew program works with those 18 and older completing conservation projects across Montana and its neighboring states. Our Veteran Green Corps Program is available for post 9/11 veterans which focuses more on job skills development in fuels reduction and wildland firefighting. All of our crew based programs are guided on the ground by Leaders that complete our Leadership Development Program in the spring. Youth, Field, and Veteran Green Corps Crew Leader positions are available to those 21 and older.
Helena is a city whose citizens have their priorities straight. With two mountains as city parks, residents spend much of their time on the trails, ridges, and peaks overlooking the city. The local Prickly Pear Land Trust is committed to keeping these unique community spaces accessible and coordinate those same community trail users as volunteers to maintain and build new trails. Though hiking and trail-running are popular, Helena is the only city in the state recognized as a Silver Status Mountain Biking Ride Center by the International Mountain Biking Association. The city first boomed as a gold rush community and the wealth of this time can still be seen in the historic buildings of Helena’s downtown and neighborhoods. The Central Divide regional office is housed in one of these historic buildings in the neighborhood called the 6th Ward. Now as the capital, Helena is an important city with a vibrant cultural life and a true-to-Montana, small town feel.
OUR PUBLIC LANDS
A big draw to the area is the proximity to nearly every type of recreation that the state has to offer. Beyond the city’s own city parks are the variety of landscapes found in Helena National Forest. Boasting nearly one hundred thousand acres of ecosystem spanning from rugged mountain Wilderness to arid lowlands and sagebrush, in the national forest you may run into a grizzly on a Wilderness trail, watch a bald eagle scan a winding river for trout, or witness a herd of bighorn sheep scale a sheer mountain face. Just north of the city many residents go to the Great Divide Ski Area in the winter or flyfish in the blue-ribbon stretch of the Missouri River in the summer. If you can’t find the activity you’re looking for in Helena itself, you won’t have to go far.