Structures Training

  • June 06, 2016
  • Posted by Ian Davidson

Since I came to Montana almost 5 years ago, I have spent a lot of time on trails around the state. Most of my time I focus on where I am heading, wildlife, plants, or conversation with the people; I almost never think about structures that are in the trail. After spending a week building one, I have a new appreciation for a part of the trail I overlooked before.

Once we got to the work site on the Tally Lake Ranger District we went straight to work.  I was with the group building the first of three retaining walls. I have done a fair bit of carpentry work, but building this wall was completely new to me. We spent the first day dropping trees, skinning trees, and digging a trench. The rest of the week was spent placing the logs, filling in the trench with crushed rock, and back filling with soil.

This was the most physically demanding week I have had since joining MCC. Between hauling logs up and down the trail and swinging a 20 pound sledge I was exhausted when we got back to our cabin each night. Even though I was exhausted I enjoyed being able to see our progress each day. I love working for MCC because with building structures, clearing trail, or retread I get to see the physical results of my work.

At the end of the week, all three groups finished their walls and they were buried under the trail. While most people who use that trail will never see or think of those walls helping to hold those switchbacks, I have gained a new appreciation for the structures on trails and the time and effort it takes to build them.


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