Some might call Missoula, Montana unique, cool, or even hip. Others describe it as serene, welcoming, and rife with natural beauty. Whichever suits your tastes, it’s clear the area has been charming lifestyle pilgrims for decades. Nestled in the Northern Rockies of Montana, surrounded by seven wilderness areas and at the confluence of three rivers, Missoula is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. You can kayak, raft, or tube right through the city or take a relaxing hike in 60,000 acres of wilderness minutes from the heart of downtown. With the added bonus of the University of Montana, many alumni find themselves pursuing higher education after their term of service with MCC. Whether it’s recreation or education, MCCers will find everything they need in this vibrant town.
MCC’s Western Wildlands Region specializes in backcountry trail projects throughout Western Montana and North-Central Idaho. Members can elect to serve on a crew that spends their entire term in a wilderness area or work on a crew that is based in Missoula on a nine-day project. Both experiences have much to offer. Spending a field season in the third largest wilderness area in the lower 48 provides crews the ultimate backcountry experience. In the Selway-Bitterroot, you’ll find solitude and pristine landscapes, while developing camaraderie with your crew that only a wilderness experience can provide. All Western Wildlands crews work closely with US Forest Service technical advisors, and many go on to work with the agency’s trail crews after their MCC experience.
MCC’s Western Wildlands Region operates a number of natural resource based programs for various age groups. Our youth programing focuses on middle and high school aged Montana students. With opportunities to grow and learn within and around their community, Middle School Expeditions allow 12-14 year olds to work together on learning based service projects. Our High School Expedition generates opportunities for 14-17 year olds to develop work skills on front and backcountry projects. For those beyond high school, we have adult programs in field work and wildland restoration work. Our Field Crew program works with those 18 and older in a crew based environment, to help maintain our public lands for recreation and resource management. Our Wildland Restoration program also works with those 18 and older to manage invasive plant species across a vast network of landscapes. Our Leadership Development Program is offered to those 21 and older. This program works with participants to gain the skills and leadership needed to serve as crew leaders for our adult and youth programing.
Known for its relaxed atmosphere and friendly people, Missoula is a fun college town that has much to offer in the way of culture; music, festivals and outdoor markets abound throughout the late spring and summer months. Missoulians, as they’re known around the state, are a diverse group of families, recreationists, students, and academics alike. Many national conservation nonprofits are headquartered in the city, which lends to the community’s strong environmental ethic. The varied interests of the residents create countless volunteer opportunities that allow any newcomer a chance to immerse themselves and play an active role in the city.
OUR PUBLIC LANDS
Missoula is an active city in the community that abuts a national forest, boasts numerous recreation areas, and has three rivers that meander in and around town. In terms of trails, it’s an area that is hard to beat. The Rattlesnake National Recreation Area & Wilderness Area provides ample outdoor enjoyment to hikers, cyclists, and climbers alike. As you venture out from the city, the access to public lands only increases! The largest wilderness area in the lower 48, the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex, can be accessed by car in just a few hours. The same can be said of the breathtaking vistas in Glacier National Park. Getting outdoors in Missoula is easy. Deciding what to do may prove a bit more challenging.