Building the Turnpike Lake Otatsy <p>Dirt</p>

Building Turnpikes at Lake Otatsy

  • July 31, 2019
  • Posted by Marty Corette

This hitch took us back up to Lake Otatsy for continued work on several burned out turnpikes. The hitch began with a beautiful hike on a trail lined with ripe huckleberries before reaching Lake Otatsy, which is nestled high in the mountains and offers a nice reprieve from the Rice Ridge burn that rolled through the area in 2017. With all hands on deck for this project, we got the opportunity to work alongside all of the forest service and BMWF workers in the Seeley Lake Ranger District. It has been really awesome to learn from and work with folks that have many years of combined experience. Building turnpikes combines several different skills including dropping and skinning trees, digging trenches and drains, locating sufficient fill materials, and placing culverts in specific locations to divert water away from the trail. With over 300 feet of turnpikes to build or repair, we were able to get a lot of practice in all of these areas. Working to fill the turnpikes we spent many hours in “The Pit” (our affectionate name for our gravel and dirt sources), and just as many hours hauling buckets to and from the turnpikes. Getting to spend so much time in close proximity allowed us to become closer as a team as inside jokes, nicknames, and even exhaustion-induced dancing were a daily occurrence. It was gratifying to see the result of so much hardwork and knowing that we are making long-neglected trails accessible for stock, hunters, and recreators.


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