Pulaskis for Ploughshares

  • February 26, 2019
  • Posted by Lloyd Farley

Part of the wonder of working in the Bob Marshall Wilderness is the intimate relationship that we court with the material history of public lands management. The use of historic tools, such as the crosscut, and living out of historic makes this connection evident. Witnessing this relationship to the past unveils the whole drama that was the early days of the U.S. Forest Service.

This historical drama is wrapped up in the artifacts, the historic tools, that we come to rely on. One of these artifacts is the trail plow and my crew was lucky enough to use it to dig a whole mess of tread. With the help of a ranger and a mule, we retreaded large sections of out-slopped trail that had become a bit precarious for stock traffic. The trail plow proved to be incredibly effective and a solid reminder that management of Wilderness Areas necessitates the use of tools that have lost their province in the world of trail work over time. However, in this Wilderness setting, modern conveniences are not so convenient and history remains as a great teacher.


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