Spotted Bear Ranger District Fuels Crew

  • August 08, 2017
  • Posted by Andrew Parkman

  My MCC crew just got back from our second hitch in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. For nine days, we hiked up and down steep slopes and through dense forests to get to our objective. We were tasked with continuing to cut the fuel break we had started the previous hitch on Horse Ridge in the Spotted Bear Ranger District. The purpose of the fuel break is to give the controlled burn the Forest Service has planned for next fall a boundary.

  Work consisted of cutting down fallen trees and smaller standing trees existing twenty feet from the right side of the line and then removing the wood and foliage from that twenty foot area. The line was created by orange flags that the Forest Service tied up on trees. At the beginning of our first hitch, we were at the bottom of the ridge. We have strived to quickly make progress and are now at the very top, two miles up. Heat was an issue so we were sure to each bring at least six liters of water a day.

  After work, we had the option to wade in the South Fork of the Flathead River by the Ranger Station. The water was so cold and very inviting after the long days of chain-sawing and swamping in soaring temperatures. At night we took turns cooking dinner, prepared for the next day, read our books, tried to get some extra sleep, or got lost in hilarious conversations and stories. After we dispersed to our tents, deer and elk would run into the campground to sniff around and graze. We also had crew evaluations for each member and leader, learning our strengths and weaknesses.

  The chainsaws proved frustrating and the work was physically grueling, but our crew is doing something difficult and I think we are persevering and excelling. The Bob Marshall and the views it provides also provide a work environment like no other. We grow closer as a crew and continue to streamline our work. I know personally this has been one of the best summers of my life!


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