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The ABWF and the Custer Gallatin National Forest began this educational program that promotes minimizing impacts & Leave No Trace ethics in 2017 to address the severe impacts being seen more and more at popular backcountry sites in the A-B Wilderness.

You may know some of these places being “loved to death”– the ever popular Cooke City to East Rosebud route (the so-called “Beaten Path”); the busy trail to Pine Creek Falls and Lake; the heavily-impacted area around Mystic Lake; the fragile Froze-to-Death route up to Granite Peak…

In an effort to curb these impacts, the ABWF is seeking volunteers to our “Trail Ambassadors” Program. You’d be stationed at a busy trailhead or encouraged to hike the first few miles of trail in order to make contact with visitors and offer them information, advice and reminders about how to minimize their impacts on the backcountry of the A-B.

A hiker talks with a Trail Ambassador & grab some dog bags at the Lake Fork trailhead.

There are places where wilderness users have beaten down user trails and campsites, or built massive campfire rings far too close to lakeshores. Places where human waste doesn’t get buried properly, and used toilet paper gets left for others to pack out. Campsites that invite critter problems and safety concerns because users don’t hang their food away from wildlife. Day-trails where dogs have left poop everywhere.

© by Shannon Rebinski

With our presence at trailheads and on trail, we plan to provide:

  • information, maps, and conditions about your trip into the backcountry
  • reminders of best-practices such as carrying bear-spray, water purification, proper etiquette around horse users, etc.
  • Trowels and baggies to bury your and your dog’s poop and pack out your toilet paper
  • Cord/rope with which to hang your food in case you forgot it
  • Waste decomposition bags (‘Wag-Bags’ from CleanWaste Technologies) if you plan on going into alpine areas where it is difficult to dig cat-holes.
  • current data and trends about how many & what type of users are using our wilderness trails.

We are doing this so that our future generations are able to experience protected Wilderness in its most primeval condition, the same way as we and our grandparents have found it. Better preservation comes through better education.

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We thank our partners in our Trail Ambassadors program:

  • CleanWaste Technologies of Belgrade; for providing us with waste disposal bags.
  • Sylvan Peak Enterprises of Red Lodge; for providing P-cord and trowels to hand out.
  • and Timber Trails of Livingston; for providing P-cord and trowels to hand out.