The ABWF is beginning this educational program in the summer of 2017 to address the extreme impacts starting to be seen at some of our most popular backcountry sites in the A-B Wilderness.
You may know some of these places which are being “loved to death”– the ever popular Cooke City to East Rosebud route (the so-called “Beaten Path”); the trail to Pine Creek Falls and Lake; the heavily-impacted area around Mystic Lake; the busy Froze-to-Death alpine route up to Granite Peak; and the uber-popular Lake Fork trail.
These critically impacted destinations are places where wilderness users beat down user trails and campsites, and build massive fires far too close to lakeshores. They are places where human waste doesn’t get buried properly, and used toilet paper gets left for others to have to pack out. They are campsites that breed bear problems and safety concerns because users don’t hang their food away from critters. They are day trails where dogs have pooped everywhere.
In an effort to curb these impacts that threaten the pristine qualities of the A-B Wilderness, the ABWF is spearheading our own “Trail Ambassadors” Program. The goal is to place volunteers and ABWF staff at busy trailheads to offer information, advice and reminders about how to minimize everyone’s impacts on the backcountry.
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.
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.