We thrive on the good work of volunteers. We believe that getting volunteers like you actively involved in your wild lands connects you in a deeper, more lasting way. And makes all of us better stewards of precious places like the Absaroka-Beartooths!

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2019 Volunteer Opportunities

We have a lot of new projects to choose from in 2019! Read below.

Our 2019 Guide to Volunteer Projects

Here are 5 reasons you should join us on one of our trips…

  1. Tangible results. You will know that you accomplished something at the end of the day!
  2. Safety and Fun in numbers. Many people who love the outdoors might still be intimidated to spend more than a day out for fear of foul weather, getting lost, or maybe grizzly bears. Participate in our group trips and set those fears aside, learn new skills, and get to know new people.
  3. FREE! Adventures like this for FREE? That’s right! We provide the food on all multi-day trips. All you do is meet us, provide your own camping gear, and we handle the rest. We’ll even coordinate car-pooling when possible.
  4. Experiences for all abilities. Our trips vary in difficulty. We offer easier day-projects and citizen science projects, as well as multi-day trips which can be physically quite strenuous! BUT fear not… Every project has tasks that engage all abilities. With everyone’s help we get a lot done!
  5. We make it easy! We have horses pack in all our tools, food—even sleeping bags and tents! You hike in with a much lighter pack. Even if you are not a backpacker or capable of carrying a lot, these trips can still be great ways to see the backcountry and build your wilderness skills.

We work hard to accommodate anyone who wishes to volunteer. Groups are welcome as well as families. The work tends to be best suited for teens or older—people who can be fairly self-sufficient hikers/campers. Younger kids are welcome on day-long trips. You will be required to sign a volunteer agreement to ensure you are acting on behalf of the Forest Service. If you have any questions, contact us!

These projects are currently open for sign-up!:

Trail Ambassadors--Alpine/East Rosebud TH
Jun 1, 2019 – Sep 30, 2019

Sign up here if you wish to serve as a Trail Ambassador for the E. Rosebud TH and the end/start of the popular "Beaten Path" hike up to Rainbow, Dewey, and Fossil Lakes.

To pick up the tub and table, drive to the end of the E. Rosebud Road from the little town of Roscoe. At the little cabin community of Alpine, there's a fork in the road. Going left takes you to the Forest Service Trailhead. First, though, Go straight aheadDrive ahead the cabins and to the Lodge at the E. Rosebud Lake Association community of Alpine. It's right next to the little general store. The Lodge is only closed at night, so you should be able to access the table and tub during working volunteer hours.

Sign up!

Trail Ambassadors--Cooke City/Clark's Fork TH
Jun 1, 2019 – Sep 30, 2019

Please sign up here if you want to serve as a Trail Ambassador at the Clark's Fork Trailhead--the traditional start of the hike known as "The Beaten Path" from Cooke City to the E. Rosebud.

The Table and Tub of materials for Trail Ambassadors is at the Forest Service's administrative cabin which is on the south side of Highway 212 about 1.5 miles east of Cooke City. Look for a kind of obscure dirt road that is almost exactly across the highway from the entrance to Colter Campground. There's a sign that says "Administrative Use Only." Turn on this road, and just a few hundred feet from the highway is a modern building that serves as staff housing and a small office for the Forest Service. It's also where the Campground hosts have a little base of operation.

Sign up!

Trail Ambassadors--Gardiner/Knox Lake TH
Jun 1, 2019 – Sep 30, 2019

Sign up here if you wish to serve as a Trail Ambassador for the Knox Lake/Fish Lake Trail System.

To pick up the tub and table, go to the Gardiner District Ranger Station at 805 Scott Street (which is the main street through the town of Gardiner), north of the bridge over the Yellowstone River. The Ranger Station is open from 8 am till 4:30 pm. M-F. The FS is closed Sat/Sun, but you can call 406-848-7375 and have someone set the table and tub outside on the back porch of the ranger station, if you need it on Sat/Sun.

Sign up!

Trail Ambassadors--Livingston/Pine Creek TH
Jun 1, 2019 – Sep 30, 2019

Sign up here if you wish to serve at one of the busy trailheads around Livingston. We are focusing most on the Pine Creek Trail which is perhaps the most heavily used trail in the entire A-B Wilderness.

The Yellowstone Ranger District Ranger Station is approx. 1/2 mile south of Interstate 90 on the east side of Highway 89. It's kind of hidden by a bank of evergreen trees, but you'll see the Smokey the Bear sign. Office hours are 8-4:30 M-F; closed on weekends. You can call the FS at 406-222-1892 and arrange for the tub and table to be left outside for you if you plan to volunteer on the weekend.

Sign up!

Trail Ambassadors--Red Lodge/Lake Fork/West Fork THs
Jun 1, 2019 – Sep 30, 2019

Sign up here if you wish to serve as a Trail Ambassador for the Lake Fork or the West Fork Trailheads.

To pick up the tub and table, go to the Beartooth District Ranger Station at 6811 S. Highway 212. The Ranger Station is on the south end of town just as the town of Red Lodge ends and the Beartooth Highway begins and is open from 8 am till 4:30 pm. M-F. The FS is closed Sat/Sun, but you can call 406-446-2103 and have someone set the table and tub outside on the back porch of the ranger station, if you need it on Sat/Sun.

Sign up!

High School Volunteers--West Boulder Trail Clearing & Campout
Aug 2, 2019 – Aug 4, 2019

A great chance for a younger group of volunteers to get outside and hike, camp out, and do some cool service work that benefits the trail system in the A-B Wilderness. Open to anyone 15 to 18 years of age who is interested in helping saw out and clear a really beautiful section of trail along the W. Boulder River, southeast of Livingston (southwest of Big Timber). We will backpack into the Wilderness approximately six miles on Friday, set up camp, and then spend two days clearing this popular trail.

After a fire some years ago, the lodgepole pines have grown in by the thousands, constricting the trail. We will cut the smaller ones out with handsaws and team up to tackle the bigger ones that have fallen across the trail with crosscut saws.

The West Boulder Trail is relatively level all the way to the camp, so it's an easy backpack in. We welcome anyone of high school age who is interested in learning trail skills and who wants to go on a fun trip in a beautiful area!

Group of High School kids Backpacking up the W. Boulder (by D. Kallenbach)

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Cooke City Historic Cabin and The Beaten Path Project
Aug 8, 2019 – Aug 12, 2019

Stay in the historic Cooke City cabin!!! Have a fantastic breakfast in the morning, then go to work each day a few miles up the famed "Beaten Path" trail (from Cooke City over the Beartooths to the East Rosebud Wild and Scenic corridor). You will make a big difference working on one of the most well-loved trails in the A-B Wilderness!

We will work on adding drainage structures and building framed, raised trail on a few stretches of the Beaten Path trail near pretty Kersey Lake. The altitude is around 7,500 feet. Constructing turnpike and adding drainage structures makes this a fairly strenuous trip. Return to the cabin at night for nice dinners and conversation around the campfire.

Because we start out each day at the Chief Joseph/Clark’s Fork Trailhead, if you can't join for for all five days, you CAN join us for whatever portion of this trip you're available. Just make sure you are ready to hit the trailhead at 8 am! Our trips are FREE! We'll feed you well.

The historic Forest Service cabin sleeps six people, but we can handle more volunteers for those willing to camp in their own hard-sided camper or trucks. Tent camping is not allowed in this area. Bunks are first-come, first-served.

Improving the trail along the famed Beaten Path trail

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Thompson Lake Trail Reconstruction
Sep 6, 2019 – Sep 8, 2019

As many of you know, the trail to Thompson Lake is quite muddy in stretches. The turnpikes on the Thompson Lake trail are in need of some love! We will reinforce the existing structures, revitalize failing drains, and install new ones as needed and hopefully mitigate some of the perennial mud!

This is a 3-day, 2-night project with a backcountry camp established at Thompson Lake. Thompson Lake is 5 miles and 1600 feet from the trailhead. Again, we will hand off our heavy gear to the Backcountry Horsemen, so volunteers will only need to carry a light daypack. As always, scrumptious meals are provided for you.

Thompson Lake (by Jamie Clouatre)

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Trail Enhancement at Mystic Lake
Sep 12, 2019 – Sep 16, 2019

Join us for a week of brushing and drainage maintenance at one of the most popular spots in the Beartooths--stunningly beautiful Mystic Lake! We'll be working on widening and improving the trail tread on the way to Mystic.

This is one of our more moderate trail projects. All trail work is strenuous, but this one should appeal to those who’d like a slightly less physical project. We will hand off our heaviest gear to the Forest Service packer, so volunteers will only need to carry a light daypack! As always, delicious meals are provided.

Looking downvalley at Island Lake with Star Lake in the foreground (by Devon Hildreth)

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