Cozy Up, Learn a Backcountry Skill

This winter, join the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Foundation for a series of monthly free, online workshops to help wilderness enthusiasts enjoy (and care for) our snowy backyard wildlands. Each month, we’ll introduce another outdoors person in the Greater Yellowstone and dive into a topic of their choice, giving attendees access to the presenter’s passions and experience. Expect a combination of recorded videos from the field, live explanations and insights, and time for Q and A. See schedule below:


Date and TimePresenterTopicRegistration On Zoom
December 15, 6 PMAsano OtsuBackcountry Pizza! Enough One Pot Wonders… Let’s eat real food outside! View Recording
January 26, 6 PMDouglas ReynoldsAlpine Habitats and Plant Adaptations Across The Beartooth Plateau View Recording
February 23, 6 PMLee Watson Experiencing the A-B Wilderness in WinterView Recording
April 6, 6 PMTraute ParrieIt’s All Yours. And yours, and yours. The evolution of recreation on public lands over the last century, and Why We All Care.Register Here
May 11, 6PMMichael RichmondWhat Does the Global Climate Crisis Portend for Fire Seasons in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness?
Register Here

2021-2022 Webinar Descriptions

Backcountry Pizza! Enough One Pot Wonders… Let’s eat real food outside!

  • Backcountry Enthusiast Asano Otsu (owner of Everyday Foods) shares tips on how to cook simple and fun backcountry pizza on a camping stove.
  • Preparation is key – some simple tricks to eat well on your trips
  • No fancy equipment – Asano will be demonstrating on backpacking cookware and stove, everything you would take on your overnighter.

About Asano Otsu:

  • Born out of passion to create – Asano Otsu shares her life experiences through her creative original food. She came to Red Lodge as an Outward Bound instructor more than dozen years ago and has worked, served and thrived in our community ever since then.  Over the years, she wore many hats in the Outdoor Industry: educator, retail expert, technical specialist and safety auditor to name a few.  Nowadays you can find her slinging small batch Sourdough Breads with local retailers under the company she founded in winter of 2018, “Samurai Sue’s Everyday Foods.”

Alpine Habitats and Plant Adaptations Across The Beartooth Plateau

Driving above tree line across the Beartooth Highway, the tundra looks like a uniform, green carpet. On foot, however, it is a mosaic of plant communities, each adapted to different conditions, largely determined by snow accumulation and then water availability as the snow melts.

Let’s take a virtual walk from the windward side of a ridge, over the top, and down the lee side and describe the different plant adaptations that we see.

Doug Reynolds did his Ph. D. research on three rare plant species on the Beartooth Plateau. He then taught at several universities before starting a native plant nursery. Now retired, he volunteers for environmental groups and leads nature walks.

Experiencing the A-B Wilderness in Winter

Though most of the adventurers who use the AB Wilderness are summer people, wary of those occasional snow storms or cold fronts that can ruin a spring hike or an August camping trip, many locals and a few visitors thrive in such conditions. While thousands would rather ride the heated chairlift at Big Sky or retreat entirely to the tropics, some year round residents and a few hardy visitors relish the cold and quiet of winter as they shovel, plow, ski, snowshoe and ice climb into the snowy wilds of the winter wonderland. Whether for a job or an outdoor passion, dedicated winter users can be found throughout the A-B Wilderness. In this webinar, we take a glimpse into their worlds.

Living and working for the past 20 years at Snowy Range Ranch, nestled right into the western boundary of the AB Wilderness, Lee Watson is one of those people sharing what it is like to be lucky enough to have such an experience and introduces us to a few others like him who live, work and play in the snow. With almost 30 years of experience as a ski patroller at Bridger Bowl, Lee uses his avalanche education and snow experience to deal with the challenges of winter, deep into the mountains. He enjoys sharing that knowledge, teaching snow science for school field trips, training county search and rescue teams, or just meeting with random strangers, answering questions about local trail, and of course, snow conditions.

It’s All Yours. And yours, and yours. The evolution of recreation on public lands over the last century, and Why We All Care.

As you wander outside on your public lands, do you think about the ones who lived, worked, and played there before?  Some aspects of past forest uses, like tipi rings, lookout towers, trappers cabins, or mining headframes, survive as nostalgic reminders of a time when people in the woods were trying to make a life or a living there.  Now they’re the focus of heritage tourism. 

This all was wilderness once… and was viewed with various values – as something to be conquered, or as the source of everything necessary for life.  At some point, we got so concerned about its loss that we designated specific areas as Wilderness, thinking that would provide permanent protection.   

Change is a constant.  What trends have you noticed in outdoor recreation throughout your time playing or working outside?  Why do you go?  What delights you?  What concerns you?  And these days, do you think about how someone else is experiencing this place? 

Traute Parrie grew up playing with family in the mountains of SE Wyoming, and is so rooted in landscape that she was very lucky to be employed by the US Forest Service, first in her home ranges in Wyoming, and then on two different Montana National Forests.  The Forest Service she joined was a very traditional, male-dominated workforce.  Things are more complicated now, and Traute is looking forward to hearing what public lands mean to different people, and maybe finding places where those ideas converge. 

What Does the Global Climate Crisis Portend for Fire Seasons in the Absaroka/Beartooth Wilderness? 

We know that fire seasons throughout the Western US have become longer and more severe over the past several decades due to rising overall temperatures from the increasing concentrations of anthropogenic greenhouse gases. These produce longer late spring, summer and early fall heat waves and drought periods. In this presentation, we will describe the climate mechanisms that are producing these effects here (in the GYE/Northern Rockies) and in other wildfire-prone areas. We will pay special attention to Australia, the most fire-prone region on the globe. As during their catastrophic 2019-20 fire season, many records were broken, which serve as a warning to the rest of the World. We will also briefly examine what led to the surprisingly early and intense fire behavior seen on the Robertson Draw incident locally here last June, south of Red Lodge and will conclude with a brief fire potential outlook for this season in our and surrounding areas.

Michael Richmond has 33 years of operational weather forecasting experience with the National Weather Service, and the US Forest Service. In a variety of duty stations starting with Pendleton and Portland, OR. Followed by Missoula, MT, and then in Alaska, 1998-2014 (Juneau, Fairbanks, Anchorage). Ending in Missoula, where he was a Predictive Services meteorologist, providing weather support to the USFS Northern Rockies Coordination Center in support of their wildfire suppression and resource allocation operations, as well as conducting research and providing air quality forecasts in support of prescribed burning. For over 20 years he was a specially-trained NWS Incident Meteorologist, providing on-site forecasting services on larger wildfire incidents, and other emergency response operations. In addition to his meteorological studies, he has had graduate work in forestry from the Universities of Montana and Alaska.

Winter Webinar 2021 Recordings

Trip Visioning and Planning Using Free, Online Resources (Recorded Webinar 2-17-2021)

Science in the A-B (Recorded Webinar 3-24-2021)

Upcoming Stewardship Opportunities (Recorded Webinar 4-21-2021)