It's hard to believe that 2020 is coming to a close. With a less than normal start to the field season due to Covid-19, Great Burn summer stewardship crews were able to complete a remarkable amount of work. Our field crews deserve an enormous round of applause- not only did they complete important stewardship work in the Great Burn and surrounding roadless areas, but they are all passionate conservationists who deeply care about wild places.
(Hard) Hats off to you, 2020 field crew!!
Sarah and Dan were part of the GBCA/Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest integrated trail crew. They logged and brushed 26 miles of trail, built 1477 cu ft of retaining wall (that's enough to fill a 20' shipping container plus some!) cleaned 144 drains, and completed 1620' of tread improvement throughout the North Fork Ranger District.
KELLY CREEK NOXIOUS WEED CREW
Every summer the weed crew is packed deep into the Great Burn backcountry to treat weeds throughout the Kelly Creek drainage. This year, Zack and Chris directly spot treated 13.5 acres, completed inventory on over 350 acres, released 1,000 knapweed biocontrols, and hand pulled over 100 pounds of weeds.
Backcountry ranger Rory O'Connor is in his 13th season with GBCA. Rory serves as the eyes and ears on the ground, and covered roughly 275 miles of backcountry trails this season. He also maintained 12 campsites, naturalized 20, checked for correct signage, and packed out 73 pounds of trash.
STATELINE CAMPSITE INVENTORY
Every summer GBCA crews visit backcountry lakes along the stateline trail, monitoring, maintaining, and naturalizing human impacts to the land. In 2020, GBCA stateline crew members Jory, Claire, Trevor, and Emily surveyed 15 lakes, maintained 58 backcountry campsites, naturalized 20, and packed out 21 pounds of trash.
We can't wait to get back out there in 2021!
Summer is flying by, and the GBCA Stewardship team is already more than half way through the field season! Despite the challenges of COVID, GBCA was able to hire 10 seasonal employees who have been working diligently to keep the Great Burn wild.
To date we have:
And summer is not over yet!
Photo cred: (Clockwise) C Prange, R O'Connor, S Wood, B Lindler
Volunteer Stewardship Projects- Sign Up Today!
Every year, volunteers contribute hundreds of hours protecting, studying, and restoring resources in the Great Burn through activities such as:
View our full list of volunteer opportunities here.
GBCA is excited to announce Skye Borden as the new Development and Advocacy Director. Skye has over ten years of experience working in rural communities to promote land and water conservation.
She can be reached at Skye@greatburn.org.
The GBCA trails crew had a (very rainy!) hitch at Cayuse Creek from June 9-16. Fly-fishermen will be happy to hear that they re-established tread on a side trail to the shore of Kelly Creek that hadn't been maintained in years.
Overall hitch work totals included:
The Great Burn Conservation Alliance has watched with heartbreak and horror as the realities of systemic racism expose the violence, pain and anguish that so many communities of black, indigenous and people of color face in their everyday lives. Over the past two weeks, we have listened intently, respectfully and humbly as these communities have made it abundantly clear to all of us how widespread racism and inequality are within our society. They also have reminded us of the long history of racism and inequity within the conservation movement that has traditionally protected public lands for the enjoyment of people who are predominately wealthy, privileged and white.
We recognize that the Great Burn, named and delineated by white people, is part of the ancestral lands of the Salish and Nez Perce people who lived, hunted and fished them for millennia until they were coerced or forcibly removed onto reservations. We recognize that though these lands are public and everyone can hike their trails, horse pack to their lakes, and fish their creeks, they are not equally accessible to black, indigenous and people of color communities due to the systemic inequities in our economic, political and social systems.
Right now, we feel compelled to make a statement of support for the black, indigenous and people of color communities. We envision a time that the gems of our public lands like the Great Burn are welcoming and can be visited without fear of judgment, harassment or violence. This cannot be achieved unless we listen and learn about how black, indigenous and people of color communities have been excluded from the Great Burn and do our part to make it a special, safe and renewing place of wildness and solitude for all.
The GBCA Board of Directors
A huge THANK YOU to everyone who participated in Missoula Gives! We sure do feel lucky to be part of such an amazing community, and can't get wait to get out into the backcountry this summer.
Make sure to check out our summer trip offerings and grab a new map of the Great Burn!
Just because we are keeping a distance doesn’t mean we can’t stay connected to nature. We need trails to quiet places for solitude and the mental health benefits provided by being in nature.
PLEASE consider donating today to help protect the Great Burn; to protect the clean free-flowing rivers that support great fisheries; and to protect important wildlife habitat that provides connectivity to the north and south.
If you’re not currently in a position to give, you can still help us out by sharing the link to our giving page, encouraging others to follow us on social media, and telling your friends what the Great Burn means to you!
Visit this page to donate today!
For more than 40 years, GBCA has been working with the Forest Service and partners to ensure that a wild Great Burn persists into the future. But we can’t do it without you.
The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest is currently seeking public comment on its proposed forest plan, which determines how places like the Great Burn will be managed for decades to come. As proposed, the plan reduces recommended wilderness and poses a risk to wildlife like mountain goats, wolverine and fisher.
The public comment period for the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest closes on April 20th. Use this handy tip sheet from our friends at Montana Wilderness Association to inform your comment.
Comment today to support a wild Great Burn.