Those trails in the Bitterroot National Forest can become blocked by falling trees and just general growth of nearby shrubs, along with water damage. The Bitterroot Back Country Horsemen mount a major effort each summer to clear some of those wilderness paths so that people, whether they are walking, riding a horse, mule or bicycle, can get into the far reaches of the forest and into the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness area, too.

July this year is their main work month, which has already started. Tod McKay of the Bitterroot National Forest reports the volunteers are at the East Fork Guard Station on the Sula Ranger District from now through Monday. From there they will be doing "general trail maintenance" - which includes clearing blown down trees, and cutting brush along the trail. They'll be clearing the trail to Kelly and Ripple Lakes.

Next weekend, July 9 to 11, the volunteer crew will be on the Blodgett Creek Trail #19. They're planning a two-night stay at 7-Mile Meadow, and the work will take them to Trail Junction. And then, July 17th, a one-day job at the popular Coyote Coulee traiil south of Hamilton on the Darby Ranger District. Besides clearing downfall and cutting brush, they'll be improving water bars to help prevent erosion of the trail. They will tackle both the upper and lower loops of Coyote Coulee.

The group has been doing this for over 40 years and they personally work for about 600 hours each season and over 400 stock hours, working in partnership with the Bitterroot National Forest. Many thanks from all of us to a dedicated group.

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