Bitterroot Volunteer Wilderness Projects clear trail for use

The Bitterroot National Forest has opened the hiking trail to Lappi Lake thanks to young out-of-state volunteers who learned to appreciate nature, see the rewards of hard work and value stewardship.

This week, volunteers from CatRock Ventures, a youth leadership development group from the Bronx, New York, experienced the beauty of a Montana forest, saw a night sky full of stars, and swam in a mountain lake as they cleared trail #324, a Bass Creek hiking trail unused since 2002.

This is the third time CatRock has volunteered with the Selway Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation in Montana. The SBFC partners with the Forest Service and relies on volunteers to assist with wilderness stewardship, including trail maintenance, tree-cutting, brushing, treading and wilderness monitoring.

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CatRock didn’t come in 2020 because of COVID or in 2021 due to fires.

SBFC crew leader Nicholas Capille said the eight days with the Bronx crew was an amazing experience.

“Getting these high schoolers outside and working hard teaches you to appreciate a trail that is clear and brush-free,” he said. “It is really good for them to enjoy the outdoors that they don’t have out their backdoor

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