Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation: Helping raise the next generation of wilderness stewards

Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation - Youth Volunteers

The Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation provides conservation and stewardship of one of the world’s most spectacular places,  Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex.

Each year the foundation engages hundreds of hard-working volunteers, including youth, in projects that clear trails, restore heavily used areas, maintain historic structures, and fight noxious weeds. Volunteers participate in extended backcountry trips that give back to the wilderness and for some it is a life changing experience. Since its incorporation in 1997 the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation (BMWF) and its volunteers have cleared 4,476 miles of trail and treated 100’s of acres of invasive weeds. The value of this contributed labor is $350,000 annually.
One of the most important aspects of BMWF’s work is to raise the next generation of wilderness stewards. Our youth and youth-at-risk group volunteer projects teach practical lessons in backcountry travel and safety, instill a work ethic and an appreciation for wilderness.  Many Whitefish youth have benefited from participating in trail projects and have found a focus that has directed their future careers.
Last year the Whitefish Community Foundation helped make possible a project trip for the Whitefish Boy Scout Troop #17 with a grant from the Community Grants Fund of the Whitefish Community Foundation.

Here is a comment from that trip: “Our Scouts benefited in all the ways we had hoped and have come to expect from BMWF. The trips we have taken have been well received by all of our Scouts and we’re sure that they will remember them as positive experiences throughout their lives. Thank you for accommodating some of our younger boys. We appreciated that Grant (the Crew Leader) was willing to work with Scouts by allowing them to assist him in tasks like cooking, that he listened to their jokes and stories, that he set realistic expectations for what they could accomplish in trail work, and that he praised them for the work they did. We also appreciated that Grant was flexible and patient with our Scouts who needed rest time on a challenging hike, but used just the right amount of prodding when it was needed. We’ve already built a BMWF trip into our Troop’s schedule for next August and we’re looking forward to working out the details.”