“Wilderness means many things to folks, but the fall race series is about coming together as a community, giving back to local non-profits and celebrating this vast expanse of Absaorka-Bearooth Wilderness that we are fortunate enough to have in our backyards,” said Kat Barker, Trails and Wilderness Lead, Yellowstone Ranger District. “Across the districts, the wilderness and trail crews clear hundreds of miles of trails, pack in for 5 to 16 day hitches and bring wilderness trails back to standard. Leave No Trace education and wilderness contacts are also made with thousands of National Forest visitors,” Barker continued. One trail crew focused on the Sixmile drainage this summer, affected by the 2013 Emigrant Fire, clearing trails, cutting hazard trees, and bringing the trails accessing Monitor Peak from the Sixmile drainage, back to standard. All work is done by packing in and utilizing leave no trace and minimum impact trail skills such as cross-cut saws.
Races are put on by local committees as non-profit fundraisers. Forest Service personnel along with Woodsy Owl and Smokey Bear will be making appearances at local races. Kids can run alongside Smokey in the kids 1km event, September 20 in Gardiner, while competitive sports can race our own Wilderness Ranger, dressed in full garb and receive a special prize if they beat her.
Register for races individually by visiting the race website:
· September 5 – Livingston, MT www.nightowlrun.com
· September 20 – Gardiner, MT www.bigbearstampede.org
· September 21 – Red Lodge, MT www.beartoothrun.com
· October 4 – Absarokee, MT www.absarokeearea.com
· October 11 – McLeod, MT www.sweetgrasshealthandwellness.org/Programs
For general information on the Custer Gallatin National Forests visit us online at www.fs.usda.gov/custer or www.fs.usda.gov/gallatin, like us on Facebook – The Forest Service – Custer Gallatin National Forests or follow us at Twitter: @Gallatin NF or @CusterNF.
Set aside by Congress in 1978, the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness is located in south-central Montana with a small portion in northern Wyoming, just north of Yellowstone National Park. The Wilderness is home to Montana's tallest peak, Granite Peak, at 12,799 feet, it towers above Beartooth Plateau and anchors the Beartooth Range.