Educational opportunities, hikes and trail projects on three ranger districts highlight Friends’ summer.
National Trails Day is Saturday, June 2, and Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness are sponsoring three National Trails Day events, including a dog-friendly walk on Regal Creek Trail on June 2. Hike leader Phil Hough, executive director of FSPW, will lead this moderate foray into the proposed wilderness on the east side of Lightning Creek north of Clark Fork, Idaho ,as the first of a series of volunteer-led hikes that will culminate on the 23rd of September with a hike up Scotchman.
Following immediately on the heels of Hough’s moderate-rated Regal Creek hike is an easy-rated hike on Sunday, June 3, at Ross Creek Cedars, led by FSPW board member Carol Jenkins and her husband Irv.
In June, FSPW also offers four educational outings, two of which are National Trails Day events. Saturday, June 9, Brian Baxter teaches an old growth ecology class, beginning at 9 Pacific time with a classroom session at the Heron Community Center before transitioning to Ross Creek Cedars. On June 30, Baxter teaches a riparian ecology class following the same format. Baxter, principal of Silver Cloud Associates of Libby, is a wildlife biologist with extensive knowledge of tracking, animal behavior and ecology who has spent several years in remote areas studying mustelids, and teaches for the Glacier Institute .
“Brian’s a great teacher in the classroom or field,” says Hough. “He’s funny, engaging and very knowledgeable about life in the wild.”
Another outdoor education specialist, Dennison Webb of Selkirk Outdoor Leadership and Education, will teach a Leave-No-Trace class on Saturday, June 16, in the Lightning Creek area. This is a class geared toward youth and parents and will include rehabilitation work on a campsite along Lightning Creek.
Kootenai National Forest archeologist Rachel Reckin fills out the FSPW Educational Hike Series. On June 30, Reckin leads a hike focused on Native American presence in and use of the Spar Creek drainage on the east side of the proposed wilderness.
In July, August and September, hiking and stewardship opportunities in the Scotchmans abound, including volunteer-led hikes to Little Spar Lake, Star Peak, Sawtooth Mountain and Scotchman Peak — the hard way. Trail restoration, reclamation and maintenance projects are scheduled for all of the three ranger districts the Scotchmans lie in, including work on the Little Spar Lake Trail in the Three Rivers District, Morris Creek Trail on the Sandpoint District and Blacktail Creek and Eddy Creek Trails on the Cabinet District. The Eddy Creek Trail project is a major reconstruction of a historic tread that once led to Star Peak lookout.
“This is a really exciting project,” said Sandy Compton, FSPW program coordinator, “for which we have four days set aside. Sunday, July 8 is our kickoff, and then we have workdays on July 20, August 3 and August 17. This trail, when finished, will be one of the most spectacular on the Kootenai National Forest.”
The hikes, education opportunities and stewardship projects, along with contact information and more full descriptions are listed on the Scotchman Peaks website at www.scotchmanpeaks.org/hiking/current-hiking-schedule. To learn more, write to summer project coordinator Bonnie Jakobs at email@example.com.