The Scotchman Peaks Stewardship Season takes off with a roar!

FSPW vols swing out to a great start on the Star Peak trail reconstruction.

Download your 2012 Summer Stewardship Calendar Here

The Friends of Scotchman Peaks kicked off their 2012 summer stewardship season Sunday, July 8 with a successful day on the historic trail to Star Peak. FSPW volunteers and Forest Service personnel began reconstructing a two-and-a-half-mile section of trail that was the southern approach to the mountain in the early days of the Forest Service.

“This is an exciting project,” said FSPW summer project coordinator Bonnie Jakubos. “We knocked out a good third of a mile of solid tread, a great start for the rebuild, and a great start for our stewardship summer. Our volunteers did a grand job.”

FSPW Volunteer John Harbuck demonstrates the proper use of a Pulaski on the Star Peak rebuild project.
FSPW Volunteer John Harbuck demonstrates the proper use of a Pulaski on the Star Peak rebuild project.

Replaced by a road in the late 1940s, the old trail nearly disappeared on the ground, but not from old maps in the basement of the Cabinet Ranger District, where USFS Recreation Technician Joel Sather found evidence of the old pathway. After a year of on-the-ground research, matching map to terrain, flagging, and paperwork, reconstruction began with the FSPW/FS workday.

Friends of Scotchman Peaks have many more trail and outreach volunteer opportunities upcoming. FSPW is partnered with the Three Rivers, Cabinet and Sandpoint Ranger Districts to help maintain and rebuild trails in the Kootenai and Panhandle National Forests, including three more work days on the Star Peak trail and two weeks of work in the Little Spar area with youth crews from Montana Conservation Corps.

“Joel (Sather) and our part-time Scotchman Peak wilderness ranger Jeremy Leibenguth are ready to do a lot more on the Star Peak Trail this summer,” said Jakubos, “and we have three more days scheduled, Fridays July 20, August 3 and August 17.”

The MCC youth crews will be camping at Spar Lake Campground from Sunday, July 22 through Friday, July 27; and again from Sunday, August 5 through Friday, August 10 and working on Little Spar Trail #142, providing some badly needed TLC to the trail, which is suffering from flooding, erosion and overgrowth in several places. Camping space for volunteers will also be available at the Spar Lake Campground. Folks staying over will be treated to dinner with the MCC crew, but need to bring other meals, snacks and camping gear.

“A full day of trail work is not required to be a volunteer,” Jakubos says. “We have other opportunities to handle paperwork, help fix meals and be encouragement for the kids. These will be family-style campouts, with all the benefits of such times. Come stay all week, or just for the day.”

Two other cooperative projects for the summer are a three-pronged workday on the Cabinet District and a National Public Lands workday on the Sandpoint District. Saturday, July 28, volunteers will meet at the Blacktail Trailhead. Some will travel up the trail to do maintenance, while two other groups will spread out to put up new trail-head signs and help spot weeds for treatment along the Pillick Ridge trail. On Saturday, September 29, volunteers and Sandpoint District personnel will rework the lower portion of the Morris Creek trail in the Lightning Creek drainage.

“I don’t think there’s much more satisfying work than watching a trail grow or reappear under your own effort,” said FSPW program coordinator Sandy Compton. “There is something very satisfying about running a Pulaski or pair of loppers and seeing the fruits of your efforts. Come join us.”

To sign up for FSPW trail projects, write to

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Categories: Blog
About The Author:

Sandy Compton has been program coordinator for Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness since 2009. He is also a storyteller and author of both fiction and non-fiction books, and the publisher at

In addition to his other duties, he runs the FSPW All Star Trail Team (, which works on Forest Service trails in the Scotchman Peaks. He is a trail surveyor as well, and a C-Certified Crosscut Bucker/Feller and USFS National Saw Policy OHLEC instructor.

Sandy grew up on a small farm/woodlot at the south end of the proposed wilderness and lives there still. He is also board member of the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance and a planning team member for the Northern Rockies Wilderness Skills Institute.

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