A Tale of Two Saddles

This past summer, while a battle raged between hikers and mountain bikers over access to one section of the Gallatin National Forest (the Hyalite–Porcupine–Buffalo Horn Wilderness Study Area), a vastly different dynamic took place across the range. There, in the Henry Mountains near West Yellowstone, bikers and horseback riders worked together to maintain a trail for all forest users to enjoy.
For the past two years a diverse trail crew—comprising members of the Backcountry Horsemen (BCH) and Montana Mountain Bike Alliance (MMBA)—have volunteered a summer weekend for the annual clean-up of the spectacular Mile Creek Trail—a well-designed, sustainable singletrack located just a short distance from the town of West Yellowstone.
This year, at the request of the Caribou-Targhee National Forest and in cooperation with the Gallatin National Forest, eight workers from BCH and MMBA traveled with four packhorses carrying supplies and equipment. With 40 challenging switchbacks to the 10,000-foot ridge, six miles of Mile Creek Trail were raked clean, vegetation was trimmed back, spring run-off debris was removed, and weathered signs were repaired.
The crew continued into Idaho’s adjacent Dry Fork of Targhee Creek Trail where trail maintenance funds ran out the week prior. The Forest Service gladly accepted the experienced volunteers’ offer to clear out windblown trees.
The 2011 maintenance plan is already underway for this crown jewel of our national forest system. If you’d like to volunteer, visit montanamountainbikealliance.com or contact your local forest service office for more information.