The Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation was founded in 1996 when the U.S. Forest Service and a group of concerned citizens came together to address the rapid loss of trails in The Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex. By the mid '90s only 1,900 of the original 2,500 miles of trails in The Bob remained, and Forest Service budgets had been cut by 40%.
The Foundation was granted tax-exempt status and in 1996 and began its first summer of volunteer projects in 1997. That year the Foundation’s goal was to provide 1000 volunteer service days but ended the summer logging 2,600 days of service (a service day is a day of work by one volunteer). The Foundation has repeated this effort each summer for 20 years and BMWF volunteers have cleared and maintained over 5,000 miles of trail!
STEWARDSHIP THROUGH PARTNERSHIP
We work with three different National Forests in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex to identify trail system improvements and then create educational and challenging conservation service projects in The Bob. The Foundation coordinates crew leadership, itineraries, food, tools and equipment, pack support, and reports project accomplishments to the Forest Service.
One of the primary objectives of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation is to provide an opportunity for volunteers, especially youth, to develop team building skills, learn skills including Leave No Trace backcountry ethics, and develop wilderness ethic while participating on volunteer projects.