Sunday, September 22
Come hike with us! This educational hike, sponsored by the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Foundation, takes you up on the scenic Line Creek Plateau into high-elevation whitebark pine habitat. There, you will learn first-hand from our two researchers, who will teach you a great deal about the key threats to this iconic and beautiful tree species and the animals that have come to depend on it.
Date: September 22, 2013 (the Equinox!)
Meeting place & time: The U.S. Forest Service Beartooth Ranger Station, 6811 US Highway 212, Red Lodge (just south of Red Lodge, on the right hand side) at 8 a.m. Please call to sign up, as we will limit this hike to the first 12 participants.
Location: Line Creek Plateau Trailhead, off the Beartooth Highway 212 — we will carpool to the trailhead, which is about 45 minutes up the pass.
Details: Our summer researchers, Emily Francis and Max Grigri — two college graduates hired by the organization Clean Air - Cool Planet and the ABWF — will take you on a day hike into their Line Creek Plateau study area. They will share their findings about the whitebark pine and how it is affected by the mountain pine beetle, blister rust, and climate change. Find out how the Clark’s Nutcracker and Grizzly depend on this keystone species. Additionally, you’ll also gain insights into the methodology of our two researchers and what they are learning.
The Hike: This is a relative easy to moderate 9-10 mile round trip day hike. From the Line Creek Trailhead we hike most of the way along good trail, dropping down to a lake where we climb back up to the Plateau trail, until we reach the two drainages featuring the whitebark pines in our study. We must hike an off-trail section into the two drainages. 1000 feet total elevation gain. Please bring your own lunch, snacks, and enough water for the day (the two drainages may have water; bring purification!) along with raingear and warm layers.
For more information & to sign up:
Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Foundation
It's a broad-shouldered, big hearted land this Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness. Nearly a million acres on the Montana-Wyoming border, an unfathomable puzzle of high country tossed with bear and elk and moose and coyotes and wolves. A place where snow comes even in July. Where in the month of May rocks as big as school busses thunder down thousands of feet of mountainside, nudged loose by the creeping thaw of spring. Where in the bright flash of a ten-week summer the alpine meadows and sprawling tundra so common to the area erupt suddenly, utterly with wildflowers. An astonishing place. And more than that, a place critical to the grand sweep of country known as Greater Yellowstone – today the largest generally intact ecosystem in the temperate world.
As with many of the world's beautiful places, in the days of long ago this high, wide run of mountains was a sacred landscape to native peoples. Beyond raw materials for tools and clothing, here they found medicine. Here they found powerful threads of myth and story, enough to spin tales around the winter fire for thousands of years. In more recent times, in 1978, after brief flurries of mining and timbering and sheep grazing, and with civilization spreading fast across the interior West, more than nine hundred thousand acres were preserved as the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness. And thus in a modern sense, these unforgettable uplands became yet again, hallowed ground.
Gary Ferguson – August 2010