Montana - Lolo NF
Closed! Big Hole Peak Lookout Rehabilitation, Phase III
(Photo: Big Hole Peak Lookout Cabin 2015)
July 28-31; August 3-6, 2015
Must commit to one entire session; may participate in both
Join us again this summer as we continue efforts to "reconstruct the past" on the Lolo NF! Big Hole Peak Lookout was built in 1930 for what was originally called the Cabinet National Forest. It is a "Grange Hall"-type lookout: a structure built atop a short talus foundation. This type of lookout predates the standard design seen in most other areas, and due to the difficulty in its construction, is quite rare. In fact, Big Hole Peak Lookout is one of only two lookouts of its kind on the Lolo that remain intact! It saw its last use as a fire lookout in 1972, and although afterward abandoned, was determined eligible for placement on the National Register of Historic places (NRHP) in 1984. Although the site has long been deserted, there is a strong desire on the part of the local public to preserve this old structure and to make it available for recreational use. District staff members have received numerous comments, suggestions, and even offers from local residents to help repair the structure. So, once again, with your help, we will take the next steps toward making those wishes come true!
During our first couple of years at the Lookout, we cleaned up potential hazards, stabilized the rock foundation, and took on a number of tough, but necessary, tasks to prep and beautify the structure: we replaced rotted logs, re-roofed the structure, installed windows and repaired the door, removed old paint, and so on. This year, we will have to begin by cleaning out and removing any potential Hantavirus threat, as always - don't worry, we will have protective gear for everyone! From there, we will replace more of the rotted logs (this time on the east and, possibly, the south sides), install the newly repaired door, repaint the interior, and prepare materials for new shutters surrounding the lookout and for siding on the east and west ends. Of course, as always, it all promises to be sweaty and dirty work, but in the end, we'll have had a lot of fun, and you'll be able to say that you helped breathe life back into one of the Lolo National Forest's most valuable gems. As an additional treat, we will be working with the Region 1 Historic Preservation Team and expert log worker! So, make sure to take notes and bring your appetites and your favorite pair of hiking shoes (sturdy and broken in) - we hope you'll join us in July!
Number of openings: 8 (4 per session)
Special skills: Must be physically capable of hiking moderate distances (2.5 miles each direction) along an established Forest Service trail; must also be physically capable of lifting/bending/kneeling/standing/stooping for extended periods (10 hours) each day in a variety of weather conditions and near the edge of a steep cliff; previous carpentry, roofing, construction, painting, general maintenance, and/or historic building restoration experience helpful, but not required
Minimum age: 18 years old
Facilities: Dispersed tent camping at no charge, on-site near Lookout (2.5 miles from trailhead); pit toilet at facility, water provided by FS; the Region 1 Pack String will assist in packing project and volunteer supplies and equipment in, and the local Back Country Horsemen and the Region 1 Back Country Law Enforcement teams will pack us out; all meals provided by FS; volunteers responsible for personal camping equipment, own work gloves, safety glasses/goggles, water bottle, and transportation to and from initial, designated meeting area - and you are welcome (though not required) to bring your own, favorite tools!
Please note: as indicated in the dates, there will be a 2-day break during the session. However, uninterrupted, on-site camping will be available the entire period, July 28 - August 6.
Nearest towns: Thompson Falls, 30 miles; Plains, 31 miles
Applications due: Filled