Montana - Flathead NF
Closed! Ford Schoolhouse Rehabilitation
Back of School Additions Removed
June 1-5, 2020
Volunteers must commit to a minimum of 3 day
Join the Flathead National Forest (FNF) Heritage and Region 1 Historic Preservation teams as we continue rehabilitation work on the 1918 Ford Schoolhouse, located along the beautiful North Fork of the Flathead River! The North Fork area has a rich homesteader history, as homesteaders in the North Fork were attracted by the timber, wildlife and hopes of coal and oil. A 1917 Forest Service examination of the homesteads on the upper west side of the North Fork concluded that the land was best suited to forage crops in conjunction with livestock raising, simply because of the severity of the climate. In 1918, a log-framed, one-room cabin was built as an elementary schoolhouse along the river serving the original homestead families of the area. In 1950, it was purchased by a transplanted Ohioan, who used the cabin as his personal summer residence. Today, the Ford Schoolhouse is in the care of the U.S. Forest Service and, in June 2019, Phase I of the Ford Schoolhouse rehabilitation project began. The earlier project involved deconstructing two additions placed on the north aspect of the building in the 1960s, and site preservation work included the enormous undertaking of cleaning and decontaminating the interior of the structure, removing the windows for repair, and preparation for foundation work. This year, during Phase II of the project, we will focus on replacing the existing roof with a period-correct, cedar shingle roof. Work activities will include the use of hand tools and a limited number of power tools to repair and restore the historic roof and foundation. If time allows, we may also begin work on interior tasks such as flooring, log work, and framing.
Early June in NW Montana is a gorgeous time of year, but weather can be quite unpredictable – come prepared for cool or potentially cold nights, and for any range of temperatures during the day. Precipitation is common, and mosquito repellant will be a must-have! Nevertheless, there is much to find attractive during your hours “off the clock.” The area is renowned for its fishing, biking, hiking, sight-seeing, scenic driving, and a myriad other outdoor activities. Additionally, we will be only a stone’s throw from Glacier National Park, one of the nation’s premier tourist spots. We hope you’ll join us this summer as we give some much-needed TLC to the Ford Schoolhouse!
Number of openings: 5
Special skills: Volunteers must be comfortable with heights, physically capable of ascending ladders, and physically capable of repetitive lifting, bending, stooping, reaching, and kneeling for extended periods each day; a comfortable pair of gloves, hard hat, and eye protection also recommended; previous restoration, roofing, carpentry, framing, and/or general maintenance experience helpful, but not required
Minimum age: 18 years old
Facilities: Small RV (i.e. pop-ups or campers) and tent camping available at no charge at campsites along the North Fork of the Flathead River; dispersed tent camping also available at no charge in project area; vault toilet and potable water available at a nearby Recreation Rental; no hook-ups; the FNF will provide a camp kitchen and gathering area; volunteers responsible for own camping equipment or lodging (if opting to stay off-site), food, water, and daily transportation to and from designated meeting areas; communal meals are an option, and evening fun will be provided by FS; Polebridge is a small, limited-services community that stocks only some essential items (plus some delicious baked goods!) in an historic mercantile building; Columbia Falls is a full-service community with hotels/motels, restaurants, and a full range of other amenities, however, it is 40 miles (~ 1 hour) away on the unpaved North Fork road.
Please be advised: this is grizzly bear country! Be aware that caution will be needed for food storage; food storage lockers can be provided. Additionally, the project is 40 miles of dirt road away from the nearest full-service community, so while RV travel is possible, it is not efficient.
Nearest towns: Polebridge, 15 miles; Columbia Falls, 40 miles
Applications due: Closed