Monture Guard Station Restoration
Lolo National Forest, Montana, 2002 by J. Rodger Free, FS Archaeologist Eleven volunteers from all over the country joined the Seeley Lake and Lolo Heritage staff in May 2002 to continue restoration of the Monture Guard Station. Almost 500 hours of labor were donated—a contribution valued at more than $6,500, conservatively speaking—and as a result of the volunteers’ efforts, the guard station will soon be used in the winter cabin rental program on the Lolo NF. In seven days, volunteers safely and professionally completed a remarkable number of projects. The two upstairs rooms and the entryway underwent complete restoration. Batten was removed from the walls and then sanded and revarnished. The walls were scrubbed, and a fresh coat of paint was applied to both rooms. The banister and windowsills also were sanded and revarnished. The south side of the log cabin was stripped of its varnish and oiled with a protective coating. The chinking and daubing were replaced with fresh rope and tar. When it started snowing, the crew worked under the porch on the east wall, scraping the old varnish off and oiling the logs. Old chinking and daubing were removed from the east side of the barn and replaced with fresh cement, and the logs were washed and oiled. The crew then peeled logs to replace those on the front porch at a later date. The fact that every project was accomplished professionally and without a single accident is, once more, a credit to the skill, positive attitude, and patience of the participants.
All was not tedious work, however. Region I Wildlife Biologist Mike Hillis talked to the group on Tuesday about grizzly bears and what to expect in an encounter. Scott Tomson, wildlife biologist at Seeley Lake Ranger District, informed the group about lynx and their habitat on Thursday. At the grand finale on Friday, the Seeley Lake Women’s Barbershop Quartet performed an entertaining set of old songs. Rib Gustafson, a local veterinarian and author, stopped by as well. After pretending he was lost, he proceeded to entertain the group with old Montana stories and sold a bunch of his books to the group.
Seeley Lake Ranger District staff Bruce Johnson and Jim Blackburn, and District Ranger Tim Love were instrumental in planning and carrying out this project. Sydney Wimbrow and I helped with the supervisory duties, and all of us pitched in with the work. The real key to the success of the project was, of course, our dedicated volunteers. In response to the enthusiasm expressed during the Monture Guard Station PIT project, another project is planned for May 2003.