Camp Out in Idaho’s Back Country with Free Food and Gear, But There is a Catch
Have you always wanted to camp deep in Idaho's beautiful wilderness, but didn't feel you have the experience or know how? Plus you not to keen on having to pack all that gear and food with you either. If this sounds like you, you're in luck, because an Idaho organization will haul your gear and feed you on a week long trip into Idaho's most beautiful and unique mountain locations, but there is one small catch.
Thanks to the Idaho Trails Association, you can now take that back country trip you've always wanted to take, but you have to be ready to work.
Since 2010, The Idaho Trails Association has been planing and coordinating volunteer working camp out vacations to help with trail maintenance here in Idaho.
The program is popular and growing. Twenty one projects around the state were addressed last year and thirty are planned for this year.
Many of the projects volunteer spots fill up quickly but there are several opportunities to help out this year with the expanded number of projects. Whether you are looking for a week-long work vacation or a weekend crash course in trail maintenance skills, you are sure to find a project that is right for you.
Openings for some projects are already full, but according to the Idaho Trails web site these are some of the projects that are still available:
▪ Cooper Flat, July 21-28 and July 29-Aug. 4: This project involves a 9-mile hike to Cooper Flat cabin, which will serve as the kitchen for the week. Volunteers will camp around the cabin and work their way 3 miles uphill, clearing logs from the trail. Mules will carry the camping gear to the site. This trip is rated as difficult.
▪ Central Idaho mountains. June 8th-10th. This project involves three days of training and practice in use of cross cut saws and other tools to safely clear and repair hiking trails. After a day of classroom training, participants will practice on local hiking trails. It's rated as moderately difficult
▪ Russell Ridge, July 22-28: This is a week long project to repair a ridge-top trail in the Selkirk Mountains of North Idaho. Water, food and camp gear will be packed in and a cook provided. Work will include digging, cleaning water bars and reconstructing trail. This trip's camping location is on a high on the ridge, so the views will be spectacular. It's rated difficult.
▪ Little Wood River, Aug. 5-11: The camp will be set up at a trail head, so campers and large tents are allowed. Meals will be provided. The project will involve clearing logs and brush and otherwise repairing the Kale Creek trail outside of Carey, with views of the back of the Pioneer Mountains. It's rated difficult.
▪ Upper Priest River Trail, Aug. 19-25: Volunteers will pack in their own food and gear a mile and a half and work on the northern end of the Idaho Centennial Trail in North Idaho. It's rated difficult.
▪ Upper St. Joe River, Sept. 1-8: A packer and cook will be provided for a trip to clear logs and brush and repair a trail along the river. "Great swimming and fishing are available after your work days. The trip is rated moderate.
Last year, the ITA utilized 215 volunteers on its projects. They are hoping for 400 this year.
The ITA also hopes to develop its volunteers for the future through a new youth program that kicks off this year with a new project that the ITA say is funded by the Wood River Women's Foundation. High school-aged kids from Blaine County in the Sun Valley area, will spend a week working on a project outside Ketchum with local teachers serving as counselors.
For more info on projects available and to sign up click on the link below
Credit: USGS Maps