Friends of Scotchman Peaks kick off robust summer schedule

Both trail and community building are well underway

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A mountain goat stands on the 7,009 foot summit of Scotchman’s Peak which is the tallest peak in Bonner County. Scotchman Peak is part of the Cabinet Mountains which is a 35 mile long range through Northern Idaho and Montana.

Summer is well underway in the Inland Northwest, and beautiful things are happening within the Scotchman Peaks Proposed Wilderness Area. The Friends of Scotchman Peaks (FSPW) spent months preparing for this summer work season, and all the hard work seems to be paying off as the first few events have been resounding successes. "We put in a lot of thought and effort into building our programs this year," said programs coordinator Sandy Compton, "and now that we're here, the weeks and events seem to be flying by."

The evidence of success is abundant - the Sanders County Picnic in June saw record attendance, volunteers have made astounding progress on a reroute of the first mile of the popular Scotchman Peak Trail, and FSPW staff returned from the first "Take-A-Kid-Hiking" day with stories of transformative experiences. FSPW staff and volunteers also worked on the Star Gulch and Napoleon Gulch trails with the Cabinet District trail crew on July 10.

These wilderness stewards and advocates are not slowing down, however. On July 17, FSPW worked on the reroute of the first mile of the Scotchman Peak trail (trail No. 65). The Friends and the Sandpoint District of the USFS teamed up to reroute the trail from the old steep and rutted trail bed, and could use all the help that they can get to finish the new section of trail. They will also be working on the reroute on July 31, Aug. 14 and Sept. 11.

The Friends of Scotchman Peaks will be heavily represented at community events throughout North Idaho and Western Montana this summer. Look for the FSPW tables at the Blues Fest in Libby, Mont., the Rhythm and Blues Festival in Noxon, Mont., the Huckleberry Festival in Trout Creek, Mont., and the Bonner County Fair in Sandpoint where you can stop by and pick up a free map of the Scotchmans or the latest edition of the Peak Experience newsletter.

One of the most entertaining and fulfilling aspects of the FSPW summer schedule is the "Take-A-Kid-Hiking" series. FSPW staff and volunteers take children from the Transitions in Progress Blue Haven House, a place for families between homes, hiking in the Scotchman Peaks area. Two more hikes are scheduled, and will take place on Aug. 7 and 28. The Friends encourage any local parents and children that would like to participate to come out as well.

A number of other events round out the FSPW summer schedule. On Aug. 21 and 22, volunteers will be rehabilitating the Spar Peak Trail with the Three Rivers

Ranger District trail crew. On Sept. 4 and 18, outdoor educator Brian Baxter will be teaching courses on "map and compass orienteering" and "wetlands ecology," both of which are sure to be fun and informative. Finally, on Sept. 25 and 26, the Friends will be working on the Morris Creek trail.

The Friends of Scotchman Peaks are always looking for new friends and fresh faces, so if you feel like getting your boots dirty with some trail work or talking up the Peaks at one of the festivals, don't hesitate to head to www.scotchmanpeaks.org and click on "Upcoming Events" to see a full schedule and sign up. You can also email Nathan@scotchmanpeaks.org or Sandy@scotchmanpeaks.org with any questions.

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