It’s become one of the most popular go-to Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation projects in the Northern Rockies, and not just for volunteers in Idaho and Montana but also for others from across the country. RMEF hosts its Hiawatha Trail wire pull on July 6-7, 2023.
The Hiawatha Trail is an old railroad grade along the Montana-Idaho border that has been converted to a bike trail near Mullan, Idaho. The fact that the path was an old rail line is the reason for the work project. The original railroad was used by electric trains powered by wires paralleling the tracks. When the tracks were removed, the powerlines remained. Over the years, the poles and wire have fell into disrepair and created a fatal hazard to the wildlife when antlered animals become ensnared in the wire and eventually perish.
“This is an opportunity to make a difference for wildlife. There are many miles of this wire, paralleling these old rail lines across North Idaho and Western Montana,” Wayne Brood, RMEF regional director, told the Clark Fork Valley Press.
This wire removal project began in 2020 with the removal of 3/8 of a mile of nine-strand wire. That first year there were about 40 volunteers for one day on the trail. In 2021, the project consisted of two days on the trail and 1 ¼ miles of wire removed. Many of the same volunteers from 2020 returned in 2021 as well as many new volunteers. RMEF captured that effort by producing a six-minute film. And in 2022, volunteers from 10 different states showed up.
“The more folks that come out and join us, the more habitat we can improve. There is nothing better than working side by side with likeminded folks from across the nation with similar passion and values. The scenery isn’t too hard to look at as well,” Brood told the Clark Fork Valley Press.
Volunteers are asked to register so organizers can best determine how and where to use workers. There is also a Thursday evening barbecue planned.
Click here for registration and project details.
(Photo source: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)