On one of the busiest days of the summer, with events going on all over Red Lodge, citizen volunteers from all around the Red Lodge community came out this past Saturday to show their overwhelming support for trails. Fiftynine volunteers in all showed up to Palisades Campground at 9 a.m., were briefed on the different job crews they could sign on to work, and then spent the rest of the afternoon carving out the new Palisades Trail.
The project came to fruition when the Forest Service announced over the winter that efforts to delineate a foothills trail on Forest Service land on the outskirts of Red Lodge, could go forward. The Beartooth Recreational Trails Association (BRTA), followed along by hiring a trail crew of the Montana Conservation Corps for over a week to cut out the trail laid out by the Forest Service.
The catalyst for the June 8 event, however, was a $1,000 grant sponsored by Pro Cut Lawn Care of Red
Lodge. Brad Hauge, Pro Cut’s owner, wanted the money to go towards a community effort that benefits the
outdoors. The Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Foundation (ABWF) applied for the grant in order to put
on a volunteer-based work day to rally the community around their trails. “So many people come to our community, come to live here, because of the outdoor opportunities…and this proposal for a trail-building event was just the right touch,” said Hauge about the grant. The A-B Wilderness Foundation organized and advertised the event. David Kallenbach, Executive Director of the ABWF, wanted to try to recreate the success of ‘People for Playgrounds’, the community-wide effort that produced the kids’ playground in a single weekend. “I really thought that when it comes to trails, this community is exceedingly passionate, and that we could draw around 50 volunteers for Saturday’s trailwork…it was gratifying that nearly 60 showed up and worked so hard! It was a stunning effort!” Traute Parrie, Beartooth District Ranger, came to volunteer for the day herself, and saw firsthand what was accomplished. “The staff of the Beartooth Ranger District is thrilled with the results, and awed by the power of community to get so much work done.”
Brad Hauge brought his own work crews out on a Saturday to volunteer—“What a tremendous collaborative effort—people from Billings, the MCC crew working hard, five Forest Service folks supervising the volunteers, BRTA delivering food and water, and then all the volunteers, working incredibly hard so they could hurry up and start using the trail!” While the trail is not finalized, it is open and able to be used. The Palisades Trail runs 3 miles from the Campground through open meadows, gorgeous Ponderosa woodlands and aspen groves, and comes out at the very end of Fox Road. Black bears have been sighted recently, so travel
with care and bring your bear spray.