Montana - Beaverhead-Deerlodge NF
New! Canyon Creek Charcoal Kilns: Phase V
Canyon Creek Charcoal Kilns
August 15-20, 2021 (including weekend)
Volunteers must commit to entire session
Please join the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest’s Heritage program in the ongoing preservation of the Canyon Creek Charcoal Kilns, a site listed on the National Register of Historic places! The Canyon Creek Kilns, built in 1881, played an important role in the development of the Glendale-Hecla Historic Mining District in southwestern Montana. They provided charcoal for the Hecla Consolidated Mining Company’s silver and lead smelter at the town of Glendale, six miles to the southwest. Prior to the construction of the Glendale smelter, silver ore from the district had to be shipped as far away as Swansea, Wales (UK), via Corrine, Utah for processing! The smelter’s demand for charcoal was so high that the company ran a total of 38 kilns at this and two other sites and, during Canyon Creek’s lifespan, the Hecla Mining Company cut over 11,000 acres of timber to fuel the smelter with 7.4 million bushels of charcoal. Charcoal production at this site ran from the kilns’ completion to the smelters closure in 1900.
From that point, time, weather, looting, and so on, took its toll. That is until 1990, when we ran our first PIT project here and volunteers like you stepped up to help put this historic gem back on the map! Since then, we have completely restored and stabilized three of the original 23 beehive kilns, maintained and stabilized much of the grounds, and more. This year, during the fifth season at Canyon Creek, we will establish a safe and suitable basecamp – a “home away from home” – then we’ll get to work cleaning the stabilized kilns of old whitewash and decayed mortar. Once that is accomplished, we will whitewash the kilns anew, and repoint the masonry as needed.
Volunteers will need to bring a water bottle, sturdy work boots, safety goggles, and a good set of work gloves; sun protection is also recommended. Also, the weather in Montana is unpredictable at best, especially at this altitude, so please be prepared with layers of cold and warm weather gear. Strict COVID-19 protocols will be followed, including the wearing of masks, social distancing, etcetera. Additionally, given current national and global circumstances, some aspects of the project may be subject to change. The project leader will notify all selectees should this occur. We will be working six (6), eight (8)-hour days, with one afternoon off for a driving tour of the surrounding historic district. We hope to see you out at the Kilns again this summer!
Please note: We will only be taking applications until we have filled our rosters, and this project usually fills pretty quickly, so apply today!
Number of openings: 8
Special skills: Volunteers must be physically capable of repetitive lifting, bending, kneeling, stooping, and other activities at moderate levels and for extended periods each day at 7000’ above sea level; previous masonry, painting, and/or historic restoration helpful, but not required
Minimum age: 18 years old
Facilities: Tent camping and limited space for small RVs (trailer or pop-up types) at field camp near the Kilns; drinking water, porta-potties, solar showers and Heritage Program Field Camp Kitchen; no hook-ups; hot breakfasts and dinners provided by Heritage staff at camp; sack lunches and coffee provided at work site; there is no cell service at the camp or work sites, but service is available a short drive away; for those not wishing/unable to camp, a small number of vacation rentals are available in the nearby community of Melrose, at volunteer expense and arrangement; volunteers responsible for own camping equipment, and for daily travel and lodging if opting to stay outside of base camp
Nearest towns: Project based in Canyon Creek; Melrose, ~11 miles (30 minutes); Butte, ~ 39 miles (1 hour); Dillon, ~ 42 miles (1 hour)
Applications due: Ongoing until filled