Montana - Lolo NF
Skookum Butte Lookout Restoration, Phase I
View of Skookum Butte Lookout from the trail
July 8-13; 15-19, 2019 (including weekends)
Must commit to 1 entire session; may participate in both
Skookum Butte Lookout sits atop a large outcrop of Idaho Batholith granite, at an elevation of 7,215 feet above sea level. The Lookout, fabricated in a “Grange Hall” style, was constructed in 1928, and was in regular use until the 1970s. However, although abandoned for fire detection lookout since then, the site continues to be a hiking destination for local Outfitter/Guide services, youth summer camp groups, and the general public. There is a strong, local public desire to preserve the historic property for recreational use. It is one of only two intact lookouts of its kind in the area, and is eligible for placement on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP); it is already listed on the National Historic Lookout Register. However intact, time and the elements have taken their toll on the historic lookout, and we need your help to get her back in shape!
Phase I of the multiyear Skookum Butte Restoration project will involve cooperation with the Region One Historic Preservation Team (HPT) and Lolo NF Heritage Program. This year will focus on crafting and installing replacement logs for those deteriorated that form the base of the lookout. Additionally, we plan to undertake the following tasks: first, we will establish a suitable base camp, satellite work locations, staging areas, and evacuation areas. The next step will be to get logs onsite and staged for potential multi-year storage, and to begin log crafting. We also plan to remove windows, the current door, and to install plywood in openings. If time allows this season, we may remove flooring and subflooring and install a new subfloor, and begin designing rigging systems for log transport from satellite work location(s) to the Lookout.
Please note that the weather is, at best, unpredictable in Montana at this elevation. So, please be prepared with layers of cold and warm weather gear. We will be working 6, 8-hour days beginning July 8, then take one day off to explore. We will resume work on Monday, July 15 working 8 hour days until Friday, July 19. The area is spectacularly beautiful, and this is one of Montana’s historic gems – we hope you’ll join us this summer as we begin to give Skookum Butte Lookout some much needed tender, loving care!
Number of openings: 12 (6 per session)
Special skills: Applicants must be physically capable of hiking the moderately steep 1-mile trail to the Lookout; volunteers must also be physically capable of working at high altitude (although the lookout is on the ground, it is perched on a large outcrop of 'pillow lava' granite with limited space around the structure), and completing repetitive tasks such as stooping, bending, lifting, etc.; water bottle and own work gloves required, safety goggles helpful; bring your favorite tool(s) if you like! Previous carpentry, painting, and historic restoration experience helpful, but not required
Minimum age: 18 years old
Facilities: Tent camping at base of Skookum Butte; this is a semi-remote area with no running water and only a primitive toilet and shower facility; site is accessible by a scenic and steep 1-mile hike; hot meals, coffee breaks, and water provided; volunteers responsible for own camping equipment, which will be packed in for us via pack string
Nearest towns: Montana/Idaho Stateline; Lolo, MT ~22 miles; Missoula, ~30 miles; Florence, ~32 miles
Applications due: April 29, 2019