Montana Wilderness

Service Trip with the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation (B.O.B)

"The most rewarding trip you'll go on!"

Trip Duration: July 15-21, 2020. 

Day 1 - Wed, July 15 – Fly to Kalispell, MT (Glacier Park International Airport - FCA). Participants must book their own flights. Meet at airport and ride together in a van. Meet B.O.B trip leader. Camp the night near trailhead. 

Day 2 - Thurs, July 16 – Hike to basecamp. Mules/donkeys will carry heavy equipment to basecamp. Participants will only need to carry their support backpack. 

Day 3 - Fri, July 17 – Working day. Breakfast and dinner prepared by B.O.B. trip leader at basecamp. Lunch will be eaten at work site. 

Day 4 - Sat, July 18 – Working day. Breakfast and dinner prepared by B.O.B. trip leader at basecamp. Lunch will be eaten at work site. 

Day 5 - Sun, July 19 – Working day. Breakfast and dinner prepared by B.O.B. trip leader at basecamp. Lunch will be eaten at work site. 

Day 6 - Mon, July 20 – Hike out to trailhead. Breakfast will be prepared by B.O.B trip leader. Drive van to stay in hotel in Kalispell. 

Day 7 - Tues, July 21 – fly back to Texas. Participants will book their own flights. Shuttle available from hotel to airport. 

Food: Food/Meals included in trip cost will be bought and prepared by the B.O.B trip leader at basecamp. Dietary restrictions should be included in trip registration. Day 2-4 breakfast, lunch, dinner. Day 6 - breakfast only. All other meals/snacks must be brought by participants. 

Difficulty: Moderate. The group will walk 6-11 miles into basecamp and on the way out. You may have to carry your large pack on your back depending on how much the mules can carry. During the three working days, you will walk anywhere up to 3 miles per day carrying your small day pack with you (which is your lunch, water, and any personally belongings). You will find out, bringing the least amount of clothing is key!

It will be important to exercise (both cardio and weight training) leading up to the trip to prepare yourself for the higher elevation, walking distances, and the stress load on your shoulders from carrying a pack. As an added value to the trip, everyone will receive an exercise plan and group training if desired.

Trip Location: will be the west side of the divide (Essex/Great Bear Wilderness). Location features thick forests, dense trees and rivers. 

Minimum/Maximum: Trip requires at least four people to make it go. Max is 10. Trip deadline to sign up is April 1, 2020 as the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation need a final count by May 1, 2020. 

Age: The age minimum is 12 years old. 12-15 must be with an adult. 16 & 17 can come on a trip with parents’ permission. 18+ is good to go. 

Flight: All participants will need to purchase their own flight, equipment (list will be provided), and any extra hotel accommodations. Flights should be booked to Glacier Park International Airport (FCA). 

Trip includes: group preparedness talks, safety and education presentation, equipment list, exercise plan specific to the trip, experienced Starport staff to accompany the trip, most meals, transportation excpt flight, 1 night hotel stay, and a representative from the Bob Marshall Wilderness foundation will lead the trip. 

Cost: $475 is the program fee. Your choice of single occupancy hotel room or double occupancy room per person will cost an additional $125-$250 per person. Total price will range from $600-$750. This does not include flight, equipment, and extra food/snacks. Pay at the Gilruth front desk or call 281-483-8049 to avoid online processing fees. Registration Cutoff is April 1. Payment plan is available (April 1 and May 1 due dates).

Registration: Interested people should email Once a set number of people have confirmed they will go, a registration link will be sent to collect the trip deposit. All participants must pay the trip deposit and includes partial payment to reserve the B.O.B, hotel rooms, and van. The remaining cost will be collected from each person at a later date. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Starport staff, Drew Dobbins has been on this trip twice. It is very educational, rewarding and a great bonding experience. Applying leave no trace principles, exploring the vast Wilderness, and preserving the trails by repairing water bars, cutting dead wood/trees while at the same time learning survival techniques, wild animals and plants has had a lasting effect. I can't wait to go back. 

Area Description:  Considered by many to be the “crown jewel” of the wilderness preservation system, the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex is comprised of over 1.5 million acres of untrammeled, wild vastness that stretches from Glacier National Park in the north, to Rogers Pass to the south in the northern Rockies of Montana.  The Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex is named after the early day forester and conservationist who started his career for the forest service in Montana and is credited with single-handedly adding 5.4 million acres to the nation’s wilderness system. In 1941, after Bob Marshall’s death this primitive area was commemorated with his name and later additions of the Great Bear and Scapegoat Wildernesses in the 1970’s preserved this continuous tract of primeval land. 

Straddling the continental divide, the “Bob” as it’s known locally, is comprised of towering limestone reefs (including the famous Chinese Wall), range after range of majestic mountains, lush forests, broad basins and valleys, and two “wild and scenic” designated rivers.  It also contains some of the best wildlife habitat in the lower 48 for elk, deer, moose, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, black bear, and the “threatened” grizzly bear. 

Project:  Since you are a Forest Service volunteer, expect to put in an 5 hour workday, and 40 hours per week on the longer trips. Trail maintenance projects involve use of primitive tools such as cross-cut saws, axes, pulaskis, hand saws, shovels and loppers, which you will be trained for and supervised by a BMWF project crew-leader. Trail work can involve strenuous lifting, bending, and hiking to and from work site each day. There are a variety of tasks on each trip and we encourage volunteers to take turns and try all of them. The BMWF crew-leader will assign appropriate tasks to fit your comfort and skill level as well (i.e.- you won't be expected to saw tree's out of the trail all day if you would rather cut brush with loppers instead). On the longer trips, you will also be expected to help out with camp chores such as cooking, cleaning, and general camp duties.

Pack Support: We will arrange to have a volunteer packer to haul tools, food and some personal gear.  The first priorities for packing are crew food and tools. If there is space, larger items such sleeping bags and tents may also be packed.  Please be prepared to carry in ALL of your personal backpacking gear.  We do our best to arrange for pack support but volunteer packers are not always available.

Food: Food and menu planning are provided by our crew leader. Please limit personal snacks to avoid over packing food.  Please alert us to any food allergies or preferences. BMWF also provides bear hang supplies, as the crew will be practicing proper backcountry food storage. You will be expected to pitch in and help prepare meals, and other campsite chores during the project.

Gear: BMWF will bring group gear such as cooking stove, pots & pans, water filter, etc. However, each volunteer should bring a personal kitchen kit (with plate/bowl, spoon/fork, hot mug, water bottle, etc).  Please see the attached list for other personal gear needs.  Note: participants will need to bring long pants (no shorts for trail work), long sleeved shirt (when sawing), work gloves and sturdy pair of hiking boots (tennis shoes ARE NOT recommended) to work in. Please wear hiking boots with ankle support. Volunteers are also responsible for bringing their own personal camping gear including a sleeping bag, tent, and backpack. Dressing in layers is the best approach. One work “outfit” will be sufficient; everyone will stink as much as you do (unless they are not working very hard).

Leave No Trace:  We will be practicing Leave No Trace camping principles in the backcountry, some projects will be near a Forest Service cabin, and there is a primitive outhouse at the Forest Service Cabin. The BMWF crew-leader will be training you in these principles and what needs to be followed during the week.  We will try to leave as little an impact as we can to keep the campsite and this area beautiful. 


Drew Dobbins