Walking with the Wilderness Institute

What is wilderness? For many, wilderness is an abstract idea that means different things to different people. Scholars have filled volumes discussing this very issue, but for the Wilderness Institute, which is associated with the University of Montana and funded by the National Forest Service, wilderness is a quantifiable resource.  Every summer for the past eight years, the Wilderness Institute has run a citizen science program that takes volunteers out into a different Montana wilderness area to monitor their wilderness character. Continue reading

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Beauty Just Beyond the Boundary

May is a funny month in Montana. The weather has finally warmed, the snow in the valleys is a distant memory, and the mind starts drifting towards summer. Yet, the snow stubbornly persists in the high country. Only the hardiest of travelers, willing to don snowshoes or climbing skins, can access those high alpine lakes and passes, leaving more weather-wary travelers like myself in the low country, impatiently gazing upwards in hopes of summer’s arrival. Continue reading