03. August 2021 · Comments Off on Montana Conservation Corp – Twenty Mile Creek Pack-In · Categories: Public Lands, Work Parties and Projects

The Montana Conservation Corps grew out of great ideas, great people, and a great legacy. Stories of men joining and serving in the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression can be heard at coffee counters across Montana. Tales of their accomplishments to improve the landscape – including the development of Montana’s first state park at the Lewis and Clark Caverns – and the spirit of the young people who joined are numerous and verging on mythical, in the best tradition of Montana.

In 1990, Human Resource Development Council agencies from Billings, Bozeman, and Kalispell established the Montana Conservation Corps. Our first Executive Director, Steve Nelsen, tells of starting MCC with nothing but a desk, a phone, and a box of Kleenex.

The first MCC crews were fielded in the summer of 1991 through the cooperation of the HRDC and sponsoring agencies such as the City of Billings, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and the U.S. Forest Service. In 1993, MCC successfully obtained AmeriCorps funding, which doubled the budget and established regional offices.

Now MCC has a multimillion-dollar budget and has matured into a leader in the national corps movement. We are proud of our humble roots and thankful for all those that have contributed to the development of MCC over the years. To all of our alumni, staff, board volunteers, and community champions—thank you for being a part of the Montana Conservation Corps.


In Mid-July, Adam Larson PNF Trails Supervisor contacted Squaw Butte and ask if they would consider doing a drop camp for an MCC crew working on the Twenty Mile Creek trail near upper Payette Lake.  The pack-in date would be August 3rd and pack-out on August 24.  This crew of 6 would be working from this base camp for two weeks so need quite a bit of food and had over 90 pounds of hand tools and a chainsaw and support gear.  Rob Adams and Phil Ryan met MCC crew Leads Eve Hickey and Dylan Barker and the rest of the team at the Twenty Mile trail head on Tuesday morning at 07:30.  The five pack stock were saddled and once the gear was unloaded from their truck, a quick briefing on load building was followed by the MCC crew helping build and hang loads.  The biggest challenge was the large pile of hand tools including sledgehammers, picks, Pulaski’s and a rock bar they would need.  The tools were distributed between two canvas mantie that once lashed up weighted in at 46 and 47 pounds and were basket hitched to one of Rob pack horses.

By 08:30 everything was loaded and Rob and Phil were heading down the trail for a bit over 6 miles to a meadow that was their planned camp site.  We made good time averaging a bit over 3 mph and were at the camp site by 10:30 and had the stock unloaded and were heading back to the trail head by 11:00.

The site we left the gear is going to be a great camp with dry, level ground for their tents, easy access to water and two nice pools for a dip after a hard day of trail work.  While on the trail we met three dirt bike rider, two back packers that had been camping up at the Twenty Mile Lakes and two couples and a toddler in a back pack.

See planned work PDF: MCC 2021 Twenty Mile Projects

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