Posted: Aug 6, 2012 8:45 AM by Winston Greeley, Montana FWP
Updated: Aug 6, 2012 9:15 AM
The Bob Marshall Wilderness is named for a man who was one of the first champions of wilderness protection and Winston Greely headed out into the Bob to meet Bob Marshall.
Back in 1928, U.S. Forest Service employee Bob Marshall set out near Kalispell for a hike, and today Dave Stagliano with the Montana Heritage Program is following the same route.
"There's a lot of before and after of different landscapes that we focus on, why not the Bob? Why not an area that a lot of people recreate in and cherish and turn it into a little trail map?" Stagliano asked.
He's following Marshall's only documented route into the Bob Marshall Wilderness; a round trip nearly 300 miles that took Marshall just eight days to complete.
"And we will see the differences that we document from what Bob Marshall saw in 1928 when he did this hike versus what we are seeing here in 2012," Stagliano explained.
Marshall's first major change would come at Hungry Horse Reservoir, but as one of the first advocates for wilderness, Marshall would find things much the same when he crossed into the land that bears his name.
"That aspect of being out and just being able to go for miles without seeing a house or motorized vehicle, I definitely feel his love of the wilderness," observed Stagliano.
Thousands of people seek this sentiment in the Bob each year, and while it is not clear how Marshall would feel about the amount of wilderness visitors. He was a champion of recreation and believed wilderness was essential to ones happiness.
"He really was a forerunner of his time, because the foresters didn't consider recreation," Stagliano said.
If Marshall were alive today, he may find the challenges to wilderness protection much the same as in his time, but he also would find solace in the land he once walked more than 80 years ago.
Stagliano hopes to have the Bob Marshall trail map complete by early next year.