Each year, you can find a dedicated group of volunteers maintaining the miles of trails in the Bitterroot National Forest. And, they're at it again this year with their first project this weekend.

The heavily used Coyote Coulee Trail #127 and #511 south of Hamilton will be the site of their efforts this Saturday, May 28. The loop trails in the Charlos Heights area will be cleared of downfall and the water bars (which help reduce erosion) will be improved. Then, there's the usual smoothing of some of the route surfaces.

Tod McKay of the Bitterroot National Forest advises hikers and riders to watch out for the volunteer work crews. The work will start about 9 a.m. Saturday. The loop trails are popular for novice horseback riders, but hikers like the path, too, since it's easily accessible and is at a low elevation.

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The local back country horsemen group is one of the first such chapters in the US, starting more than 40 years ago. They work hard every summer, spending hundreds of hours on the projects, mostly in the Bitterroot National Forest.

Another very popular trail system will be their target June 11. The Larry Creek area has a number of trails and they'll all get a little "TLC." A group also will work on a boggy area on the southeast part of the area. It's all part of their goal to ensure stock users access to backcountry and wilderness trails.

Other trails on this year's schedule include Blodgett Creek, Mill Creek, St.Mary's Lookout, Boulder Creek, Fred Burr Upper Trail, East Fork Guard Station and more. If you're interested in joining the efforts, check their website.

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