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Ninemile classes on backcountry skills begin

Published On: Apr 05 2013 09:37:16 PM MDT   Updated On: Apr 05 2013 10:48:33 PM MDT

The historic Ninemile Ranger Station is not only is an important piece of Montana firefighting history, it’s a key asset in efforts to train the public for the future in backcountry skills.

In response to severe fires in 1910 and again in the '20s, the U.S. Forest Service built a Remount Station about 35 miles west of Missoula, to breed and corral essential pack mules and horses. Today, the animals are still needed.

There's no motorized travel allowed in wilderness areas.  Regions like the Bob Marshall and Great Bear Wildness are as pristine and remote as the days when Lewis and Clark roamed the landscape, mapping the western frontier.

Today emergency trail closures and washouts still require supplies to fix bridges and support firefighters.

In 1999 Congress opened the door to public training on the skills necessary for backcountry travel. 

Now people from as far away from Norway come to Ninemile to take courses in axemanship, packing, horsemanship and dutch oven cooking.

More than 22 backcountry survival and skill classes start Monday April 8 and run through August.

For more information, you can call 626-5201 or click here for more information from the U.S. Forest Service