Llamas & humans team up for trailwork

In July, Teton Valley Trails & Pathways took a group of volunteers deep into the Jedediah Smith Wilderness to work on opening up trails that were blocked by September 2020's crazy windstorm that blew through the Tetons and created significant obstacles for backcountry users. Some trails in the area were impassable. Earlier this year, Trails & Pathways partnered with the Teton Basin Ranger District to establish and train a crew of motivated volunteers to help clear the heavily impacted trails in the Wilderness.  Volunteers attended a Forest Service crosscut saw training course and received a crosscut sawyer certification.  This allows these volunteers to borrow Trails & Pathway’s crosscut saws and gear in order to safely clear trails that they feel are important to Wilderness access. (Chainsaws and power tools are not allowed in the Wilderness.)

Trails & Pathways also partnered with Wilderness Ridge Trail Llamas and Wildland Llamas to establish a backcountry camp on one trail that got hit exceptionally hard by the wind storm.  Twelve llamas and two guides packed in enough gear and food to host 19 workers for four days of trail clearing.  Check out some of the other fun stats from Llama Camp: 

  • Average of 4 miles/day hiking

  • 2000 ft. elevation loss/gain. 

  • 500 cuts with the crosscut saws

  • 250 trees cleared 

  • 7 new rock water bars constructed

  • 1000's of limbs and small trees cleared

This crew of Wilderness Trail Stewards have already logged over 600 volunteer hours this summer and are motivated to continue working on the trails to keep them open for all of us to enjoy.  The carrying power of llamas and support from Wilderness Ridge Trail Llamas and Wildland Llamas makes it possible for us to maintain trails deep in the backcountry. Thank you for your partnership! We also want to thank Teton Basin Ranger District and Kate's Real Food for supporting this trail project.