From Your Ranger

To all outfitted visitors in the Helena, Lewis and Clark, and Lolo National Forests and the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex:

Congratulations on selecting a professional outfitter to provide assistance in your National Forest adventure! He or she is a knowledgeable and skilled public service partner of the Forest Service, operating under a Special Use authorization. Guides employed by your outfitter are also trained to provide expert service and educational information on the unique attributes of this area. I encourage you to ask many questions about the natural and human history of the area you’re visiting. Your outfitter and guide can explain the plants, animals, geology, early stories of inhabitants, and the resource management objectives of the area in order to add to your enjoyment and understanding.

I trust you will assist us by taking some common sense care of yourself and the National Forest lands during your stay. Keep safety in mind and observe the tips provided by your outfitter and guide. Leave nothing behind, not even micro trash such as a gum wrapper. Follow sanitary procedures such as burying human waste in a shallow hole, preferably 200 feet from water. If you smoke or need to make a campfire, be extremely careful that both are totally extinguished. Leave everything you discover and all natural features for others to also discover as you found them.
Your trip is into one of the special places classified by Congress as Wilderness, where “wildness” is the hallmark. The Wilderness Act of 1964 states;“ A Wilderness, in contrast to those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where earth and the community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain… an area of Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions…”

In Wilderness, our mission is to let nature rule unchained to the greatest degree possible, provide outstanding opportunities for solitude and primitive recreation, and strive to leave no trace of our passing through the land and water. Motorized uses are generally excluded. It is a place where visitors are expected to challenge themselves in order to perform the basic task of living. You should understand that as you move farther from “Main Street” into more remote country, you are accepting some additional risk just as your forefathers did. Your outfitter and guide are skilled in providing safe travel and instruction, but emergency services are not always immediately available.
I hope you have one of the treasured experiences of a lifetime. That is the desire of your outfitter and those of us working to manage the National Forests.


Your District Ranger