For the past few years I have been doing trail work deep in the wildernesses of Idaho and Montana. The majority of my work has been logging-out trails, which is where you cut and clear a log that is obstructing a trail. It’s extremely fun work and mentally stimulating. For the first month or so of this season, Steena and I logged-out trails in the Holy Cross Wilderness as well (before the snow melted and allowed us to get up into our base camp area). But now, we’ve made the switch by diving head-first into rock work up in the fragile alpine ecosystem. There are some obvious differences between rock work and logging-out, but there is one thing I wanted to share that’s not so obviously different between them. And that is the idea of permanence. Logging-out a trail is an extremely important aspect of conservation work, but I’ve always struggled with the impermanence of it. It has to be done, yet as soon as a trail is clear of all down logs, another will fall. On the flip side, rock work provides me with the ability to do work that has a lasting impression.


We spent this past week working with volunteers on the Holy Cross summit trail, just above tree line. Our work that was completed in 4 days for that section should last 100 years. I’m finding this work to be much more rewarding and fulfilling towards my desire for permanence.


Will Merritt

This will be my first season with CFI! Originally from Maryland, I moved out West to Missoula, MT two years ago to do trail work for the Montana Conservation Corps. After two seasons there, I decided to seek a change of scenery, where I ended up in Colorado to help protect the unique, fragile and beautiful alpine ecosystems. On my off days, you can find me in Minturn this season. Come say hi!