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Bob Marshall Wilderness

Bob Marshall Wilderness - an Introduction

The 1,009,356 acre Bob Marshall Wilderness is located in Northwestern Montana approximately 75 miles west of Great Falls. The "Bob" straddles the Continental Divide with elevations ranging from 4,000 feet along the valley floors to more than 9,000 feet at mountain summits. The Wilderness includes the headwaters of the Flathead River to the west and the Sun River to the east.

Many credit early forester, Wilderness preservation pioneer, and Wilderness Society cofounder Bob Marshall with single-handedly protecting at least 5.4 million acres of wildland. The least he deserves is to have this pristine area named for him. This region, in fact, was set aside as the South Fork, Pentagon, and Sun River Primitive Areas in 1941, and designated the "Bob" in 1964. Here is one of the most completely preserved mountain ecosystems in the world, the kind of Wilderness most people can only imagine: rugged peaks, alpine lakes, cascading waterfalls, grassy meadows embellished with shimmering streams, a towering coniferous forest, and big river valleys.

The Wilderness, which includes the North and South Forks of the Sun River and the Middle and South Forks of the Flathead River, runs for 60 miles along the Continental Divide, with elevations ranging from 4,000 feet to more than 9,000 feet. A huge escarpment called the Chinese Wall, a part of the Divide, highlights the Bob's vast untrammeled beauty, with an average height of more than 1,000 feet and a length of 22 miles. The Chinese Wall extends into Scapegoat Wilderness to the south. The Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex (which encompasses Bob Marshall, Scapegoat, and Great Bear Wildernesses) is the last holdout habitat south of Canada for the grizzly bear, and in my opinion, nothing speaks of Wilderness as eloquently as griz. Sharing turf with the great bears is every species of mammal indigenous to the northern Rocky Mountains, except bison, which once roamed the lower slopes, and woodland caribou, which live farther north.

You'll find more than 1,000 miles of a well-developed trail system, with maintained paths giving way to less well managed trails as you travel deeper into Montana's largest Wilderness. Approximately half of the many visitors to the Bob ride in on horseback.

The Bob Marshall Story
Bob Marshall was a forester, author, explorer and leader in the protection of wild lands throughout America. Before Marshall's untimely death, he spent days, weeks and months hiking the unmapped country known as the South Fork of the Flathead River. By the late 1930s, he had laid out initial plans for the designation of the Wilderness area, which included three separate primitive areas: South Fork, Sun River and Pentagon. Marshall was outspoken about the need for protecting wild lands. Today, he is also looked upon as the moving force behind the creation of the Wilderness Society, which still leads the fight for continued protection of our Wilderness areas.
Marshall convinced federal officials and lawmakers that wilderness should be protected. In 1940, shortly after he died, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture designated as wilderness 950,000 acres surrounding the South Fork of the Flathead, the Sun River Game Preserve, and the Continental Divide.
In 1964, The Wilderness Act was passed by Congress and the Bob Marshall Wilderness received statutory wilderness protection as a part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. Today, more than 750,000 acres of undeveloped, roadless areas still surround the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex.

Geography
The high mountains of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex rise to over 9,000 feet, the highest being Rocky Mountain on the Eastern Front at 9,392. Holland Peak, part of the "Swan Front" on the western edge of the Wilderness, rises to 9,356 feet. In the southern portion of the complex, Scapegoat Mountain towers above that wild country at 9,204 feet.
The valley floors throughout the Wilderness average 4,000 feet in elevation. The Continental Divide, which stretches more than 60 miles along the length of the Wilderness, separates the Bob Marshall into several large headwater drainage areas.

Wildlife
The Bob Marshall Wilderness is home to elk, whitetail and mule deer, and provides critical habitat to the endangered grizzly bears and gray wolves. Canadian lynx, bobcat, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, wolverines and cougars are also found in the area, along with smaller mammals such as beaver, river otters, snowshoe hares and marten. There are dozens of birds who call this area home, especially in the summer. Bald eagles, falcons, hawks, owls, grouse, woodpeckers - they are all abundant here. In camp areas, you'll find Steller's jays, Clark's nutcrackers, camp robbers, chickadees, nuthatches and more.
 


 

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Bob Marshall Wilderness Pack Trips
Tour Code: RTMT01
9 days / 8 nights ~$2,590.00
Dates: Jul-Aug

Trip Rating :
Difficulty : Riding Level (Click for legend) Lodging: Standard
Introduction
Day to Day Itinerary
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Accomodation
Bob Marshall Wilderness - an Introduction
Tack: Western
Horses: Mixed
Pace: Slow, 3 miles per hour. About 4-6 hrs ...
Walk,
Airport: Great Falls International Airport (GTF)
Location on Google Map
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Riding Level Explained
A Beginner
Beginner A rider who has limited experience, is unable to post the trot and does not canter.
B Novice
Novice A rider who is capable of mounting and dismounting unassisted, capable of applying basic aids, comfortable and in control at the walk, moderate length posting trots, and short canters.
C Intermediate
Intermediate A rider who has a firm seat, is confident and in control at all paces (including posting trots, two point canters and gallops), but does not ride regularly.
D Strong Intermediate
Strong Intermediate An intermediate rider who is currently riding regularly and is comfortable in the saddle for at least 6 hours per day.
E Advanced
All of the above, plus an independent seat, soft hands, and capable of handling a spirited horse in open country.
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