Thursday, May 10, 2012

Backcountry Skills Classes Open to Public at Ninemile Wildlands Training Center

Instructors at the Ninemile Wildlands Training Center (NWTC) located at the historic Ninemile Ranger Station in the Lolo National Forest are reminding interested members of the public that over 20 courses in traditional hands-on backcountry and historic preservation skills are available to them. Courses are open to the public as well as agency personnel.

The district has been offering the classes since 1988, many of which provide a unique opportunity to learn through hands-on and classroom instruction the art of backcountry travel, cooking and camping. The instructors include well-known outfitter Smoke Elser.

Classes currently being offered include: Horsemanship, Horse Handling and Training, Leave No Trace, and the popular Ninemile Packing Clinic which focusses on stock-oriented traditional skills. Also instructing in the program are retired Northern Region packer Bob Hoverson and Ninemile ranch manager, and packer Marc Haskins.

Ninemile is also pleased to offer Historic Preservation, Dutch Oven Cooking, Traditional Hand Tools and Backcountry Survival courses. “Students learn through hands-on experiences...ranging from log structure repair on the historic Monture Guard Station to packing on our Northern Region Pack Train mules,” said Laura Johnson, who oversees the NWTC. “This is a unique opportunity to learn backcountry skills from some of the best in the business.”

Tuition for the classes ranges from $125 for Dutch Oven Cooking to $900 for Advanced Packing. Horsemanship classes range from $200 - $300 for two to three day clinics. The Ninemile Packing clinic tuition is $450.

Registration for classes is now open. Please contact the Ninemile Ranger District at (406) 626-5201 or visit

Hiking in

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