Ed Krumpe, Jim Heidelberger, and Lovina Englund
DescriptionFriends Ed Krumpe (73), Jim Heidelberger (71) and Lovina Englund (42) speak about their passion and love for their work in wilderness conservation.
Subject Log / Time Code
- Ed Krumpe
- Jim Heidelberger
- Lovina Englund
Recording LocationVirtual Recording
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00:01 Hi, my name is Jim heidelberger. I'm 71 years old. Today is Friday, July 10th, 2020. I'm sitting at my dining room table at my home in Moscow, Idaho my friends Ed and lovina are with me today.
00:21 And job
00:27 Hello, I'm Ed. Krumpe. E73. It's Friday, July 10th 2020 and I'm sitting at my daughter's house in Bellingham, Washington. So this connections and ringgit.
00:43 I'm conversing with Jim heidelberger and lovina and their their friends and they've worked with the foundation. We're going to talk about.
00:56 And my name is Lavina England's. I'm 42. And today's date is July 2nd, 2020. I am located at my friend. Jim. Heidelberger is home in Moscow, Idaho where I also reside I'm here with Jen and friends and colleagues.
01:19 Like to ask a question I had with this Foundation almost since the beginning you can give us a little information about why this got started in a little bit about the history of the Selway Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation.
01:38 What you know.
01:41 Declining Federal budgets and a lot of work to do out in the wilderness kind of came together back in the early 2000s wear for service could just barely keep up with the work and keep trails open and and campsites accessible. And so they formed a volunteer Group which has later become a nonprofit organization the Selway Bitterroot Frank Church foundation. And at first we were just people that volunteered to go out and work on trails and working the Wilderness in and assist the for service but we've grown we now have a wonderful education program where we bring on interns college students that are interested in natural resources. And this is real life work experience. We provide many opportunities more than a dozen a year for the public to sign up and work on a crew.
02:39 And then we have other opportunities for volunteers to work with so it's a it's been quite a while an organization to work with our slogan is boots-on-the-ground New Politics. We're just focus on getting work done and that's very attractive to a lot of people.
02:58 Ed you mention Wilderness, how does that differ from just like a national forest?
03:04 Some other designation Federal designation just like National Park that Wilderness can be on for service Your Land Management Park service or fish and wildlife service land and it has to be more than 5,000 acres in completely undeveloped. So there are no roads. There's been no major development or mining or cities or towns are bridges or anything like that. And so in 1964 was the intent of Congress to say there's so few places like that left that we we need to have a designation will designate a place Wilderness and it'll be protected forever from motorized vehicles machinery and chainsaws in and it'll just be wild when it's accessible by foot. And so that's that's where the first nation in the world to come up with such a designation and it's
04:04 Idaho has blessed with the almost 4 million Acres spread across the state has designated wilderness.
04:12 Dimensions of volunteer work we do. The vine has been out on a number of projects with the Selway Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation. We want to hear for the last many years. If you could tell us what it's about there being a volunteer what's like a typical day out there in the wilderness organization and something that is really deeply ingrained in me. Is this kind of notion of giving back and as I really just Avid outdoor person. I feel like one of the things that is holding on all of us this finding some time to be able to make sure that we're paying it forward a little bit. Edmonton, you know declining Budget Suite realize that there's a lot of there's a lot of reasons why volunteers are really important in the hole
05:12 Way that are Wilderness system works. And so for me, it's it's been a lot about taking a week off of work and going out to my happy place and really stepping away from all of the things that happen when you have a busy career and that is largely an adapter for an opportunity to just go out a little bit and feel like you're giving back in a way that is really important. Not only to just my own selfish reasons of wanting to have trails that are open and and and spending that time out in nature where I feel like that's really recharging my batteries, but it's also just a lot about paying it forward with the future generations and this connection that is there between
06:12 The volunteers and the intern program is incredibly empowering to be a part of because I believe wholeheartedly that these young people are the future thought leaders in terms of the environment and the way that we can practice.
06:37 Wilderness thought leadership and and really stewardship of land and conservation values and Grain in the neck with my friends and colleagues. There's always a group of us that Jim generally organizes that comes from my hometown and it's really a chance to kick back away from the NuWave really it's really remote. It's really rugged. It's really magical. So I think that that's what drives me to do at year after year is just the opportunity to give back and to participate in such a thoughtful organization that has a partnership with the forest service to provide these incredible Recreation opportunities to all of us.
07:37 Jim Yukon out probably more of these Volunteer Trail Crews than almost anybody. I know that them.
07:46 How do you know what to do? How do you know what to do? How do I mean most people don't know how to use a cross-cutting and what did you eat it pretty well, but he got signed up just by going to a Saint Patrick's Day party and got to talk about backpacking and one of the members of the board happen to be at the party. She gave me a name of a guy named John down in Boise. I contacted having signed up for the trip. That's kind of over email without knowing what I was getting into, there was probably 12 of us or so way out in the middle of the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness and I talked way out. I'm talking two hours past the end of any pavement and
08:35 It took that the evening. I really know who what was going on. I didn't know who was in charge. I didn't even know it was the Selway Bitterroot Foundation, which is what it was the time but the Wilderness the same as with some people consider the people you said she had Crosscut saws they demonstrated and then they let us try it and they supervise dust then we got into axes and loppers and everything in between. So we got a lot of training on the ground and I'm from Detroit originally, so I did nothing at walk backwards tools, but they bring you up to speed and it's pretty safe and it's it's not rocket science either once you get into it and give it a try the food. We have a camp cook lady named Sarah who lives in Moscow here was the camp cook in
09:35 I think I work so hard that week for eight or nine hours a day. And I think I still gain weight. It was incredible. It was that breakfast lunch and dinner and snacks and the quality of the food was great in the quantity and the camaraderie was great. So it was quite a good first experience. So I keep coming back.
10:02 So how do you get all that stuff in there? I mean, it's pretty old, but it sounds like you were there for our friends showed up about 3, cuz we work our camping the first couple days and they have a team of mules. So we hiked in about six mile Uber Camp up their Trail about 6 Mi and these mules carried all the kitchen equipment some of the heavier things like are cats. So we hiked in with fairly light backpack and the mules did the rest of the work for us and then they stayed with us the rest of the week and all of our stuff out for us at the end of the hitch the years ago for about a week at a time. Sometimes. It's kind of ranges from Florida 10-day. Typically, it's 7 days out there.
10:56 Lovina was asking you who I was when you first signed up. Was there anything about the Wilderness is very remote. Most people in this country probably will never go as remote as some of the places we've been but are things out there that scare you like that injuries or animals or people out of people ask about bears or whatever are things out there that make you a prehensile over and out there in the wilderness.
11:23 You know, I think a lot about the Wilderness experience is a very personal adventure and I
11:31 Being an experienced Backpackers didn't particularly feel scared or trepidation. I think that there's this Solace that comes with being with a group of people and assimilated to there's this kind of care and camaraderie that comes with being part of this group of volunteers and interns from the SPF see that there's a lot of care exuded there there. There's always someone who is leading the way so that we know where we're headed and can kind of make sure that everyone is staying well-hydrated and well-rested and well-nourished and then there's always someone kind of picking up the heels that make sure that if you know, somebody's getting sore feet or just needs extra breaks that they are being cared for and kind of brought along with the rest of the group. So there's no sense of fear or urgency that
12:31 Makes it feel uncomfortable it it's very you're very graciously hosted while you're out in this wonderful landscape Bend. We've had some you know, we've certainly had some interactions with Wildlife but that's part of the experience. That's part of what makes it why we want to be out there and you know, it's there's a lot of times. What are there is Chatter and you know that when their voices are you note taking a little bit of that sound barrier into the surrounding landscape a lot of the animals detect that in get pretty far away from you. There's also a lot of really quiet time for all you hear is, you know, the birds chirping and you can hear Creeks off in the distance that you might be Crossing and it's really fun in the mule team comes up behind you and you know, you hear the the child of their host and you know that they're doing all the work for you and it's like or friends
13:31 So I think there's never been out there, digging a little bit annoyed. I've never had any fear or trepidation.
13:54 Become aware of like thoughtful placement of your feet and when you're running the Crosscut saw, you know, and they share with you how to make sure that you're safe. And you know, what? Could you get an injury everybody's very much. I'm keenly keeping eyes on one another and it feels very safe. Both of you mentioned about these places being large and remote and just you know, for people that don't know about the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness or the Frank Church River of No, Return Wilderness, it's hard to imagine how big they are. I mean the Selway Bitterroot is 1.3 million Acres without a road. That's 2100 square miles in the franxx.
14:54 The bigger the Frank is actually a little bit larger than Yellowstone National Park without a road. It's 2.4 million acres is 3700 square miles in like he's like, Jim said you have to travel on gravel roads sometimes for 2 hours just to get to the trailhead to get started hiking. So these are really large remote places and it takes takes a lot of boots on the ground keep these Trails accessible to the public order on one another What's the total square mileage? I just looked this up this morning for the for the fun of it the size of these to Wilderness areas larger than the state of Connecticut. That's larger than Rhode Island, Delaware and Washington DC combined for the East Coast people.
15:52 What kind of geographic area were talking about here close to two decades the work about done a couple of weeks. We'll have two times. We cleared it out for about 8 Miles and 2 years later. There was an incredible blow down in the spring and we went on it again. So there is no shortage of work workers always a big storms in the winter throughout the year trees are dying and falling over. So of all the things that we might be concerned about running out of work is not on the list. We probably should we try to keep as many trails as we can open, but it's an ongoing effort.
16:52 Will be for decades to come things. We have the force of in dryer. There's been massive forest fires go through these areas and that leaves dead standing trees that eventually after a few years The Roots rot and they blow down and then sometimes you'll have wind storms blow them down as we actually had to cut out as many as 200 trees in 1 mile Trail has fallen across the trail virtually impassable and until the crew arrives. So and her husband Carl and I ran into that up in Western Montana right on the Selway Bitterroot. What's for 5 years ago, so I know what you're talking about. It's overwhelming.
17:45 But you taking water to time.
17:52 I had a chance to
17:54 The child as a volunteer with fasd and and it has not been very many here since 5 and I'll take you back but the gratitude that I feel for the people that get out there and do the hard work. It's really felt when you're trying to check the miles.
18:20 Whenever you're walking on the trail in the woods after doing this across the trail and you think some unknown person cuz it's pretty young and healthy to do this.
18:35 Well, it probably helps but I'm past being young and I'm still healthy and I'm still doing 71. I'm usually the oldest one almost always the oldest one out there that the Rangers are from 19.
18:53 All Season what's experience but there are people from 1971 out there the first couple days it takes a little bit that you know, what's this person like or that how's it going to be once you get out there with my rear? So you're a team you're all on the same page for helping each other. This is really quite a credible team building your building experience when she get out there if I can just share a quick story when we went the big Sand Lake in last weekend at a young woman named Charles not Cheryl Washington State University is working really hard out there and she seemed to be having fun, but it wasn't sure. So after about day 3 I came up to her at the end of the day. I said Charles you doing okay with this?
19:51 Yeah, I know and she looked at me and she said this is the most fun I've ever had in my life and she just meant that it was like this was so great for her to be out there working hard and then heating why work experience for her so lot of people experience.
20:18 Is the wilderness?
20:21 The same as what some people consider.
20:26 What would I mean? No, they're not the same in that Wilderness Wilderness is officially designated and protected in perpetuity. So only Congress can create a wellness and only have taken full Act of both houses of Congress to deregulated Williams.
20:45 So there's lots of roadless land with in national forests and and your Land Management in the desert places where people can backpacking enjoy that Wilderness has a special permanent protection forever Under The Loft. In fact, it's it's it's considered a Hallmark of conservation legislations passed in 1964. The Wilderness act every single Wilderness in America has to come in under a vote of Congress and the Senate and signature by the president. And so it's a lot of debate and discussion involved and then once they're most of their they're protected, but you will not find will not find roads and restaurants are any of those kind of facilities. It's it's truly Wild open country accessible life with Baxter.
21:38 I think just to add I think a lot of people think about the backcountry is places that they can go skiing and what's really unique about Wilderness hear us talk about using hand tools. And one of the provisions is that there's absolutely no motorized anything that's allowed in Wilderness. And so that's where it becomes the contiguous block of ultimate quiet and and a reprieve from technology or any man-made sound really because and rice equipment about internet or cell phone not uncommon for us to lose access to Internet or cell phone just driving between towns. But out there. There's ultimately know there's no connection. We we check in every day.
22:38 Morning, and evening through a handheld radio that things off of for service Towers so that we can make sure that that were staying connected but if anybody ever
23:03 That's one of the nice things that the campfire at night nobody's running off to check their email or to text their buddy or two. I'm here all their front and center just gathered around the entire from before dinner to bedtime.
23:25 The other turns out there too, and I know it will I know you work with a number of different Insurance in that dress that a little bit and make that you have in particular on.
23:36 What the internet has had on there?
23:43 It's a really incredible experience and an opportunity for them and that these are interns that are coming from all over the country many of them apply because they have an affinity for the Wilderness that is in the west. And I think that they ought to each Bring Your Own Story bring their own set of skills and qualities that add to the team to the experience. And with what I think is probably my biggest takeaway is that I I look I look at these interns as you know, as friends by the end of the captain you really get to the point where you you look at them and you think like cos I hope that you think of me as highly as I think of you and
24:42 Some of them might even had the opportunity to something to after having this experience with them to the spfc in particular who worked with the University of Idaho student. I had the occasion to bump into her and it was just like this like, oh my gosh, it's you and look at how clean you are. You look really different that your hair is washed and it sounds like this is what you look like when you're in your normal life, but in so it actually really I feel like a strong affinity for the relationships that I build with them, but you'll so positive about where they're going to wear. This has shaped them in some way and it's truly I think.
25:42 Middle stay with them for their entire life. So they're there the whole summer.
25:48 There I just got a list of the things that the interns learn before they hit the ground. They they come together from all over the country. Like Lavina said they meet in Missoula Montana and they have three or four weeks of training before they turn them loose out in the wilderness that they go through a 72-hour Wilderness first responder course, very costly to us the time.
26:26 That is I think a little more than Advanced first aid.
26:32 I'm not sure exactly what all is entailed in Wilderness first responder, but it is a medical certification kind of course where you go through it. So it's 650 bucks per person. So I'm a pretty good. I'm hoping it is they also get Crosscut certification through the u.s. Forest service. They work on leadership skills communication skills, they both training use of the Wilderness tools like we do on our first day of our
27:01 Volunteer trips, they get some classroom work about the Wilderness act in the history of wilderness. They get trained on camp site monitoring leave no trace and how to pack or a pack animals. They spend a half a day like packing up on the ground putting all the tools and gear in those canvas things. You have to tie at a certain way in the second half of the day figure out how to put these packs on the mules without getting kicked to hurt or hurting them. You all stuff they get a lot of credit when they hit the ground they are incredibly well prepared for their experience.
27:45 We're talking with the other night.
27:49 It's really up by the time you get about Day to you realize how much they know and how much you don't know until you're here. You are taking orders from a twenty-two-year-old or you're asking them how to do things and it did my age. It's really very comforting to know we're handing over the reins to some young people who are really competent really nice. And then yeah you go for it. Take over tell me how to do this. Help me out.
28:18 Yeah, that's great.
28:22 You know that the scope of what we're talkin about.
28:28 Groups of maybe ten or a dozen volunteers and end in the intern program with a Wilderness fellows. We call them. We typically only have about 10 of those but people from communities come to work on these projects and since we're working with and for the forest service, we have to keep track of all the work that's done. And so last year they cut 14600 trees. I'm sorry 14600 hours of volunteer time spent they cut 10800 trees. I mean that's a lot of work all contributed because people want to give back and help conservation. It's it's just the sounding the amount of work and they maintained over 500 4 miles of Trail which is impressive but the two wildernesses have well over 3000 miles of foot Trail. So it's it's really quite an undertaking.
29:29 Play the ad that we don't cut almost never do we cut a tree down unless it's like leading across the trail dangerously 99% at least of what we do is cutting trees that are laying across the trail. We're not doing the Lumberjack thing. Where were cutting trees down.
29:49 So if anybody would say about getting out there going to be falling big trees or cutting things that are obstructing the existing trails.
30:01 Ed you have any sense for where we're going from here as far as the Selway Bitterroot Frank Church foundation in the future might hold.
30:14 We rely on we get a reply from any grants for sources of the support for this summer from the four service some of the organizations but we're trying to diversify income sources because it takes takes quite a bit of effort to to orchestrate this much work in this many people in this many miles of getting to trailheads work were getting more involved in education programs. We now have an endowment fund set up that will provide funds to teachers that requested for almost anything they want to do in your curriculum relative to the concept of wilderness and conservation. So if they want to do a field trip wore my some new library books, whatever we have the small grant program.
31:09 Where were constantly working within the the many small communities? It's around this area Sammy Boise and Missoula are the only large cities within driving range, but there's many small towns and we will do all we can to connect with people in those towns and and get support volunteers. So, you know where we're we're we're growing but growth isn't SAR.
31:45 It isn't our purpose our purpose is to do find conservation work, but we find that with that we can do more as we spread out and get better known and solicit more support.
32:03 Yes, I know you mentioned. The number of people were dealing with executive director. Sally. Send me an email the other day and mentioned that we got a hundred and sixty volunteers last year total for the for the organization. I never would have guessed it was that many but there was quite a few trips and they all fill up with tears to lose a lot of folks that were able to recruit to help us with the walk work in the wilderness.
32:34 Oh, I know. I was wondering if you were talking to somebody who is considering volunteering what one thing or what things might you tell them to steer them one way or other but you asked that because I feel like I'm always popular like things like that and I think it also I try to encourage people who might not have a Wilderness experience background to think about it as well. But I guess I think that when I asked people to consider this experience and to consider this boots-on-the-ground approach to Wilderness activity, I think a lot about the fact that there's people who were willing to you know, there's people who are willing to pay to get away and are willing to pay for experience.
33:34 That is really remotes and sort of guided so to speak and this is this is actually I think almost like a little bit of a secret treasure because there is again this this wonderful supported trip. We're nowhere else if I ever had as much good food as far out as we are, you know, sometimes where you no more than 10 miles from where we park the pickup and we're eating, you know, Wonderful food and the camaraderie is
34:14 Pretty invaluable. There's Priceless like the amount of there's nothing like being on the partner end of a Crosscut saw with someone that you maybe didn't know it all a few days prior and there you are just sort of in synchronous Unison taking this really large diameter tree that's on across the trail and you come up on it. And you think there's no way we're going to you know, there's no way that this thing down. And so I think it's a lot of it is about just that feeling of being out and away and giving back and being physical. I think that there's far too many of us who live in towns and communities in the Comforts of our home and just continue as access to technology. There's nothing like breaking away and getting out there.
35:14 And working really hard feeling your muscles feeling your body in motion. And then you look up above the sweat line on your sunglasses and you're like, holy cow. Just look at where I am, you know, and there's some pretty remarkable scenery out there that makes you feel sort of strip stricken by the beauty where you're like, how can I possibly be in this beautiful of a place in and you know, great weather because it's during the summer time and so those are some of the things that I try to spell people just get in people's given a Minute Taste of it. Once they have the appetite and then they keep coming back coming up. I think Just For Men for women on that trip our staff we have four staff members are all women are interns are usually at least half women.
36:14 It's kind of nice to be promoting women's roles in the wilderness getting 40 years ago. I probably would have been a bunch of rugged, you know guys out there with her plaid shirts and a really kind of expanded that and it's been to the benefit of our foundation for sure and also to getting women and some leadership roles in the wilderness inviting some school groups out. There's been a group from Iowa typically 12
36:46 High school kids that will come in and work for a week. And then we've also worked with a with an inner-city group from the Bronx which is amazing adventure for them. Let me just getting to Idaho has an adventure for them and then they say we're going we're then after about a day or so. They're just they're just loving it. And yeah, it it it it inspires them these these interns or there's Wellness fellows as we call them.
37:19 Bitterroot college students, there's just not many chances to get this type of experience before service and parts service hire seasonal employees, but it's so confused. There's so much competition to get one of these jobs and we provide this intensive training and then all summer long they're going out on 10-day hitches and then they're off for 4 to recover do laundry in their back for another 10 days and it's a transformative experience if it has changed lives as soon as they're gone on for their masters degree in their summer work. So they've gone to work for for three of the federal agencies afterwards to be based on their experience. So it's been, you know, being a board member and past chair of the board. It's there's a lot of paperwork and you know stuff that the board has to do to keep this organization running, but then when you
38:19 What are these people when see them especially when you see them at the end of the season? It's it's makes it all worth it.
38:30 Are the safe for anybody that might just as listening that needs more information on our website is selway-bitterroot. Org all the information background upcoming trips events anything that you may want to know if you would like further information about an organization.
38:53 Yeah, and there's a video there. I believe this describes the internship experience.
39:05 Anything else
39:07 No, I just like to I just like to thank both of you for having this discussion. I think we all actually just gives us a warm feeling to recall some of those blisters and hard work and like you said, you know as we age it's it's nice to know that the trails are still open and will be kept open and that's were passing the torch show young people that are enthusiastic and actually have some training in and dedication. I'm feeling pretty pretty good about that.
39:45 Well, I think God must be but he has anything else. I think it's a wrap.