Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Local News

Mule Power In The Selway-Bitterroot Wildernes

Cyrus Forman l Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests

Photos provided by Val Armichardy and Heidi Brackebusch

KAMIAH, Idaho: July 26, 2023— Each July, Forest Service packer and teamster, Pete Armichardy, includes a couple of special mules in his pack string. While the all the mules dutifully pack supplies over the 26 rocky miles of trail into the Moose Creek Ranger station, Benny and Joon, are more than just pack animals; they are trained to pull as a team.   With their combined mule muscle, the team helped Pete mow both the Moose Creek and Fish Lake airstrips this summer.   Using traditional stock drawn mowing implements preserves wilderness character while providing safe landing sites at these unique airstrips in Idaho’s Selway Bitterroot Wilderness (SBW).


Constructed in the early 1930’s, the Moose Creek, Fish Lake, and Shearer airstrips in the SBW predate passage of the 1964 Wilderness Act, the legislation which created a National Wilderness Preservation System. These three pre-existing airstrips were retained in the SBW to allow visitors aerial access into its vast, 1.3 million acres, where motorized uses are otherwise prohibited.


Pete and the pack string are part of larger team of dedicated Forest Service employees, volunteers, and partners who work hard to maintain public access and support stewardship of wildlands, through use of traditional skills and tools.

To learn more about Wilderness areas in Idaho, or your home state, visit: