Schafer Ranger Station

Flathead National Forest Backcountry Administrative Facilities Historic District

The U.S. Forest Service USFS moved the district headquarters for the Middle Fork drainage to Schafer Ranger Station in 1925. Schafer Creek was one of the few sites in a region noted for its rocky narrow canyons that had the water, building material, and pasture necessary to sustain the facility. The oldest extant building is the log combination office/mess hall, constructed in 1928. A ranger’s house, built in 1933, follows the regional office’s standardized plans and resembles the ranger’s dwelling at Big Prairie. The corral complex, which includes a barn, hay shed, and tack shed, reflects the importance of pack animals to the back country. In 1932, the USFS built an airfield. When Congress authorized the Great Bear Wilderness in 1978, it specifically allowed Schafer Airfield to continue operating for the public. Nevertheless, the USFS uses pack trains to deliver and supply the historic station and guard stations in the Middle Fork, following the same trails used by early rangers and firefighters.

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Flathead National Forest, Hungry Horse, Montana ~ Public