Help out with natural building projects and lodging operations just outside Glacier National Park, USA


United States

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    within 3 days

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 Min stay requested: at least a week

  • Description


    For many years I worked as a historic preservation carpenter in Glacier National Park, restoring and maintaining patrol cabins, fire lookouts, and chalets. A few years ago I settled on a one acre plot outside the park, and in 2017 I started up a small, laid back lodging operation and also started building a small house for myself. I also started hosting on workaway that year, seeking help on those projects and others. So far I've hosted over a dozen workawayers from all over the world. It's been an amazing experience and I look forward to making some wonderful new connections this year.

  • Type of help

    Type of help

    General Maintenance
    Cooking / shopping
    Help with Eco project
    Help in the house

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Glacier National Park is the big draw to this area, and if you enjoy hiking, backpacking, and generally being outside, there are few better places to do it. I can testify that if you spend 2 or 3 months here, you won't feel like you spent too long in one place and lost an opportunity somehow to see or do more elsewhere. I've been here over a decade and it hasn't gotten old. The mountains, rivers, lakes, and forests offer endless opportunities to explore, reflect, and relax. I know the area well and can point you in the right direction for whatever you're looking for as well.

    While the work days will be spent on my quiet property tucked up against a forest, you also will not feel isolated. The area has a youthful energy in the summer as people come from all over the world to work and vacation. Though it's not really a hostel scene it can almost feel like it sometimes if you go into the local bars and restaurants; you'll hear languages and accents and meet people from all over. The social environment has been a draw for me over the years nearly as much as the natural environment.

    These are all great reasons to come to this area generally, but why come volunteer with me specifically? I've been here over a decade and I know the area and the people well; for those of you who are on the road and are looking to stop for less than an entire summer in Glacier, I can give you the insider scoop and help you hit many of the highlights it took me several seasons to cover. And if you're interested in a longer stay, my local knowledge plus the extra free time you get from the workaway commitment will allow you to be immersed in the summer in Glacier in a way that few people have the chance to, myself included.

  • Help


    As for the projects this year: at this point, the house is nearly finished, however there may still be some finishing touches this summer. The main focus this year will be the continued operation and expansion of the lodging enterprise, which has happily been quite successful so far. It's been rewarding to offer a low-cost, stripped down place for visitors to Glacier to stay the night and perhaps experience a taste of a simpler, closer-to-nature lifestyle.

    Toward that end, I anticipate setting up a yurt for guests on a nearby property this year. There will also be opportunities to work on maintenance, landscaping, and gardening projects at both locations, as well as managing the day to day aspects of cleaning, guest interaction, etc. There will be a wide range of tasks available and I'm flexible in delegating these according to each persons skills, comfort level, and interests. If time allows, I will also potentially start construction on one or more cordwood buildings, using the same natural building technique I've employed for my own small house.

    If you don't have any building experience but are looking to learn, cordwood masonry is a great place to start. It's a simple building method that anyone can master rather quickly. It's a satisfying feeling to finish a day of work and be able to see the results. See for more info (this is the website of Rob Roy, the preeminent cordwood building guru).

  • Languages spoken

    Languages spoken

    English; un poquito Espanol

  • Accommodation


    Live lightly on the earth in a camping style set up, but with all the modern convenience of running water, electricity, wifi, etc.). You may be provided with a large tent, a pop-up camper, or perhaps even an outbuilding you help to construct. I do have an "outhouse" with a flushing toilet, an outdoor hot shower, and an outdoor kitchen.

    As for food, basic staples will be available to you, and naturally the longer you are around, the more input you will have on what's inside the pantry and how it's prepared. I don't have any dietary restrictions myself but of course they can be accommodated. However, my next point: I envision dinner being a "family" affair most often, with the crew taking turns cooking for everyone else and hopefully showing off. If it's my turn you can expect some good Mexican food perhaps, or something from the crock pot; beans, lentils, stews, etc.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?


  • ...

    Hours expected

    20 to 25 per week

Gunsight Pass trail
East wall of the octagonal cordwood house
Mt. Wilbur and Swiftcurrent Lake, Many Glacier valley
Cordwood wall panel in progress
Grizzly bear resting in the snow
Workawayers Ali, Julien, and Pierre in front of their most recently cordwood wall panel
Summit of Mt. Siyeh

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Accuracy of profile: (5.0)

Cultural exchange: (5.0)

Communication: (4.7)

Host ref number: 747661817527

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