Mules at UM to Promote Summer Programming
By Moosetrack Megan

Posted: March 24, 2023

Mules at UM to Promote Summer Programming – The U.S. Forest Service Northern Region Pack Train of mules will stroll onto the University of Montana Oval at noon Tuesday, March 28. Its mission: raise awareness of summer course offerings and opportunities as part of the third annual UM Summer Kickoff.


The free meet-the-mules and packing experiential learning event will run for an hour, and members of the media and public are welcome to attend. This pack train appearance is sponsored by the UM Summer Office, the UM College of Humanities & Sciences, Back Country Horsemen of Missoula and the U.S. Forest Service.

Based at the Ninemile Ranger Station outside Missoula, the mules do educational events, help with community service and work for the Forest Service in Montana, Idaho and North Dakota. The pack string will circle the Oval and stop for a packing demonstration. This will be a hands-on experience, where attendees will have the opportunity to try their hand at packing. The mules are led by Robin Connell, the regional pack train manager; Smoke Elser, a local outfitter and conservationist; packers from Back Country Horsemen of Missoula; and UM students. UM administrators will welcome the pack string to campus.

This event is also an opportunity for students, staff and community members to learn about summer courses and opportunities from various UM colleges, departments and local nonprofit community partners. They also can pick up free snacks, promotional information and swag.

Among the classes this summer, students can learn about “Wilderness Policy and Packing” (May 22-June 9) and go on a five-day “Wilderness Pack Trip” (June 12-16) into the Bob Marshall Wilderness with Dr. Eva-Maria Maggi. Scholarships for the pack trip are made available from the Back Country Horsemen of Montana and its local chapters, Grizzly Rider International, the Connie Saylor Memorial Fund of the Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation and UM’s Department of Political Science.

“Summer at UM allows students the unique opportunity to learn in some of the most scenic outdoor classrooms,” said Becka Simons, associate director of UM Summer.

Learn more about UM Summer on its website.

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