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FSPW honors volunteer



by Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness

Annie Gassman is one of those people who prefers action over talk. Over the years, she has put that attitude to work volunteering for Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness, educating and informing people about our wild backyard. Her volunteer work is extensive, which is exactly why she's the FSPW Old Goat of 2020. Announced Wednesday at the annual State of the Scotchmans event, held this year over a social-distanced internet stream, the Old Goat award is the highest FSPW volunteer honor.

Annie plays a pivotal role in the Winter Tracks program in Lincoln County, spreading an appreciation for nature in the process. She's shared her knowledge of wilderness through guided hikes. Her welcoming personality at the Kootenai Harvest Festival, on top of the work she puts in on the planning committee, shows her commitment to the community.

Annie is the epitome of a volunteer of the year. With a nod to Mr. Scotchman, the iconic monarch of the mountains, we call our highest award recipient the "Old Goat." This name reflects the spirit of our volunteers, not necessarily their age or attitude!

While Gassman's award was the highlight of the evening, there was plenty of reason to catch the State of the Scotchmans. The event honored other valued volunteers, including John and Susan Harbuck, Anick Baribeau, Katie Raborn-Dale, Irv McGeachy, Matt Nykiel, Howard and Connie Shay and Ed Robinson. FSPW executive director Phil Hough updated attendees on the work the Friends have done in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. That includes the new wilderness podcast Your Wild Place, available to download or stream at And FSPW program coordinator Autumn Lear explained how the Friends are organizing a summer trails and volunteer season with safety and productivity in mind. To be a part of FSPW's summer season, visit


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