Connie and Mack Long
Montana is blessed with many invaluable natural resources on her landscape. Some of the most splendid and magnificent resources, vistas and pristine areas are those found in wilderness. Mack and Connie have developed a deep appreciation for them and want to be able to share that wealth with those that otherwise might not be able to enjoy them.
Connie took her first wilderness pack trip with Mack over 25 years ago. Since then, she has taken numerous educational classes to further her passion for visiting the wilderness on horseback. She is a past president of Missoula Back Country Horsemen and currently is the Montana State Chairman. She is a Leave No Trace (Stock) Master Instructor and has taught numerous students over the years. She began guiding in 2007. Connie is a BSN trained Registered Nurse and maintains an active license with the State of Montana and stays up to date with current medical practices.
Mack has BS degrees in Fish and Wildlife Biology and Administration of Justice. He has worked professionally for over 30 years managing, protecting and perpetuating the natural resources of Montana. During his years in fish and wildlife management throughout the state, he has been fortunate to work in every wilderness area in Montana. As a result, he has logged thousands of miles in the backcountry on horses and mules. Mack is also a Leave No Trace (Stock) Master Instructor and has taught Wilderness Skills since 2001.
Both Connie and Mack are active in Wilderness protection and education.
We can’t thank Smoke and Thelma Elser enough for being our mentors, friends and advisers. They have shared with us their nearly 60 years of outfitting experience, knowledge and history. To say that their help and guidance is priceless is an understatement. Smoke still goes with us on pack trips whenever he can and continues to work hard for the wilderness he loves. Smoke is the author of Packing in on Horses and Mules. This is a book that anyone who wants to be a packer should read. It has been in print for 3 decades and is used as a reference book for several classes, including his own Packing Class that he holds every January to March.
Chris is our lead packer, wrangler and guide. He is very experienced which makes him a real asset. He is great to have around camp and is always willing to carry on a conversation, help you get ready to go fishing or taking you for a day ride. Chris works his summers and fall for us and then uses his skills as a cabinet maker working in his family cabinetry business.
Jackson is currently a student at the University of Montana. He worked his first summer for us in 2014 and plans to be back in the wilderness with us again this year, 2015. Jackson helps with the pack string, setting up camp and caring for the stock while we are in the wilderness. He is willing to give a helping hand anywhere needed. In the evening, around the campfire, Jackson is a very talented guitar player and sings. He is developing a real love for the wilderness and is taking classes at the university to enhance his knowledge of protection, preservation and resource management.
Jewell Case is in her first year with us at BMWO. Jewell graduated from the University of Rochester in 2011 with a degree in Environmental Studies. She has always had a special desire to ride and work with horses and mules. She has worked as a wrangler in Alaska, Glacier Park and most recently leading mule rides down the Grand Canyon. She will be working as one of our cooks and wrangling. She loves wild places and is an excellent addition to our crew.
J R Bathum
We welcome J.R. to his first year with us at BMWO. J.R. is currently a law student and is in his last year at the University of Montana. As a wrangler, J.R. will be packing mules, setting up camp, and managing stock in backcountry camps. He worked several summers in Yellowstone National Park and the Lee Metcalf Wilderness of southwest Montana. While in the backcountry, J.R. works on framing landscape photography and penning western poetry.
Andee came to help us the summer of 2015 for the first time. She has several years of working for another outfitter while she was going to school working on an RN degree. She is working at a hospital in the Mission Valley. Andee loves the wilderness and the outfitting business. She is always looking for a trip where she can come and help. She is well rounded in her skills where she is able to help with the stock wrangling and in the camp kitchen. We are very lucky to have her on board and will use her help whenever she can.
Avery is Mack and Connie’s grandson. He joined the crew in 2015. He is currently 9 years old and spent 21 days in the wilderness on pack trips the summer of 2015. Avery is quickly becoming a valuable crew member. He helps our guests set up their cots, pitch their tents, he helps in the kitchen and he works with the wranglers in caring for the stock while in camp. He has learned that he loves fishing and will be soon a valuable fishing guide.
Oliver is also Mack and Connie’s grandson. Oliver is currently 7 year years old. He hasn’t been able to go on the wilderness trips just yet, but he is apprenticing with the behind the scenes chores of getting a trip ready to go.
Jeff is a great asset in every aspect of the outfit. Jeff helps with planning, packing, wrangling and is a valued adviser to our business. Jeff was a wrangler and packer for Smoke Elser some 35 years ago while attending the University of Montana. Jeff has his Ph.D and worked as a research biologist in Australia for nearly 30 years. When he’s not busy with us he teaches Anatomy & Physiology and has a Biological Education and Research consulting business.