Finally, some sun.
If you’re not out enjoying recreating on Helena’s trails today, you could be out helping sustain them.
Outdoor enthusiasts from all over Montana, and all over the nation, will be celebrating National Trails Day today by participating in trail improvement projects, hikes and trail dedications.
“We are seeing Montana’s trails becoming more connected and accessible with every project that nears completion,” said Beth Shumate, Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ trails grants coordinator. “We have over 18,000 miles of urban and backcountry trails in the state now, and that is something to celebrate.”
In Helena, the Prickly Pear Land Trust is teaming up with the Montana Conservation Corps for a trail work day today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Mount Helena. The group will meet at the main Mount Helena trailhead at Reeder’s Village for some trail maintenance and noxious weed management.
Several other activities will take place across the state. Event organizers encourage everyone to stop in and take part or learn more about trail opportunities.
“Wherever you find yourself this weekend, get out and enjoy some of Montana’s 18,000 miles of recreational trails,” said Shumate.
Montana State Parks will recognize the Town of Darby for its efforts on the Trail of Discovery by presenting a $35,000 grant from the Recreational Trails Program. The ceremony will be held at noon at the Darby trailhead (adjacent to Darby High School on Cole Avenue) followed by a community picnic and a trail walk.
The Darby Trails Committee has worked hard over the past few years to secure funding to develop a safe and accessible trails system that provides connectivity to various locations throughout the community. Darby has secured approximately $90,000 in grants and raised an additional $80,000 through fundraisers and donations over the past four years. The town has developed an extensive trails system on a very ambitious schedule and on a shoestring budget, thanks to the assistance of numerous, dedicated volunteers.
Boulder: 9 a.m. The Boulder Area Recreational Trails Committee plans to reconstruct the McCarty Trailhead in Boulder. The group will construct 500 feet of jackleg fence, erect a bulletin board and travel management information to enhance access to trails in the Elkhorn Mountains. The Forest Service will coordinate the working group and anyone interested can attend at the McCarty Creek Trailhead approximately 5 miles east of Boulder.
Bozeman: Meet at Bogert Pavilion at 9 a.m. for snacks and to sign up for work projects. Volunteers of all ages will be helping to spread gravel on trails in Burke Park (Peets Hill) to improve the trail surfaces, refresh them after a long winter, and make them more sustainable for the long-term. Volunteers should bring work gloves, water bottles, sunscreen, hats, and layers for all kinds of weather. If possible, bring your own shovels, rakes, and wheelbarrows, but some tools will be available for sharing. Gallatin Valley Land Trust will serve snacks and drinks and the work project will wrap up by 12:00.
Bozeman: 12:30 p.m. Langohr Park Natural Playground Grand Opening & Dedication. Join GVLT, Greenspace Landscaping, the city of Bozeman, and other supporters to celebrate the first public natural playground in the Gallatin Valley. The Natural Playground is located across the creek from the climbing boulder on the Gallagator Trail, and can be accessed off of South Tracy Avenue from South Black Avenue. Contact 587-8404 or go to www.gvlt.org for more information.
Butte: 9 a.m. Depending on snow conditions, Mile High Back Country Horsemen, P & M Runners, and an Eagle Scout will complete the trail project along with trail clearing from Homestake Pass to Pipestone Pass. This project will also construct a 6-foot puncheon bridge along the CDNST for non-motorized recreation. For more information, call 494-0246.
Great Falls: River’s Edge Trail Easement Dedication at the Lewis & Clark Overlook of Rainbow Falls at 9 a.m. Help celebrate and dedicate recent south shore trail easements between Cochrane Dam and Box Elder Creek that extended the public trail almost 4 1/2 miles. After the brief ceremony three National Trails Day events will depart from the Overlook, including a guided hike to Cochrane Dam, a bicycle club ride to Box Elder and a 6-mile run to the dam and back.
Details of other events, including those listed above, can be accessed at www.americanhiking.org/national-trails-day/.