You probably know him better as “Raz.”
The work to maintain the Helena area’s trail system is never done, and for the past two years that duty has been driven by Prickly Pear Land Trust trails director Robert Rasmussen. Trail construction and upkeep is a product of public support, volunteers and seasonal workers and plenty of cooperation.
“We don’t see in this community conflicts between users groups like you do in other places,” he said. “I think that comes from collaboration and tolerance between groups like bikers and hikers that really get along.”
Rasmussen came to Montana 40 years ago as a geologist, working in consulting and county government. Montana was the closest thing he found to Alaska, first visiting here in 1972 and becoming a resident in 1977.
He volunteered for Prickly Pear and enjoys the opportunity to work locally on conservation projects both on public and private lands. He also enjoys working outside and the behind the scenes planning.
“It is challenging. There’s a lot going to the upkeep of the trails and with that a lot going on externally with the community,” Rasmussen said. “Plus the use of the trails has expanded with fat tire bikes, spikes and even our shorter winters making the season longer.”
Prickly Pear maintains the trails with volunteer work nights as well as tapping local businesses and other nonprofits for work days.
Rasmussen counts the Mount Helena Ridge Trail as his personal favorite, where he prefers hiking and running along the many stunning views.
“Many projects are years in the making but our trail system has been years in the making too,” Rasmussen said. “The community is really supportive of what we do.”