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Instead of concentrating on what divides Helena’s trail users, Prickly Pear Land Trust is focused on the big picture: connecting land and people.

For the last 24 years, Prickly Pear Land Trust has been working to preserve and protect some of the most scenic areas in the Helena area and beyond. We have this great organization to thank for securing public access to places like Mount Ascension Natural Park, Ten Mile Creek Park, and most recently, a 72-acre addition to Mount Helena City Park that includes the popular LeGrande Cannon trail.

That’s good news regardless of whether you use the trails to birdwatch, hike, walk your dog, mountain bike or cross-country ski. Though occasional conflicts can and do occur among the many different user groups from time to time, Prickly Pear Land Trust understands that none of them would get what they want if the land were not freely available for the public to enjoy in the first place.

One of the best ways we can all support the organization is by doing our part to keep the trails happy. It’s important to remember that most Helena-area trails are there for most people, and Prickly Pear Land Trust has offered the following tips to make them enjoyable for everyone: 

  • Stay on established trails. 
  • Pick up after your pets. 
  • Keep one ear free of headphones. 
  • Slow down around blind curves. 
  • Bikers must yield to all other users. 
  • Leave the trails better than you found them. 
  • Slower travelers should let others pass when traveling the same direction. 
  • Faster travelers should use extra caution on trails built for slower users. 
  • Be friendly and use common courtesy when you encounter other people. 
  • Keep your pets under control. 
  • Keep the safety of others in mind. 

The community will also have an opportunity to give back to Prickly Pear Land Trust during Saturday's Harvest Moon Banquet and Auction, which will include fine food and drinks, live music, and silent and live auctions that will benefit the organization and the important work it does in our community. Call 442-0490 for information. 

While Prickly Pear Land Trust’s 24-year history may seem like a long time, countless generations will benefit from the work this organization is doing in the greater Helena community.

Here’s hoping the organization will continue to get the support it needs to continue this critically important work for many more years to come.

This is the opinion of the Independent Record editorial board. 

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