Rocky Mountain High
Our visit this week was unique in the fact that we got to work with two clubs during our stay in Missoula. Mountain Bike Missoula (MTBM) and the Bitterroot Backcountry Cyclists (BBC) both joined us for a great weekend of club building workshops and trail building school. Making the weekend even better was the fact that Saturday was National Trails Day and members of these clubs had the opportunity to attend the Montana Stewardship Summit; a two day event that brought land managers, user groups, and government officials together for an in depth analysis of managing mountain bike user experiences in different public land settings. To top it all off, we built a bunch of new trail!
These two clubs have different challenges than we’ve yet seen in our journeys. Montana is a massive state, and it is dotted by large tracts of public lands. Snowed in during the winter, many of the trails are seasonal. This also means doing big time backcountry maintenance when the snow clears. Both clubs invest hundreds (if not thousands) of hours a year clearing blow downs and opening trails for the summer season. However this hard work doesn’t only benefit mountain bikers, most of these trails are multiuse and many other users reap the benefits of their bucking. You have to give kudos to the folks that carry saws, fuel, chaps, and bar oil deep into the steep terrain of the mountains for our enjoyment.
Closer to town, Missoula MTB has recognized the need for more accessible terrain and land with more flexibility for bike-optimized trail. Working with the City of Missoula and the Five Valleys Land Trust, MTBM has begun developing a small network of singletrack on Marshall Mountain, home to a non-operational ski slope. With hopes of the City one day acquiring the remaining resort property, MTBM has been laying out and constructing new trail on Five Valleys Trust Land with considerations of one day connecting it with more land around the mountain- including adjacent Forest Service trails. Judging by the number of volunteers we had on Saturday, their foresight is resonating with the local users, and land managers.
These hard working groups are sure to keep the riding in Montana great for future generations of riders. We would like to thank MTB Missoula, Bitterroot Backcountry Cyclists, The Five Valleys Land Trust, City of Missoula Parks and Rec. and the Marshall Mountain Ski Area for making our weekend a success. We would also like to thank all of the land managers and volunteers that came out to participate in National Trails Day activities.
Until Next Time,