Trails Project News - read "A Place for All" article that appeared in the Seeley Lake Pathfinder on August 31, 2017
The Clearwater Resource Council is leading a community-based effort to create a system of trails that accommodates everything from riding all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles to biking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, hiking and dog sledding. Trails are a vital component of Seeley Lake's cultural and rural heritage, providing local residents and visitors with recreational and educational opportunities in our beautiful watershed.
These trails would provide connections between rural and urban communities in two counties, and provide safe access to high-quality outdoor activities for everyone. As a national example of multi-use, inter-connected trails, this system will enhance recreation, education, health, and natural resource conservation throughout the region.
Residents of Seeley Lake rank recreational opportunities as one of the primary benefits of living in our community. These world-class recreational assets also attract thousands of tourists who are major contributors to the local economy. Over 90% of the Clearwater Valley is owned by public or private forest managers who allow access to the beautiful lakes, forests, and streams on their land. The land is mainly owned and managed by the U.S. Forest Service, Montana Department of Natural Resource Conservation, Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, and The Nature Conservancy (which recently purchased the remaining 117,000 acres of Plum Creek Timber Company lands within the valley). Unfortunately, it's often difficult or impossible to access the diverse recreational activities that are in high demand by both residents and tourists: miles of trails are unmaintained or form incomplete loops, and the road system is confusing and in varying condition. The Clearwater Valley needs a diverse, well-maintained, well-connected, multiple-use trail system that supports community interests and generates tourist revenue for our local economy.
Goals: The CRC is working with diverse partners and all of the major landowners to create an inter-connected trail system that spans ownership boundaries. The goal is to build a watershed-wide trail system that will:
- enhance the quality of life for residents and visitors in the Clearwater Valley
- increase property values and generate economic growth in our community
- connect people with the beautiful natural assets in Montana
- engage more people in healthy and enriching outdoor activities
- provide unparalleled and diverse recreation opportunities for all
This watershed-wide trail system project includes three phases:
- Develop a science-based, community-approved plan for a trail system.
- Build or improve trails as identified in the plan.
- Maintain and monitor the trail system.
Over the next eighteen months, the CRC will work with partners to complete phase one of the trail system project. Our objectives are to:
- Gather input from diverse constituents to create a plan that puts forth the community's priorities for the best use and placement of trails.
- Meet landowner and agency objectives and management constraints.
- Develop a long-term strategy to implement and then maintain the trail system.
The partners, landowners, agencies and citizens listed below are invested in creating a world-class trail system through a science-based, locally-led process:
- The Nature Conservancy – Steve Kloetzel, Chris Bryant
- US Forest Service – Rachael Feigley, Sandy Mack, Katie Knotek
- Montana Department of Natural Resource Conservation (DNRC) – Kristin Baker
- Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks – Scott Eggeman
- Missoula County – Pat O’Herren, Lisa Moise, Karen Hughes, Garrick Swanson
- Double Arrow Ranch Land Owner’s Association Parks and Natural Resource Committee
- Headwaters Economics – Megan Lawson
- Five Valleys Land Trust – Grant Kier, Vickie Edwards, Pelah Hoyt
- Bonneville Environmental Foundation – Robert Warren
- Reciprocity Consulting, LLC - Jennifer Arnold
- National Off Highway Vehicle Conservation Council – Russ Ehnes
- Clearwater Resource Council – Bill Wall, Mike Kahnle, Cathy Kahnle
- Ecosystem Management Research Institute – Jon Haufler
- Seeley Lake Community Foundation – Mark Williams, Anne Beach
- Seeley Lake Community Council – Chris Stout, Ken Barber
- Seeley Lake ROCKS – Lee Boman
- Seeley Lake Nordic Club – Lee Boman
- Seeley Lake Driftriders – Dave Sharbono
- Seeley Swan ATV Club – Ken Kronsperger
- Backcountry Horsemen – Smoke Elser
- Wilderness Sportsmans Club – Bill Swain/Fren Marcoix
- Trail Runners – Chris Stout
- Mountain Bikers – Auguste Lockwood
- Outfitters – Jack Rich
- Schools – Chris Stout
- Downtown Businesses – Curt Friede, Kris Martin
- Elderly and Handicapped – Ken Kronsperger
Contact Cathy Kahnle at firstname.lastname@example.org or 406-531-4152
if you'd like to participate in the planning process.
Read more about the project...
CRC Meeting Envisions Trail System by Betty Vanderwielen, Seeley Swan Pathfinder, July 14, 2016
Trails for Everyone submitted by CRC to the Seeley Swan Pathfinder, June 9, 2016
Talks Begin, User Groups Convene, by Andi Bourne, Seeley Swan Pathfinder, January 15, 2015
Trails Planning Advisory group considers criteria for Seeley Trails.
Photography: Biking - Cathy Kahnle; Winter Trail - Lee Boman; ATV - Ken Kronsperger
Picking huckleberries - Rob Roberts