Forest Service Puts $600,000 Toward Marshall Mountain Purchase
Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - Officials from Missoula County have confirmed to KGVO News that the U.S. Forest Service has given a $600,000 grant to support the purchase of Marshall Mountain, one of 13 awardees nationwide from the Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program.
KGVO spoke to Kali Becher on Thursday about the donation to help complete the purchase of Marshall Mountain.
This $600,000 Grant Moves the Project Closer to the Finish Line
“We received a grant for $600,000 from the US Forest Service and that's through their Community Forest Program,” began Becher. “One of the reasons we were really excited about this is that both the program itself and the Community Forest Program really align with the community vision for Marshall Mountain related to securing it for public access, recreation, preserving conserving land and water resources, wildlife habitat, aquatic habitat, and conserving a working forest.”
Becher said the $3.8 million goal has been a challenge, but other agencies have helped to bring the city and county closer to their goal.
In-Kind Contributions will also Help Complete the Purchase
“While the full cost is around $3.8 million, there is a significant in-kind contribution, which means that some of the landowners are selling their land at a significantly lower amount than what it would probably be appraised for if it was on the market,” she said. “So that has helped get us to the goal quite a bit.”
Another source of funding for Marshall Mountain Park is the Open Space bond.
“On top of that, we are working through the request for the open space bond funding,” she said. “And so there have been to date the how that process has gone is that both the city and county advisory committees have each recommended use of up to 1 million. So $2 million total of the open space bond for the acquisition of Marshall Mountain.”
The Final say Belongs to the City Council and County Commissioners
Becher said Marshall Mountain is used for numerous outdoor programs and has become a vital part of the area’s recreation community.
“It's become really popular with mountain bikers, and people use it in the winter for backcountry skiing,” she said. “I think a really big community benefit here is how it is used for youth programs and those are offered through Missoula Parks and Recreation. Not just youth programs, but really programs for all ages and community events. So it has been a well-loved and well-used area by county city residents for a long time for decades, all right.”
The Missoula County Commissioners and the Missoula City Council will make the final decision on the expenditures of Open Space Bond funds for the Marshall Mountain Park project.