Montana has lots and lots of trails. And lots and lots of people put lots and lots of wear and tear on those paths. There are a number of ways that the miles of trails are maintained. But it's important to have established and well-funded plans to do it.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) gets some federal funding every year for their Recreational Trails Program. It is for everything trail-related: rehabilitation, construction, maintenance and grooming and even safety education programs.

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The public comment period has opened on what FWP has selected this season. Quite a few of those projects are in western Montana. The list includes 32 projects and the comment period deadline is April 26.

A partial list of planned trail projects throughout Montana

The full list is available online, but we've selected a few local trail projects that are included this year:

  • Construction of the Route of the Olympian Trailhead in St. Regis.
  • An access trail at Frenchtown Pond State Park to the All Abilities Dock.
  • Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex volunteer trail maintenance.
  • Selway Bitterroot Frank Church Wilderness Foundation volunteer trail clearing.
  • Vault toilet installation and trail maintenance at Lions Bitterroot Youth Camp.
  • UM rehabilitation and rebuilding the M-Trail.
  • Bitterroot Ridge Runners Snowmobile Club grooming in Sapphire and Bitterroot Mountains.
  • Bitterroot Cross-country Ski Club winter grooming of Chief Joseph Pass and Lake Como trails.
  • Wild Montana's 8 multi-day trail maintenance projects throughout the state.
  • Relocating Iron Mountain Trailhead in Lolo National Forest.
  • Gallatin Avalanche Center avalanche forecast funding
  • Missoula County's New Meadows Trail System to connect to the regional path system.

That's only a dozen of the 32 projects sharing $1,525,000 that FWP has available for such projects this year. You can mail comments to Adam Brooks, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, PO Box 200701, Helena MT 59620-0701 or comment online at the FWP site.

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