Missoula runners, between now and next Thursday, January 27th we have a chance to comment on the Lincoln Hills Trail Plan developed by the City of Missoula.
You may remember that there was an initial comment period about this plan last fall. Our running community stepped up then to provide guidance. In fact, 43% of commenters (153 people) indicated they visit this area to run. It’s so important to make sure the voice of our running community is heard at moments like these, demonstrating that we care about how Missoula trails are managed and developed. Thank you for commenting this fall and for revisiting the plan now to share your voice again!
The comments submitted this fall allowed the City to develop a detailed draft plan and that’s what we now have the chance to comment on.
Don’t have time to read over the whole plan? Or want some guiding information before looking at the draft? Below are answers to a few questions that will help you understand what this plan proposes (and doesn’t!).
What area are we being asked to comment on?
This proposed plan addresses the area adjacent to the Rattlesnake’s Lincoln Hills trailhead, often referred to as the Jumbo Saddle area. The area includes the Sound of Music trail, part of the Jumbo backbone trail, trails around the vernal pool, the Tivoli trail, and the trails immediately adjacent to the trailhead parking area. This includes a few miles of dirt roads that are part of the Run Wild Missoula Elk Ramble race.
Why was this planning process initiated?
There are seven zones designated on Mount Jumbo and they have been ranked for review and planning. The Lincoln Hills Trail zone received the highest ranking and is therefore being addressed first.
Private property owners have submitted consistent feedback to the city about trespass and unauthorized trails on their properties.
Mount Jumbo is managed first for wildlife and natural resource values and secondly for recreation and public use opportunities. This planning process is intended to address increasing concerns about natural resource and wildlife impacts happening in this area.
This trailhead has become very popular. In fact, it now receives more use than any other city-managed trailhead in the Rattlesnake, surpassing even Waterworks trailhead.
What should I pay attention to in this plan?
This plan will close several miles of existing trails. You’ll want to pay attention to those trails (labeled pink on the map) and comment on whether you have concerns about or are supportive of any of these closures.
The plan designates some trails as shared use and some as pedestrian only. Look over those designations and share comments you have about these changes.
What will this plan not impact?
The changes proposed in this plan will not impact the way we conduct the Elk Ramble race, so no worries there.
There is only a minor change proposed for the popular Sound of Music trail, which is a change to how it intersects the Jumbo Saddle Road. This trail will largely remain as it is now.
This plan does not restrict or eliminate runner access to any of the major trails in this area. Bikes, however, will not be allowed on some of the trails that remain open.
This plan addresses a limited area, which does not include the Sidewinder area, the road down to Marshall Canyon, or the south zone of Mount Jumbo.
The initial round of comments submitted last fall contained lots of concerns about dog behavior and impacts in this area, but the proposed plan does not directly address these concerns. There are no new areas where dogs will need to be leashed, for example.
This comment window is a short one. Make sure to visit the plan and the comment form here (https://www.engagemissoula.com/lincoln-hills-trail-plan) on or before Thursday, January 27th. Comments don’t have to be lengthy, but please be as specific as possible.
Thank you to RWM Board Member and Montana Trail Crew Member, Erin Clark, for writing this post!