Now that the City of Missoula has obtained access to Marshall Mountain, it has now been renamed Marshall Mountain Park, and it was announced on Wednesday that the park will open for recreation on Thursday.

Jeff Gicklhorn, Conservation Lands Program Manager for Missoula Parks and Recreation provided details.

“Marshall Mountain is opening to the public for the first time in almost 20 years,” said Gicklhorn. “The site closed in 2002. Then the city partnered with Izzy Dog LLC back in June after they purchased the property, and we've done a lot of work in the last approximately six weeks to make the site safe, and enjoyable for users to come out and experience the site. They’re invited to check out the trails and then also access the existing purpose-built trails that are on the Five Valley Land Trust parcel which is farther up the mountain.”

Gicklhorn said the Parks and Rec staff has been working hard over the past two months preparing the Marshall Mountain Park for visitors.

“A lot of what we've been doing is making sure that the site is safe,” he said. “So the site was closed for approximately 20 years, since 2002, and in that time, there's been a lot of deferred maintenance. So buildings haven't necessarily been taken care of because they haven't been used. There have been a lot of potential dangers in and around the site. So a lot of what we've been doing is securing those to make sure that when users are on the site, they can't injure themselves, or they can't potentially find something along a trail that they wouldn't have expected.”

Gicklhorn described some of the trails that will be available to the public starting on Thursday.

“On the base parcel, which is what Izzy Dog owns and that the city is leasing, there are approximately 10 miles of trail that's split between basically double track or road, and then single track. The double track is open to all users. It's generally at a more moderate grade. There's a loop system that goes around the base area and allows you to access the upper parcel as well. The single track is going to be designated as bike specific and directional only.”

One important note that Gicklhorn wanted to emphasize is that until further notice, no dogs will be allowed on Marshall Mountain Park.

“The decision between the owner and the city and the other project partners was that for the time being domestic animals, primarily dogs, would not be allowed on the property. And the reason is, is that we are expecting a large number of users and there's the potential for a lot of user conflict.”

Gicklhorn emphasized that there are hundreds of miles of trails in western Montana where dogs are welcome, and Parks and Rec asks that you utilize those areas instead.

For a complete rundown of the Marshall Mountain Park and further guidance, click below.

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