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Bigfork Community Trails and Conservation Project

Published on October 4, 2021 under News
Bigfork Community Trails and Conservation Project

September 9th, 2021 – We are so excited to announce that Flathead Land Trust is working with The Trust for Public Land and Montana Land Reliance on a partnership to create over four miles of new community trails and permanently protect 236 acres of forestland in Bigfork’s backyard.

Located on the flanks of Swan Hill just a short distance from downtown, the protected land, once slated for development of 17 new residential lots, will offer unfettered views of Flathead Lake and the Swan Mountain Range, while providing public access to extraordinary front county recreational opportunities for the community of Bigfork, and offering protection and landscape connectivity for wildlife species such as whitetail deer, turkeys, and black bear.

“This new community asset will not only provide residents with additional outdoor opportunities close to home, but it will also allow for continued forest health management to reduce the risk of wildfire threats which have become so prevalent in our region,” said Lucas Cain, Project Manager with The Trust for Public Land. “The Trust for Public Land is proud to be part of this incredible opportunity of safeguarding access to the outdoors for both current and future generations of Montanans.”

The new trail system, though not officially open to the public until the project is complete, will complement existing trails such as Swan River Trail that have become increasingly crowded due to an uptick in usage during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Project planning and community involvement will take place over the coming months, with groundbreaking sometime late next year and eventual opening to the public in 2023.

“Flathead Land Trust is proud to be partnering on this exciting project which will serve the community of Bigfork and the Flathead Valley with a recreational amenity right next to town and conserve an important piece of open space for future generations to enjoy.  We look forward to engaging with the community as we work towards providing much needed front country recreation on this property that otherwise could have been lost to subdivision and  development”, said Paul Travis, Executive Director for Flathead Land Trust.

While The Trust for Public Land is currently the property owner, long-term ownership and management will transfer to the Flathead Land Trust, with the conservation easement holder being the Montana Land Reliance. The project partners would like to thank the Alan and Cindy Horn Family for their generosity and vision in making this community project possible.

For more information about this exciting project, contact Paul Travis at ptravis@flatheadlandtrust.org or 406-752-8293.