Letter to the trail community:
As we approach 20 years from our first acquisition and nearly $7 million in funding raised for Mount Ascension and in Helena’s South Hills (subsequent donations of land from PPLT to the City have doubled City open space) we are gratified to see such love for these hills and the trails on them. They are one of this community’s finest assets.
PPLT connects people to the land in all ways. On a horse, bike, your own feet, in a wheelchair, running, or playing with your children. Similarly, our board of directors, staff, and thousands of members and volunteers also come in all shapes and sizes. That diversity is one of our core values and strengths.
Our organizational and financial investment in expanding the land base upon which we recreate today (which, did you know that it includes conservation easements that allow for access on Eddye McClure and the Ridge trails?) is one that highlights the things that become possible when people work together. These landowners are among the tribe of PPLT friends and partners we so appreciate.
There is some current discourse between user groups, in particular regarding a directional trail project. That trail project was not a PPLT project, but we supported it and would like to see resolution. Years ago, PPLT acted as a land manager on behalf of the City and though that has not been the case for a while, the trail public looks to us still and we want to be responsive to that by putting forward our values: PPLT values foremost, kindness. We believe that strong public engagement will produce the best outcomes. We think it is imperative that there is an improved, equitable, and inclusive public (city) process in place going forward. We value respectful and factual dialogue, open and transparent process, and partnerships that advance community-led goals. As such, we look forward to continuing to work with the City and the Forest Service in providing assistance and trail maintenance, and strategic acquisitions that improve the outdoor experience.
On the heels of this Thanksgiving holiday, Prickly Pear Land Trust is thankful to each of you – together we have built a public land estate that will remain forever. One thing that makes our public lands so incredible, is that everyone owns them, everyone is vested which is exactly what we want. Let’s come together and be thankful for all that we have and for the model we will continue to be for other communities going forward.
Prickly Pear Land Trust Board of Directors