Make trails while the sun shines!

A trail report of some of our Summer 2018 trail improvements and updates.

Make trails while the sun shines! Thanks to over 800 community volunteer hours, 600 contract hours from our partners at Montana Conservation Corps (MCC), as well as help from the PPLT staff, city staff and other partners, your trails have been widened, narrowed, retread, tweaked, buttressed, bermed, cleaned up, leveled, de-rocked, re-rocked, shored up…you name it.

Trails on Mt. Ascension have been given the most noticeable tune-up. The lowest two switchbacks on Archery Range were converted to more user-friendly climbing turns. The City of Helena put the final touches on a gem of a bridge on 2017’s Aftershock Trail and PPLT hired and led an MCC crew in grading and spiffing up the path leading to the bridge. Entertainment Trail received a much needed retreading to fix the out-sloped sections that span much of the trail. You can thank MCC and the Montana Bicycle Guild volunteers for taking on this task and making the trail safer on corners. Finally, we’re happy to present the newest route to the Mt. Ascension trail network — a connector trail winding its way up from Prickly Pear to Easy Rider — creating a stimulating, single-track option for cutting from Bompart Hill to Mt. Ascension or vice versa.

Oof! I’m getting typist’s cramp just considering listing out all of our trail improvements, so instead here’s a snapshot of other changes. The length of Barking Dog has been re-tread and we’ve done our best to wick water away from the trail. We’re half way through re-treading Mt. Ascension Loop Trail to make the trail flatter and more user friendly. Sections of Mt. Helena Ridge Trail and Rodney Ridge have been built up out of their incised channels to make for better user experiences. This also helps  with our goal of being good stewards by preventing erosion and degradation. We know how seriously you, in Helena and the Valley, take your recreation and conservation, so we have been working across the web of trails, making tweaks here and there, to ensure people and dirt stay on the trails and water stays off.

But don’t worry, the summer heat isn’t slowing us down.  Keep an eye out for more improvements across the trail system. Pesky limbs will be trimmed, signs updated and inventoried, weeds catalogued and snuffed out, and more TLC applied  to the trails you hike, run and bike.

We would also like to take this opportunity to give a huge thanks to all our die-hard community volunteers as well as the following community partners who dawned their work gloves, and grabbed a pick to make our trails a happier place:

City of Helena, US Forest Service – Helena Ranger District, Montana Conservation Corps, Phat Trak Trail Company, Montana Bicycle Guild, Helena Climber’s Coalition, Keller Williams Realty, SoFi, Deloitte Accountants, Access to Success, Helena Middle School, Xylem Inc., Veteran’s Affairs, and Montana Youth Leadership Forum.

Our volunteers don’t only get thanked in blogs! We will be hosting a PPLT Volunteer Appreciation Party on August 20. Stay tuned for more updates and if you are one of our treasured volunteers, mark your calendars to join us on that day!

Evan Kulesa, Trails Coordinator