Public Invited to Grant Creek Trail Grand Opening This Thursday

BY BECKY GOODRICH for Missoula Parks and Recreation

Enjoy Missoula’s newest bicycle-pedestrian trail and Baskin Robbins ice cream during the grand opening of the Grant Creek Trail, 5:30 p.m. Thursday, July 9, at the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, 5705 Grant Creek Rd. The first 100 people in line will receive free ice cream. The grand opening is sponsored by Missoula Parks and Recreation, Missoula County Parks and Trails Program, the Grant Creek Neighborhood Council and the Grant Creek Trails Association. The trail is a joint City/County project and provides a safe route for walking or biking adjacent to Grant Creek Road.

happy_trails_imageThursday’s celebration is the grand opening of the City’s section of the trail, a 2-mile, 8-foot-wide paved path from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to City limits, just north of Old Grant Creek Road. Missoula County is slated to construct the remaining 1.3 miles of the in two phases, with the first phase projected for 2016. When complete, the 3.3- mile route will connect the 13 subdivisions and other individual residences in the Grant CreekValley.

The grand opening celebration will include remarks by Missoula Mayor John Engen, the Missoula Board of County Commissioners, Missoula Parks and Recreation director Donna Gaukler, and Kevin Davis, president of the Grant Creek Trails Association. Brian Walter, former president of the Grant Creek Neighborhood Council and vice president of the Grant Creek Trails Association, will officially open the trail. Remarks and ribbon-cutting begin at 6 p.m.

trail_builders_imageThrough most of its route, the trail runs through or alongside private property. Key landowners donated easements that made the trail possible. “Grant Creek Trail simply would not be possible without the vision and contributions on the many private land owners and homeowners associations along the route. I sincerely thank each of these community-minded individuals and request that all users respect and appreciate this wonderful gift by staying on and caring for the trail,” says Parks and Recreation Director DonnaGaukler.

The construction cost for the City’s 2-mile trail portion was $1.4 million, which was funded by the state Community Transportation Enhancement Program (CTEP), 2006 Open Space Bond funds, private donations through the Grant Creek Trails Association, state Recreational Trails Program grants and in-kind donations. Benches, Mutt Mitt stations, and historical signs will be provided thanks to grants from the Office of Neighborhoods and the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula. A budget overview, trail map and other details are available online at www.missoulaparks.org and grantcreektrails.org. For more information, phone 721-PARK.

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