We've had some great news over the last couple weeks: the Forest Service has given a final approval on the Taylor Hellroaring Project, and a preliminary approval on the Crystal Cedar project. Between those two projects, that's over 50 miles of new trail that we're one step closer to building! A huge thanks to everyone who submitted comments in support of those projects - your efforts paid off!
For those unfamiliar, the Taylor Hellroaring project includes approximately 28 miles of new trail to the northwest of Whitefish Mountain Resort. The Crystal Cedar project includes approximately 25 miles of new trail in the area immediately north of Columbia Falls. Both trail networks are primarily comprised of non-motorized, multi-use trails. These projects won't affect existing uses in those areas (so motorized use, including snowmobiling, is still allowed in parts of both Taylor Hellroaring and Crystal Cedar, and that won't change).
More details on Taylor Hellroaring:
You can take a look at the decision for Taylor Hellroaring here - scroll to page B-2 to see a map of the trails. We're working with the Forest Service and our other community partners like the Whitefish Trail to lay out the trails on the ground. And we'll be raising money to fund the actual construction of the trails - if you'd like to learn how you can sponsor trail construction, shoot us an email.
More details on Crystal Cedar:
You can see a map of the Crystal Cedar trails that have preliminary approval here. We're awaiting final approval from the Forest Service, which will take at least 2-3 months (possibly more). Once final approval is issued, we can begin working with the Forest Service, Gateway to Glacier, and other interested groups to finalize planning and begin construction. And, of course, we'll be fundraising along with our partners to pay for the construction of the trails and trailhead. Just like with the Taylor Hellroaring trails, if you'd like to know how you can sponsor these new trails, send us an email.
When will the new trails be open to the public?
That's a good question, and it depends on a whole bunch of things, the most critical element being funding. Logging will be occurring in both project areas, so we won't be able to build many of the trails until logging is completed. There's a possibility that work on some short segments of trail and trailhead work in the Crystal Cedar area could begin as early as next summer (2020). But more likely, it will probably be two years (summer of 2021) before robust trail work really gets rolling, and that's still dependent on fundraising, logging operations, and a whole bunch of other factors. We expect that the whole network will be built out over the next ten years, with additional trails being added each year (again, dependent on funding). FAMB thanks all of you who submitted comments in favor of both of these projects, and we're proud to have represented you in this process by submitting comments in favor of these new trails in our role as your mountain bike advocacy organization.
Flathead Area Mountain Bikers, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is working to promote mountain biking and improve trail access in the Flathead Valley.