Trail Groups Gather More Comments

By Beacon Staff

The Trail Runs Through It organization held an open house last week to collect comments from the public. About 140 people attended the open house to preview maps of trail routes and parcels involved in land swaps to make the trail happen. The U.S. Forest Service and the Department of Natural Resources both joined in to answer questions.

“We were delighted with the support for the project,” said Diane Conradi of Flathead Gateway Partners, the group partnering with the City of Whitefish to design the trail. “People had really insightful comments and ways to be good neighbors with people bordering the trail.”

The trail is part of a package that includes swaps under the Whitefish State Trust Lands Neighborhood Plan. The land swap between Michael Goguen’s property and a parcel of state land is required to make the trail happen. If the land swap is approved, Goguen will fund construction of 3.3 miles of trail across his own property, state lands, and a Forest Service parcel.

For the land swaps to take effect, they must be approved by the Board of Land Commissioners. The state would get 600 acres of timberland for its 440-acre parcel. “The land exchange is a win for the state as well as the community,” said Conradi. The state will soon be collecting comments to make its decision.

For those who missed the open house, organizers placed the new maps of proposed trail routes and land swaps online yesterday. The group is still seeking comments, too, which can be left on the Web site.

If the land swap is approved, the first phase of the trail will be built between Skyles and Beaver Lake.

To comment on the project, see www.trailrunsthroughit.org.