Lakeside Volunteers Rallying Support for Proposed Blacktail Trail

By Beacon Staff

It’s a common sight that makes Lakeside residents like Barb Miller wince: people, often kids, forced to walk in the street along Blacktail Road while cars whiz past.

“Everybody knows that road is the busiest road in Lakeside,” Miller said. “It’s very dangerous because there’s no shoulders.”

Miller and a team of other Lakeside volunteers have been rallying support for an answer to Blacktail’s dangerous situation: a bike and pedestrian trail. The proposed pathway would extend from Blacktail Road to U.S. Highway 93 and continue through town, connecting residents and businesses with a main path and a few spur trails.

But the clock is ticking for the project’s fate. The proposed 1.5-mile Blacktail Trail needs to raise $42,412 by July 31 in order to become eligible for a $300,000 grant from the state through the Community Transportation Enhancement Program. So far, volunteers have raised almost $13,000, or 30 percent. Three fundraising events are scheduled as well as a raffle. Individual contributions are being gathered also.

Tickets are being sold for a ride on the Far West Tour Boat on Saturday, June 23. The boat will travel Flathead Lake and stop near Hockaday Bay where a resident has agreed to let visitors ride a tram car he built near the lake. Afterward participants will be served dinner at The Docks. Tickets are limited and selling fast, Miller said.

Tamarack Brewing Company is hosting a community tap night with Spring Wagon String Band, a bluegrass band, playing on Wednesday, June 27 from 5:30 to 9 p.m.

Homestead Cafe, Bar and Casino is hosting an outdoor barbecue with live music on Saturday, June 30 from 4 to 7 p.m. Door prizes will be awarded at each event.

If enough money is raised in time, construction of the trail could begin next spring with a completion date possible around December 2013.

The trail is being championed by a team of local volunteers, including Miller, Nathan Russell, Muffie Thomson, Cid Magnotta, Debbie Spaulding, Lisa Owens, Marti Seminoff, Tamara Tanberg, Sara Peck and Johanna Bangeman. The paths would connect residences along Blacktail Road to downtown Lakeside, with one spur attached to the Tamarack Woods subdivision, and another spur on Stoner Loop connecting to an existing sidewalk. The trail would extend the end of the sidewalk in front of the Tamarack Brewery and install a bridge across Stoner Creek away from the curve in the road. The trail would also connect to the striped pedestrian walkway along the west side of Highway 93, giving bikers and pedestrians a way to reach a bulk of Lakeside’s businesses, schools, churches and parks.

For more information or to contribute to the Blacktail Trail project, contact Miller at 871-7318.

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