Missoula, Montana– The Missoula Ranger District and the City of Missoula’s Parks and Recreation Department are sharing a Trail Ranger position this year to promote recreation opportunities and natural resource education and awareness on some of the more heavily used Forest Service public lands and City of Missoula Open Space Lands. According to officials with Parks and Recreation and the Forest Service, these lands share borders and resource impacts as well as highly valued recreation opportunities for the public.
“This is an exciting new partnership with the City,” said Jennifer Hensiek, Missoula District Ranger. “It makes sense on many levels to pool our resources to reach some shared goals. Our cross-boundary needs are very similar and fortunately everything came together for funding and we were successful with a project proposal to the Missoula County Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) last year. I’d like to thank the RAC members for their support of this effort and the important contribution they have made – this position will benefit anyone who uses these popular trails close to the city.”
The primary areas for the Trail Ranger will be Mt. Jumbo — on both the north and south ends – as well as the saddle near Lincoln Hills that borders Forest Service lands; the North Hills area, including Waterworks Hill; Greenough Trails; the Kim Williams Trail; Pattee Canyon Recreation Area; the Rattlesnake Greenway and Rattlesnake National Recreation Area. Much of the work of the Trail Ranger will be to make contacts with the public, offering assistance on local trail information and uses, and sharing important ways trail users can assist with resource protection needs. Some duties of the Trail Ranger will be unique to this new position – such as promoting awareness of the city’s municipal watershed and how recreation users can protect it, and sharing information on the Missoula Ranger District’s Marshall Woods project, where field season work recently started in the Marshall Canyon area. Other duties will be to provide information on things like trail etiquette — or “sharing the trail” — with other users, pet owners’ responsibilities, mitigating noxious weed spread and how to avoid wildlife encounters.
Regular Trail Ranger responsibilities — routine trail maintenance, maintaining and updating information boards, repairing signs, and providing information to the public regarding “leave no trace” practices – will also benefit the mission of both the city and the Missoula Ranger District.
“This partnership is a wonderful opportunity,” said Donna Gaukler, Parks and Recreation Director. “The resource is highly valued for so many differing and sometimes conflicting reasons. We believe education is key to success and the shared Trail Ranger is key to that education. From experience, we have realized the best outcomes occur as a result of one on one education in the field.”
For additional information please contact: Missoula Ranger District Natural Resources Assistant, Al Hilshey, at 406 329-3962; Missoula Parks and Recreation Conservation Lands Manager, Morgan Valliant, at 406 552-6253.