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WANTED: purpose-built lines

Everyone wants more trails. The results of our 2023 Rider Survey—especially the write-in responses—make this crystal clear. The strongest appetite is for bike-specific trails that weave together built and natural features for max fun and challenge. It's the trail type that seems unfairly abundant throughout the Pacific Northwest and Canadian Rockies and the inspiration behind many epic road trips.

Jeff Kendall-Weed on Invictus at Raging River State Forest, Snoqualmie, WA. Reilly Seebeck (Flow Photo Co) for PNW Components.

While our local system has, to-date, just a few miles of purpose-built bike trails, please know that MTB Missoula's leadership fully recognizes there's a need for more.

Working up new trails of any variety on public land takes time and there's always multiple stakeholder values to balance. We always strive to be involved throughout the planning process and appeal for bike-optimized design. Yet, at the end of the day, we're one of many voices at the table. Not every trail user is a mountain biker. In fact, most are not.

Small berms, wide-angle turns, and some rocky sections may be as much bike-friendly design as a land manager can include within their current management objectives. This give-and-take-process is reflected where there's been opportunity for us to build new trail in recent years—in the Rattlesnake and on Mount Dean Stone. Make no mistake though, we're grateful for the role we've been able to play in these multi-use trail projects. All additions of singletrack with bike access are a major win and should be celebrated. These projects, while not purpose-built mtb trails, build our credibility with land managers and improve our position going into future projects.

With that said, we truly appreciate all your support thus far and encourage all who want to see more purpose-built trail to join MTB Missoula. We're the only local organization advocating for this trail type and the strength of our voice comes straight from our membership base.

We ask that you'll stay fully onboard in the pivotal projects that are so close at hand: Marshall Mountain Park most imminently, Fish Creek State Park in the works and still more that could soon come to light. These projects, while still on public land, have a greater degree of flexibility with regard to building purpose-built and technical riding options. So, have faith, get stoked and know you're a part of Missoula's trail evolution.

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