Montana Conservation Corps is back for another round of improvements to the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area in Missoula, Montana this year. As the popularity of 61,000-acre hotspot continues to grow, MCC and its partners will address things like overuse, trail design, erosion, and lack of regular maintenance. The Forest Service estimates the Rattlesnake NRA receives over 100,000 visitors annually, making these projects important to tourists and residents alike.
This summer, Sawmill Meadows, Wallman, and Fenceline trails will have sections relocated to address soggy conditions and help deter erosion. An important element to all three reroutes will be restoring the damaged areas by planting native vegetation and placing obstacles to deter continued damage. Factor in some strategically placed drainage features and the safety of the trails increases significantly.
As the number of user groups continues to grow, so does the need for regular maintenance. Dropout, Ewok, and 3 Larches will be tackled to remove downed trees, create new trail beds and reinforce turns that are starting to blow out. As part of this effort, crews will also clear encroaching brush from the trails to help provide greater visibility.
MCC hopes to engage the community in these repairs and would like to draw some 150 volunteers to the project this year. When all said and done, there will be 1.5 miles of new trails, improvements made to 4.2 miles of existing trails and 50 feet of new reinforcing log structures. The Forest Service, Mountain Bike Missoula, Montana Trail Crew, REI, and the National Forest Foundation have played crucial roles in helping keep the Rattlesnake NRA open and accessible to all!