Montana Outdoors

Apr 13, 2014 12:37 PM by Lilian Langston - KPAX News

Rock Creek gets some TLC

ROCK CREEK - Five Valley's Land Trust and the University of Montana's Wildland Restoration program teamed up Saturday to host a volunteer day, and the groups have high hopes and goals for some lands near Missoula.

The confluence of Rock Creek and the Clark Fork River is span of water with history, and until recently a major developer prohibited recreational use on it.

It has been a struggle and fight to get the right to recreation for several years. "I was part of the original group that decided we could, uh, try and prevent the developer from destroying this property," Rock Creek resident John Menson said.

That was nearly 20 years ago, And Menson's dream of seeing recreation thrive in his community is finally coming alive. "It's the community's river and therefore access is really important to us."

That's where Five Valley's Land Trust comes in. The non-profit organization recently bought the land, and they're doing something about its historic access issue.

"It adds more opportunity for anglers and people that want to access the adjoining federal land to this property," Ryan Chapin said.

Some 60 volunteers gathered Saturday to help build a trail along the Clark Fork River, giving recreationists access to land that went untouched for years.

Volunteers outlined the trail, used specialized tools to dig, rake and tamp, and all are working diligently to finish the mile and a half walking trail.

Menson and other Rock Creek residents are anxious to see this land filled with anglers, hunters and other recreationists. One fight Menson knows was worth the persistence.

The two groups will work together over time to restore and seed to see it flourish.

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