Trail rebuilding, other work needed before Tower Street Park will re-open

Posted at 7:33 AM, Jul 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-24 09:33:52-04

MISSOULA – It will be a few more weeks before the City of Missoula will be able to open a popular park on Tower Street which was inundated by high water from the Clark Fork River earlier this year.Although conditions are drying out after roughly a month of severe flooding, the water — which was waist deep at times — scoured through the forest, wiping out the park’s trail system."Our biggest challenge is getting our trailhead back up to snuff — that is our active parking area. We’ve lost a lot of infrastructure there, fencing. We’ve actually had some undermining of the asphalt in the parking lot itself," said Missoula Conservation Lands manager Morgan Valliant."But also coming out and resurveying trails and getting new trails established through an area that has seen a lot of change. We’ve had a lot of sedimentation that have pretty much erased old trails. We’ve had a lot of debris that has come in, both woody debris and urban trash that we’ve got to pull out.," he added.That not only means cleanup but also figuring out where trails will have to rerouted around log jams, downed trees and the new channels the river left behind. In some cases, those may become permanent and the city must plan with that uncertainty in mind. The Tower Street Park will also remain closed while NorthWestern Energy completes its work on a damaged power line across the river."The big reason for that is that we are in the process of establishing our new trails. There are trees that have had their roots system undermined and so we are doing some tree work," Valliant said."We do have trees down that we just have to cut out of the trails. And then in addition with all the work NorthWestern Energy is doing that is definitely a pretty significant construction zone that the public needs to stay out," he continued. "And their work goes right across our main trailhead and parking area."On the plus side, Valliant says the flooding changes will help to restore some habitat along that stretch of the Clark Fork River.