KALISPELL - Thursday marked the grand opening of the Kalispell Parkline Linear Park and Trail with events along the trail and around the town celebrating the special day.
“We are absolutely thrilled to be at this point and stage in this amazing project that was envisioned over 10 years ago. This is more than a decade in the making," said Kalispell Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Lorraine Clarno. "You know, one time only fun to feature this special day and really mark it in history for our community."
A big part of the Parkline Trail — which replaces the Great Northern Railway — is its history. The railway inspired Charles Conrad and his family to move to the Flathead Valley, and what would soon be known as Kalispell.
“So when they knew that the railway was coming right through here, that was all they really needed to, you know, create a town and turn it into the historic tourism hub, an economic hub it is today. When you get to walk the path you get to walk through history," said Brit Clark, The Conrad Mansion Museum Director.
Not only is it a trail into the past, but it gives the community a place to recreate and connect.
“People need a place to walk and ride. They can push their babies on the trails, you know, it's safe. And I think it's definitely a necessity, now that it's here I can see that it's, it's really an improvement to our little town here," said Gary Bushaw, Parkline Trail user.
The Parkline Trail is an east west connector to Kalispell's main corridor and the heart of the community downtown.
“So, it's just an amazing amenity for both our residents as well as our local visitors that make this place so special," said Clarno.
The trail connects two other Kalispell trail systems giving people the opportunity for more recreation and easier access to the town.
“It's just a great opportunity to really explore this area and be connected to its past," said Clark.