MISSOULA — Marshall Mountain opened in the 1940s as a commercial ski resort but closed its gates in 2002 due to a lack of snow coverage. Over its years, the mountain has become a beloved part of Missoula culture.
So, after many failed attempts to open the mountain up for recreational use since the original closure, allowing recreational use is a big deal to the Missoula community.
“It's a real privilege, from the city's perspective, to be able to partner with Izzy Dod, LLC is the owner to manage the base here and to be able to provide public access,” said Jeff Gicklhorn, City of Missoula Parks and Recreation Conservation Lands manager.
The roughly 15 miles of trails are only available for use during the daylight hours, there are no dogs allowed, no overnight camping or parking, and Parks and Rec asks that people avoid the buildings.
There are different trails for different types of recreation, so it is important to know where to go before you go.
“So we are really emphasizing responsible recreational access. And we do have some rules; we are the parks department, but those are there for really good reasons,” said Gicklhorn.
For the next 18-24 months, the City of Missoula will pay Izzy Dog, LLC $10 with the option of buying the Izzy Dog, LLC parcel after the lease agreement is up.
There are two parcels that make up the recreational use of Marshall Mountain. The first one owned by Izzy dog LLC, and managed by the city of Missoula as Parks and Rec, but mid-mountain to the top is owned by Marshall Mountain Five Valleys Land Trust.
The future of Marshall Mountain is bright and there are plans for the community to use the land year-round. As for now, Missoulians are enjoying it for the summer.
“Just being able to have another option, another really cool place to ride is really, really cool,” said Caleb Pope, a Marshall Mountain recreationist.
There is a community celebration on September 12 from 1 to 4 p.m., where the community can tour the land and learn more about the future of recreation at Marshall Mountain. You can find more information about Marshall Mountain here.