MISSOULA - It’s been a topic of conversation for Missoula Parks and Recreation for almost eight years.
A nearly $800,000 project focused on expanding and improving the Waterworks Hill trailhead and after four months of construction, Missoula’s most popular trailhead is open for use.
Patience and vision are what Missoula Parks and Recreation Conservation Lands Project Manager, Jeff Gicklhorn, says it took to improve Waterworks Hill Trailhead.
“This trail is built to universal trail standards to be as accessible as possible for anybody that wants to use it,” said Gicklhorn. “It's a very wide trail very nicely packed gravel.”
The nearly $800,000 project focused on expanding and improving the trailhead with 40 parking spots, an interpretive education loop, and a half-mile accessible trail overlooking the Missoula Valley.
“Have a more approachable way to get to a high point to look over our beautiful city is a really amazing part of this trailhead opening,” said Meg Whicher, frequent trail user and Missoula Parks and Rec recreation program manager.
Following four months of construction, Missoula’s most popular trailhead is open for use.
“It’s much more accessible, it's much safer," Gicklhorn told MTN News. "We have facilities like a seasonal bathroom. We're gonna have lots and lots of native plants planted here, there'll be interpretation education on site.”
With interpretive signs coming next spring, the trail serves as a place for continued education on why these spaces and species are important.
The new Waterworks Hill Trailhead was made possible through many different grants, the largest one being the voter-passed 2018 Open Space Bond and a paired conservation and stewardship mill levy.
”Which provides funding for infrastructure like this but also then the appropriate management of sites and infrastructure like this,” said Gicklhorn.
Trail users are happy to have the hill open for use.
“Having a walkable trailhead area is just really amazing for my neighborhood and for our community and our little like subset of Missoula,” Whicher told MTN News.