GREAT FALLS — Marty Bannon's vision of a trail across Montana is becoming a reality. The trail starts at the U.S-Canada border near Glacier National Park and goes south to the Montana-Idaho border.
From there, it goes northwest to Bozeman, then north a little past Fort Benton, and finally west to end in Fort Union.
"We've got about 800 miles of 1,500 miles that, actually, we've surveyed,” Bannon said.
"The majority of our tourists go to Yellowstone or Glacier, so this is going to try to spread out that recreation and that tourist dollar to some of these small towns like Fort Benton and Wise River and Lima and Lincoln and East Glacier,” said Bannon.
In 2020, Bannon created a non-profit called Montana Trail 406 Association to make this trail a reality.
On Wednesday, the Natural Resources Committee of the Montana House of Representatives voted to support a resolution recognizing the benefits of an ultra-long trail.
"It's important because it gives us basically a little legitimacy,” said Amy Grisak, vice-president of development for the organization.
She said while the trail won't pass directly through Great Falls, the city will serve as a base for people using the trail. "In Montana, we only have about half a dozen larger cities where people can fly into to start the trail. So it's absolutely perfect for somebody to fly into Great Falls, stay for a few days, go grab some great food we have, get whatever supplies you need,” Grisak explained.
"It's just one more bucket list trail. You either do the Colorado Trail or the Arizona Trail, so we'll be one more. But as i tell people, we won't just be one more. We'll be the best of them,” said Bannon.