June 1st marks the beginning of the Whitefish Trail FRIENDS WEEK. Events are being held all week long at local businesses and everyone is invited to become a WT FRIEND at your favorite supporting business! Look for their classy Whitefish Trail (WT) posters around town and online at www.whitefishlegacy.org for the WT FRIENDS WEEK calendar. All Whitefish Trail supporters can renew or sign up to become an annual “WT Friend” or “WT Family” during FRIENDS WEEK. June 8th will culminate WT FRIENDS WEEK with a Whitefish Trail Hootenanny at the Bar W Guest Ranch. This free community event will feature a variety of family-fun activities, wagon rides, Old West BBQ and Whitefish Trail Mix ice cream, with live MUSIC – it’s a Whitefish Trail Dance Party! There will be updated 2013 WT maps, new Whitefish Trail shirts, and lots of incredible give-aways for WT FRIENDS & FAMILIES.
The Whitefish Trail has become a hugely valued asset in our community due to an enormous amount of support and interest in recreation, conservation and education. Protecting and preserving access to wide open public lands is vital to preserving our quality of life and Whitefish Legacy Partners (WLP) is devoted to creating a lasting legacy for the Whitefish community. WLP has permanently secured public access to over 2,500 acres and the Whitefish Trail now totals 22 miles with 6 trailheads – and they have accomplished all this since 2008! We never could have imagined we would have the Whitefish Trail in 2013.
WLP’s Places Worth Protecting capital campaign continues in 2013 to raise the remaining $600,000 required to pay for the permanent recreation easement. WLP’s annual fundraising efforts also continue in order to support expanding the Whitefish Trail and WLP has set an annual goal of 750+ WT FRIENDS and FAMILIES for 2013.
Whitefish Trail construction plans for this summer include building new sections of the Whitefish Trail in the Beaver Lakes area. A new trailhead will be constructed at Woods Lake and 4.5 miles of new trail will be built circling Woods Lake with connections back to the WT and a wonderful new loop showcasing views of Woods Lake, Whitefish Lake, and the Whitefish Range. Whitefish Legacy Partners is also working to secure existing trails at Spencer Lake. What started as an effort to maintain existing recreation in the midst of a timber sale has slowly evolved into a joint agreement between the DNRC, the City of Whitefish, Flathead Fat Tire and Whitefish Legacy Partners. The goal is to license a portion of the existing historic trails to be incorporated into the Whitefish Trail, legalize the existing free ride trails and allow for ongoing maintenance of these trails while the North and South Spencer Mountain timber sales move forward.
In addition to constructing new trail, WLP plans to maintain the existing 22 miles of trail through 100% volunteer efforts this year! The WT Trail Crew season kicks off June 1st, National Trails Day, with a project on the WT Swift Creek. WLP is also recruiting volunteers for the WT Trail Ambassador program. The WT Ambassador Program consists of trail enthusiasts who wish to contribute to the community, the Whitefish Trail, Whitefish Legacy Partners. The goal of the Trail Ambassador Program is to promote the safe and responsible use of the Whitefish Trail system; offer educational opportunities to Whitefish Trail users and the broader community; perform noxious weed monitoring and hazard reporting; survey users of the trail; and, offer volunteer services at WLP events. WT Trail Crew and WT Trail Ambassadors are needed to support the Whitefish Trail – and what a valued community asset it is!
Capital Campaign donations and Annual donations may be mailed to Whitefish Legacy Partners, PO Box 1895, Whitefish, MT 59937. Multi-year pledge forms can be obtained in person at the WLP Office located at 525 Railway, suite 206. Donations can also be made online at www.whitefishlegacy.org and Heidi Van Everen and Carla Belski can be reached at 862.3880. WLP has clearly proven to be the catalyst organization capable of creating innovative and unprecedented solutions to permanently protect our community’s Places Worth Protecting. Support Whitefish Legacy Partners and the Whitefish Trail today.