Montana State University

MSU's WTI, other partners, win $2.8 million for Bozeman trail project

July 24, 2013 -- MSU News Service

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A partnership between more than a dozen local agencies and organizations, including Montana State University’s Western Transportation Institute, has been awarded $2.8 million to construct a pathway connecting the city of Bozeman to the “M” and Drinking Horse Mountain trailheads.

The funds are from the Western Federal Lands Highway Division Federal Land Access Program. The proposed two-mile path will link Bozeman’s 60-mile “Main Street to the Mountains” trail system to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Forest Service trailheads, according to Rebecca Gleason, a research engineer with WTI who was involved with writing the application for funding. At least $400,000 in local matching funds is required.

“The pathway will provide a safe, separated trail for bicycle and pedestrian traffic on MT Highway 86, the primary route connecting Bozeman to the Bridger Mountains,” Gleason said. “Although just two miles from the existing trail system, there is currently no safe path to walk, run or bike on Bridger Canyon Road, and the “M” and Drinking Horse Mountain trailheads are two of the most popular trailheads accessing federal land in the Gallatin Valley.”

WTI and the Gallatin Valley Land Trust, or GVLT, headed a collaborative effort to apply for the funds. Other partners include the City of Bozeman, the U.S. Forest Service, and more than a dozen user groups and partner organizations.

The Western Federal Lands Highway Division will manage the project, Gleason said. She added that a possible source for the matching funds is the Bozeman Parks and Trails bond, which voters passed in November 2012. The GVLT anticipates applying for those matching funds in the fall.

Additional match funding has been committed by Collin’s Coalition, a local non-profit organization that works to improve the safety of bicycle and pedestrian transportation.

Contact: Rebecca Gleason, Western Transportation Institute, (406) 994-6541 or rebecca.gleason@coe.montana.edu