Trail Improvements Coming to Montana’s Helena-Lewis & Clark National Forest


By Charles Pekow — Several improvements for biking are in the works at Helena-Lewis & Clark National Forest in Montana. First, the Lincoln Ranger District intends to improve the Rogers Pass trailhead in the James Peak Protection Area. It lists the project as currently “under analysis” and plans to issue an assessment around September 1. The idea is to improve and expand the parking lot.

Bicycles are allowed on designated routes in the James Peak Protection Area. But right now, only three or four autos can park at the trailhead.

The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) also is reconfiguring segments of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail in the forest. USFS’ main goal consists of keeping unauthorized motor vehicles off the trail. So it wants to narrow the trail.

The idea involves reconfiguring about 2.5 miles of existing road into a single-track non-motorized trail between Faith Gulch/Meyers Hill at trail maker 48, northbound until to the existing single track at marker 51.

It would also change from double to single track about 2 miles between Priest Pass south to the communication towers site off Macdonald Pass.

Third, the plan calls for rerouting the Haul Route from existing single track for 1.5 miles to the northeast around private property adjacent to the Josephine Mine, and then the meeting the existing route off Minnehaha. Routing the trail in the area gets tricky because of the need to keep hikers off roads and to circumvent a lot of private property in the area, explains Wilderness Trails Coordinator Marcus McDowell.

Also, this summer USFS will work with the Montana Conservation Corps to resign the trail so users know where they’re at, McDowell says.


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