Spencer Rec Use License unanimously approved by the Whitefish City Council!

We know it’s hard to believe….but the Spencer Mountain trails are official, legal and legitimized.  And yes, so long overdue!  With support from City Council this past Monday, we’ve added 7 miles of freeride trails and 8 miles of natural surface trails to the list of sustainable trails authorized on the State School Trust Lands surrounding Whitefish.  This brings the tally of the Whitefish Trail to just over 40 miles!  Spencer has been an ongoing effort in this community for over a decade.  It’s been a solid thirteen years that discussions have been in the works and 13 is definitely a lucky number for Spencer.  2013 is a momentous year!

The 2,500 acre Spencer area is filled with over 30 miles of user-built historic trails and gated roads that outdoor enthusiasts have been recreating on for many, many years.  The area is accessed from Twin Bridges Road, KM Ranch Road, and Rifle Range Road.  Cross-country cyclists, hikers and equestrians enjoy gorgeous views from the ridge tops, freeriders enjoy the adrenaline filled technical jumps and wooden stunts on trails like  Spooky Pete’s, Otter Pop, and Malice in Plunderland, and the steep climbs and super fun descents make Spencer an incredible recreation asset.

Public access and opportunities to recreate and enjoy our great outdoors are an important part of our community’s heritage and culture, and Spencer Mountain has been one of the main catalysts to protect this tradition.  It’s been many long years since the DNRC began working on the Spencer Lake Timber Sales and it has taken as many years to negotiate a way for the area to be managed for recreation AND timber.  Thanks to a great deal of hard work and the persistence of a large number of community members, we’ve reached our goal for Spencer Mountain.  The area will be managed as a working forest integrating fire hazard reduction and recreation while generating revenue for State School Trust Lands and remaining a valued recreation asset for Whitefish.

The upcoming months and years will change Spencer Mountain forever.  The south timber sale will begin this winter and the north timber sale will follow shortly after.  Both sales require winter logging and commercial thins along with required extensive recreation mitigation strategies.  Additionally, the City of Whitefish, Flathead Fat Tires and Whitefish Legacy Partners will immediately begin developing the recreation amenities.  Work will start with the required re-working of the temporary Twin Bridges trailhead, minor improvements to the south parking area, and kiosk and trail sign installation.  Freeride trails will be maintained at a new level, trespass trails will be decommissioned, and numerous ride-arounds will be built.

Contact Heidi Van Everen (WLP), Erin Bodman or Pete Costain (FFT), or Karl Cozad (City) to support the Spencer Trail Network.  We’ve been waiting a long while for this day. Celebrate by joining us during our upcoming community Spencer work days or make a cash donation to Whitefish Legacy Partners.  It’s ON – Spencer Mountain.

 

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