One would think that after a busy year on the Whitefish Trail that we would be able to sit back, relax and revel in our accomplishments during the snowy season. The exact opposite seems to be happening and the Whitefish Trail office is hopping with activity in preparation for what is going to be an even busier year. Strategic plans are being implemented, grants are flying out the door and our volunteer board of directors is embracing the final year of the Beaver Lakes Initiative.
For a moment we would like to recap what has been a remarkably successful year on the Whitefish Trail. Together we…
-Constructed over 4.5 miles of new trail at Woods Lake including three scenic overlooks with views of Woods Lake, Whitefish Lake and the Whitefish Range. The Goguen Family donated a 1.5 mile trail easement to the City of Whitefish providing the Whitefish Trail its first view of Whitefish Lake and a scenic loop trail.
-Doubled volunteerism on the trail which supported new trail construction and restoration of the lake access at Woods Lake as well as maintenance of existing trail. Numerous businesses, youth groups and individuals donated over $15,000 of in-kind labor.
-Proved the Whitefish Trail has become a true economic driver for our resort community through the overwhelming support of the Whitefish business community. Over 25 businesses joined as event or corporate sponsors recognizing that the trail is increasingly becoming a vital part of our community contributing to the economic, recreation and health benefits for locals and visitors alike.
-Strengthened relationships with partners to manage and plan the future of the trail including the City of Whitefish’s mayor, council and staff; the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation at the local level and state level; and, Flathead Fat Tires, a regional mountain biking club. Together we finalized the Spencer Mountain Initiative securing continued use of free ride bike trails and historic recreation in conjunction with continued timber management.
-Participated in the Whitefish Range Partnership to create recommendations for the upcoming Flathead National Forest’s Plan revision through a collaborative process that has laid positive ground work for upcoming Haskill Basin work and Whitefish’s connections to the backcountry.
-Updated Whitefish Trail signs and trailhead information and installed on-trail maps and new benches. We initiated the Emergency Response Plan on the Whitefish Trail with trail markers and corresponding response maps at emergency services.
-Demonstrated broad community support of the Whitefish Trail through a 20% increase in Friends and Family and multiple successful events including Friends Week, the Whitefish Trail Hootenanny, and the Whitefish Legacy Run. Additional volunteerism from the community in support of events and operations added an additional 450 hours of in-kind labor, making volunteer contributions total over $21,000 in 2013!
Thank you to all of the Whitefish Trail Volunteers, Friends, Families, and Corporate Sponsors that joined us this year. Whether you’re a hiker, biker, equestrian, or avid dog walker, your donations help support the Whitefish Trail. Your annual support is hugely appreciated and there’s still time to join us in 2013. Pledge your support or make a gift donation at www.whitefishlegacy.org . It’s ON…the Whitefish Trail!