As the season winds down and the cooler days of autumn set in, it seems appropriate to reflect on our efforts this past season. Contemplating accomplishments on the trail and in our education and conservation efforts can only be assessed by recognizing the one thing that made all of these achievements possible…volunteers and our supporters.
The Whitefish Trail Bike Patrol is now in its 5th year with over 20 volunteers who regularly patrol the trail to assist in medical injuries and emergencies, monitor trail conditions and track use patterns. Chris Miller who manages bike patrol emphasizes that “Volunteering for the bike patrol helps keep our trail safe and users informed and provides volunteers an opportunity to join a fun, active and dedicated community of mountain bikers.”
During this first year of the Adopt-A-Trail program, seven segments were adopted by businesses and organizations who pledge to annually maintain and patrol their section of trail for three years. Volunteers from Applied Materials, Wheelie Creative Design, Whitefish Mountain Resort, RE/MAX of Whitefish, Ethos Eco Boutique and the Whitefish Lake Institute cleared drains, removed brush and maintained tread this season. The Whitefish Bike Retreat also adopted the Beaver Lake and Woods Lake Trailheads and will regularly maintain these facilities each year.
Many individuals also give their time on the trail throughout the season. Jamie Moore, owner of Big Mountain Tree Service, annually donates his professional skills to keep the trail system clear of trees. This can be a huge job especially after a big winter or strong windstorm. Many other individuals also support the trail by participating in community service days, patrolling trail segments in the spring, painting benches, maintaining tools, and repairing signs.
As of the end of September, over 700 hours of work has been donated by individuals, groups, and businesses, totaling over $10,000 of in-kind labor. As the trail grows, so does the need to have this strong community support in place to sustain and maintain the trail.
In addition to all the work done by volunteers on the trail, amazing work is being accomplished in our community to ensure permanent conservation, protected watersheds and viewsheds, and quality recreation. The Whitefish Legacy Partner’s Board of Directors is working hard to wrap up the final fundraising to permanently protect 1,520 acres in the Beaver Lakes area. This project received exciting news this week to help us get closer to our $285,000 community fundraising goal.
Part time residents Joe and Cindy Gregory last week presented Whitefish Legacy Partners with a $200,000 donation to the Beaver Lakes project.
The Whitefish Community Foundation announced a $100k Major Challenge Grant. WLP must now raise the remaining $185,000 to take advantage of the Community Foundation’s $100k challenge. This matching grant helps ignite our final fundraising efforts and will be awarded once we raise the final $185,000. The payment for the Beaver Lakes project is due December 31st, 2014 and we need your help today to reach our goal.
We can only accomplish our important conservation, education and recreation work with your continued support. Many more volunteers, donors, and supporters have contributed time and energy this year and we will continue to share in future columns. Join us as a donor to help complete Beaver Lakes project or volunteer your time to leave a legacy. It’s time…ON the Whitefish Trail.