Places Worth Protecting Published in the Whitefish Pilot on 9.18.2013
The Whitefish Trail at Woods Lake is transforming an area that has long been over-looked by many, into a place that we will all quickly grow to love. Trail building and restoration work have all come together to create a place that locals will embrace and visitors will enjoy with ease.
What started as a dream of creating a trail system that would encircle Whitefish Lake is growing and developing into something so much more. The 4.5 miles of loop trails and access to Woods Lake creates a recreation destination for families, horse users, fisherman, mountain bikers and hikers looking for a place to enjoy the day on the beautiful lands that surround Whitefish. The vision of the Whitefish Trail was to create “The Trail That Runs Through It” and Woods Lake is “It”!
More than 50 people gathered at the new trailhead in the Beaver Lakes area on Saturday to celebrate the newest addition to the Whitefish Trail. Ribbons were cut on not one, but two trails with the west side trail being inaugurated by the key partners in the project including Whitefish City officials, Department of Natural Resources representatives, Whitefish Legacy Partners Board members, and the trail construction contractors. The east side trails were officially opened by trail designers and project managers, David Noftsinger and Greg Gunderson of Forestoration, and most notably, by the children who will one day inherit this legacy of trails and recreational assets that we are creating.
Hiking on the overlook loop section with views of Whitefish Lake on the guided hike afterwards, one child noted enthusiastically, “This is definitely the best part of the Whitefish Trail. I like hiking here. I’m so excited.”
And we are proud of the role youth played recently in working on the trail. A team of girls from Montana Academy, a youth-at risk-facility based in Marion, spent three days working hard to help build drains, tamp, brush and rake the new trail to be ready for the Grand Opening.
The primary trail contractors on the project included Pete Costain, of Terraflow Trail Systems, and Darren Pfeifle, of Montana Made Trails, both who worked tirelessly to create the trails across terrain that will provide endless fun. Reid Sabin, owner of GreenSPACE LLC, built the trailhead and shaped the lake access area and Derreck Thompson, of Thompson Design and Maintenance LLC, constructed the trailhead kiosk and crafted natural seating for a special forest hollow to rest after a trek in the woods.
Partial funding for these trails was provided in part by the Fish Wildlife and Parks Recreational Trails Program grant, corporate sponsors, Whitefish Trail Friends and Families, and a generous financial donation and a trail corridor easement from the Goguen Family.
Additional community volunteers and in-kind donations rounded out the project. A special thanks to Feldt Excavation Inc., Plum Creek Timber Company Inc., Midway Rental, St. Marie Graphics, Wheelie Creative Design LLC, Acutech and Fast Signs for everything you all did to make another section of the Whitefish Trail a huge success.
Please make your personal commitment to become a Whitefish Trail Friend or Family today. We need everyone’s continued annual support.
It’s definitely ON…the Whitefish Trail at Woods Lake!