By Bob Walker, Editor, Montana Trails Rider News and Member, Montana Trails Coalition

The Montana Trails Coalition (MTC) sprung from discussions by the Montana’s State Trails Advisory Committee (STAC). The STAC advises Fish, Wildlife & Parks primarily on the expenditures of Recreational Trails Program Funds.  However, members saw a need to for an organization that brings statewide trails organizations together to address trails issues and work together for the common good.

The Coalition’s mission is to work with individuals, organizations, and communities to support trails and outdoor recreation opportunities on public and private lands open for public use in Montana.  We intend to work cooperatively as interest groups to better support the promotion and enhancement of trails and outdoor recreation opportunities on public lands in Montana.

The State of Montana has very few funding or revenue streams to support the maintenance, improvement, or development of trails and outdoor recreation opportunities on our public lands. The current federal and state appropriations are extremely inadequate to meet the needs of outdoor recreation management agencies, communities or organizations. The federal land management agencies have substantially declining budgets in trails and outdoor recreation management.  One of our many objectives includes securing adequate resources to meet Montana’s needs through donations, increased federal funding, legislation to address Montana’s community and regional trails needs, and enhanced volunteerism.

Currently members of the Coalition Board include Bike Walk Montana, Montana Trail Vehicle Riders Association, Back Country Horsemen of Montana, Montana Snowmobile Association, Friends of the Little Belts, Mountain Bicyclists of Missoula, Montana Trails, Recreation & Parks Association, Montana Wilderness Association, and the State Trails Advisory Committee.

Advisors include the USDA Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, Federal Highway Adminsitration, and the Montana Department of Transportation.

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