by Bob Walker with information from the Great Western Trail Association
Great news! The Great Western Trail is now complete from Arizona to West Yellowstone Montana! Mike Titus, representing the GWT Association, invested many hours in discussions with the USDA Forest Service in Montana and Idaho, with Bob Walker, Montana Trail Rider News editor, Jason Howell, President of the Montana Snowmobile Association, and various members of the Board of MTVRA to make this first connection in Montana. After gaining all approvals necessary from the land managing agency, the Great Western Trail signs were installed last fall by staff of the Hebgen Lake Ranger District! We understand that there will be a dedication of this connection this summer. More details to come later.
The Great Western Trail (GWT) is a north-south long distance multiple use route which currently runs from Canada to Mexico through four western states in the United States. The trail has access for both motorized and non-motorized users and traverses 4,455 miles through Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho. It carries the designation of a National Millennium Trail.
It is the longest truly multiple-use trail system in the world being made up of paralleling and shared routes for all types of trail recreationists. These include hikers, horsemen, bicyclists, cross-country skiers, snow-shoers, motorcyclists, snowmobilers, boaters, ATV and four-wheel drive vehicle users.
The GWT has been created with very little new construction, linking together existing routes approved for the above uses through primarily public lands. It is one of the finest examples in the US of what can be accomplished when all users come together on a mutually beneficial project.
Now the next big step – find a route through Montana to eventually reach the Canadian border. We will provide more information about this important trail in future issues of Montana Trail Rider News.