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Marshall Mountain Park is now officially owned by Missoula County

Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) – Two of three Missoula County commissioners, city officials and numerous nonprofit groups gathered Tuesday afternoon for an official ribbon cutting ceremony confirming that Marshall Mountain Park is now officially owned by Missoula County.

I have spoken to several people who have played a significant role in getting to this point.

Randy Arnold, Missoula County's new director of land, culture and recreation, said the road to today's celebration has taken several years of hard work.

At a ceremonial opening, Marshall Mountain Park was confirmed as county property

“There have been many steps, and that's a nice way to describe it,” Arnold began. “A long history of community partners coming together and recognizing that ultimately, and with a lot of foresight, this could become public property and available to the community. With today's grand opening, we are recognizing and celebrating that this property will be publicly owned now and in perpetuity. The property is open to the public, you can come here and mountain bike, trail run and hike, and there are a lot of natural resources here that are important to the area.”

Jackson Lee, manager of Marshall Mountain Park, elaborated on Arnold's comment.

Park manager wants to build new partnerships for Marshall Mountain

“What I've seen in my time leading Marshall Mountain Park is that there are so many good things already happening,” Lee said. “Now it's an opportunity to build on those partnerships, bring in new partnerships and also expand the accessibility and users of the space for residents of Missoula County and beyond.”

County Commissioner Dave Strohmaier acknowledged the partnerships that made Tuesday's event possible.

“Thank you to Izzy Dog LLC, thank you to the Nature Conservancy, thank you to the Five Valleys Land Trust and thank you to the Conservation Fund,” said Strohmaier. “Thank you to everyone who helped secure these properties that are now owned by their owners in the heart of Missoula County.”

The late Mayor John Engen was a great supporter of Marshall Mountain Park

Several years ago, the late Mayor John Engen celebrated the partnership with the County and Izzy Dog, LLC. I asked Donna Gauckler what she thought the late Mayor would say if he could attend the grand opening.

“This would have been one of those moments where Mayor Engen would have talked about how proud he is to be a member of our community,” she said.

Using voter-approved city and county open space bond funds, the city and county worked together to ensure that Marshall Mountain Recreation Area would remain open to the public forever.

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