Beaverhead Trails Coalition expands Dillon-area walking paths

Casey S. Elliott
Wednesday, April 29, 2020
Inviting walk

The recently completed Noble Street Connector Path runs along the sixth hole of Beaverhead Golf Course. J.P. Plutt photo

Walking trails along Noble Street and extending past the Beaverhead Golf Course are now improved and expanded on the north end of town.

Beaverhead Trails Coalition recently completed most of the work to the Noble connector trail in the past couple of months, BTC Board Member Ed Mooney said. The entire stretch is 2,493 feet long, and 1,719 feet of that were finished up this month. An additional 774 feet of the trail was completed in September 2019.

The Noble connector path has been in the trails coalition’s plans for years. It was originally a project the Dillon Rotary wanted to undertake decades ago, Mooney said. Trails in and outside Dillon are part of an overall strategic plan for the coalition, who also recently completed purchasing land for a 10-mile stretch of trails outside of town.

“(Noble) is kind of a keystone connector with the Highway 41 trail, which runs north along that highway past the golf course, and the Laknar Lane trail,” he said. “Ultimately, we’d like to have a safe connection to the schools and things, which is the main focus on the north side of town.”

Current Dillon trails include a stretch along Laknar Lane, the walking school bus/safe routes to schools trail which connects the elementary, middle and high schools, Rotary’s Parkview trail and its safe route to schools trail; a connector to the University of Montana Western on Nelson Street, the Barrett Hospital trails; the YMCA trails and a small connector trail near there. The eventual goal is to have all the trails connect throughout town, Mooney said.

Beaverhead Golf Course President Mark Boka said the trail is a huge benefit to residents and to golfers. The golf course board worked with the coalition board to install an eight-foot fence between the golf course’s boundary and the trails, to protect the walkers from stray balls. The trails group also cleaned up the area where the trails went in, which is a nice visual improvement.

“They just made it a lot nicer area for the whole length of the trail by the golf course,” Boka said. “They did nothing but good things. We wish (the trails coalition) nothing but the best.”

Mooney said the golf course board was an great partner in the overall project: “The cooperation with the golf course has been outstanding. I can’t say enough about their willingness to work with us on the project. We wouldn’t have gotten it done without being able to work with them on it.”

Though the Noble trails are largely done, there is a little bit of work left to separate gravel and adjacent lanes, which will take place as funding is available. The trails are open and ready for use, Mooney said.

Design and construction contributors and collaborators for the Noble trails include the LOR Foundation, Union Pacific Foundation, United Way of Beaverhead County, Montana State Parks Recreational Trails Program, Dillon Rotary, Patagonia, R.E. Miller and Sons, the city of Dillon and Beaverhead Golf Course.

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