Missoula Wants Your Ideas For Making Riverfront Awesome
Missoula leaders are launching a new plan for a section of the Clark Fork. And now is your time to submit ideas.
It's an important step to protect and enhance the area, extending all the progress made around Caras Park and other locations upriver. You're being invited to learn more about the project and share your feedback and ideas through September 21st, using the city's Engage Missoula website.
"Historically, the Clark Fork River through downtown Missoula has been heavily used and abused. This project offers opportunities to improve the river's form and function." -Morgan Valliant, Superintendent of Parks and Recreation Ecosystem Services.
As has happened elsewhere along the river, one objective is decommissioning the old Flynn-Lowey irrigation ditch and sending that water back into the river. At the same time, the $300,000 project supported by the Missoula Redevelopment Agency, Trout Unlimited, and Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks will improve habitat and also recreational opportunities.
What should be included?
Several suggestions come to mind, such as the obvious improvements along the connecting trails. Other ideas have included safety improvements and getting rid of old manmade features like head gates.
I've always entertained the idea Missoula could do more to enhance the "river feel" of the entire corridor and the importance of the Clark Fork to our ecology. If you've ever been to Aspen, Colorado, the city has done an amazing job of highlighting water and streams, while still boosting water conservation. There's even a small stream that runs right through downtown, and adjacent parks incorporate water courses wherever possible.
Since one of the questions is what to do with the "seasonal channel" bordering the West Broadway Island Natural Park, maybe there could be support for enhanced natural areas, combined with signs or displays explaining the Clark Fork's importance.
What other ideas do you have for this important stretch of river? Share your comments with the city and check out the full plans here.