A $50,000 investment of state tourism money is being rolled out today. It’s a map-based website that highlights and guides people to more than 200 trails across Montana. The site is called hikewildmontana.org.
"It’s Montana’s first online, statewide trail guide."
That’s Kassia Randzio with the Montana Wilderness Association. MWA volunteers spent months gathering information about the trails and then had a Whitefish company build the website. It includes photos and trail descriptions, and filters to select different kinds of trails, like those that are kid-friendly or particularly good in a particular season.
"When you go online to other resources that are out there, some national sites might have a whole ton of trails for Colorado or Washington, but there’s not always a lot available for Montana. So, we wanted some of the lesser-known areas, and a lot of the trails in this resource here aren’t in any other guidebook and it would be hard to find information about them online."
Governor Steve Bullock spoke at a launch event for the website in Helena today. The Wilderness Association says its goals for the site include getting at least 25,000 unique visitors in its first year, and recruiting people to join the Association or help out with its efforts to protect public wildlands.
Randzio says the Wilderness Association plans to take care of the expense of maintaining hikewildmontana.org, and that means asking for donations, as well as selling business sponsorships.