The former Marshall Mountain Ski Area is under contract to be sold to a private owner and there’s not much more backcountry user groups can do other than cross their finger for agreements to allow some continued public access.
8KPAX reports the new owners are advocating continued public respect for the area until the deal is finalized. Backcountry skiers, bikers, and hikers have been buzzing all month as word got out Marshall Mountain was under contract to be sold to a new owner. Ever since the ski area closed 18-years ago, users have always been hopeful the area would be transferred into public ownership:
“I know there’s been discussions over the years between conservation partners and the community, you know, the city and the county and conservation NGOs. And it’s just unfortunate that circumstances turned out there wasn’t a way to put a deal together to conserve public access at Marshall Mountain”-Montana Backcountry Alliance Volunteer Trustee Derek Goldman
The use of the property to access thousands of acres of backcountry depended on the generosity of long-time owner Bruce Doering of Missoula, who not only allowed parking and trail access but special events like mountain bike races. Since news of the pending sale broke on social media a couple of weeks ago, there’s been renewed interest on what happens here with access in the future.
“And you know hopefully something can be worked out. We hope moving forward that whoever ends up buying it, you know, we’re more than willing to work with them to come to some mutual, you know, satisfactory agreements that both take into account landowner privacy as well as public access for recreation.”
The City of Missoula had made an unsuccessful offer to buy the property at a lower price using funds from the voter-approved open space bond. To be determined how the new owners handle 18 years worth of backcountry skiers who want to shred their hill.
images from skimap.org