Land Trust News

Kelly Kountz Photo / Courtesy of Gallatin Valley Land Trust

Universal Access Trails Workshop Coming to Missoula July 8-10

If you’re interested in learning more about “universal trails” – trails intended for broad use with little environmental impacts – you’d best sign up quick for the Universal Trails and Outdoors for Everyone Workshop, set for Missoula, July 8-10, 2020.

The workshop is made possible through financial support from the Land Trust Alliance Western Program and vast organizational support from Five Valleys Land Trust. As a result, the Alliance, Five Valleys and MALT are able to bring Larry Knutson of Penn Trails LCC to Missoula. The two-day technical workshop will be limited to 30 people and taught by Knutson, one of the foremost experts in designing, building, maintaining, and promoting universal access trail systems and universal design for the outdoors. He is co-author of the Universal Access Trail and Shared Use Paths Manual and has taught universal trail design and building throughout the US. RSVP to Ryan Stutzman or call 549-0755 to reserve your spot.

The workshop will start the evening of July 8 with an evening panel presentation (free and open to the public) titled “Voices from the Community: Why Access, Equity, and Inclusion Matter.” This community event will address the issues of equity, inclusion, and access to the outdoors by exploring some of the social, economic, cultural, and infrastructure barriers that reduce access to our trails and natural areas.

Day two of the workshop features a Knutson-led classroom session focused on planning, design, and maintenance of universally accessible pedestrian trails. That evening (July 9) will offer a picnic at the Five Valleys Land Trust Rock Creek Confluence Property.

Day three will offer an outdoor “hands on” experience in Frenchtown that involves creating and managing your own universal trail project. Participants should bring a project idea or concept for your own universally accessible trail project to this session. Working with Knutson in small groups, you’ll gain experience needed to begin planning your own project for a universally accessible trail that is practicable for your own site. This day will include a visit to an active Five Valleys Land Trust project site in Frenchtown. Again, class size is limited to ensure effective classroom and in-field interaction, so please RSVP soon if you want to attend.