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Flower Creek, Old Snowshoe trails plan presentation on Nov. 16

by HAYDEN BLACKFORD
Daily Inter Lake | November 15, 2022 12:00 AM

The Libby Outdoor Recreation Association sets its sights on increasing public access as Montana’s booming recreation economy and lifestyle requires sustainable growth, forethought and public input.

Tony Petrusha presented the city council with the draft plan for the South Flower Creek, Old Snowshoe Recreational Development on Nov. 7.

Petrusha was speaking on behalf of the Libby Outdoor Recreation Association (LORA), a non-profit that represents outdoor recreationists, cross country skiers, horseback riders and hikers.

To form the plan, the organization worked with the U.S. Forest Service, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation and Lincoln County.

“Our purpose is to create, enhance and maintain sustainable recreation opportunities for the greater Libby area,” Petrusha said.

The Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research’s Non-Resident Travel Survey Reporting System found that visitors traveling through Glacier Country spent about $813 million in 2020, LORA reports in their recreation plan.

In 2016 there was an effort made to create a greater Libby area trails plan, Petrusha said.

LORA wants to help outdoor recreationists gain direction, maintain stewardship and prioritize projects, Petrusha said. It would also like to guide future local, state and federal planning efforts for land use to economic development in the Libby area.

“We want to get people outside,” he said.

In the plan, South Flower Creek is divided into five sections of trail with 31 miles of new and existing trails, Petrusha said.

“The cross country runners love running up there,” Petrusha said.

Among other things in the plan is a proposed parking area on City of Libby property which is bisected by South Flower Creek Ski trails on Granite Creek Road. There are also talks continuing with local landowners that may open up additional access points to the South Flower Creek system. LORA is exploring the possibility of creating a looping trail system close to Libby and expanding bike trails in the area.

The money for these projects will come from public grants and private funding.

The Libby Outdoor Recreation Association is hosting a public meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16, in the First Montana Bank community room, located at 504 Mineral Avenue in Libby.

In the meeting, LORA will present their plan, the status of projects, and request input from the community.

For more information on LORA or recreation projects, write or call Tony Petrusha at tpetrusha@yahoo.com or call 406-422-3528.