The Missoula Gazette
The Missoula Gazette is an Online Publication about Missoula, Montana.
Here is a link from the Wikipedia Article on Missoula
Missoula’s location in a river valley surrounded by mountains on all sides as well as its history has had a great influence on the development of the city’s parks and recreation activities. Today the city boasts over 400 acres of parkland, 22 miles of trails, and nearly 5000 acres of open-space conservation land. Located at the confluence of three rivers (the Clark Fork, Bitterroot, and Blackfoot), the area is also popular for white water rafting and, thanks largely to the novel and subsequent film A River Runs Through It by Missoula native Norman Maclean, is well known for its fly fishing. Additionally, Missoula has two aquatic parks, multiple golf courses, is home to the Adventure Cycling Association, and hosts what Runner’s World called the “best overall” marathon in the nation. There are also three ski areas within 100 miles: Montana Snowbowl, Discovery Ski Area, and Lost Trail Powder Mountain. Slightly farther away are Lookout Pass, Blacktail Mountain, and Big Mountain.
A system of public parks was developed in Missoula in 1902 with the donation of 42 acres along the Rattlesnake Creek for ‘Greenough Park’ by lumber baron Thomas Greenough and his wife Tessie. They simply asked that “the land forever be used as a park and for park purposes to which the people of Missoula may during the heated days of summer, the beautiful days of autumn, and the balmy days of spring find a comfortable, romantic and poetic retreat” with a follow-up nine years later in a letter to the Missoulian stressing his interest in having the park remain in as close to a native state as possible. Today, that request along with the discovery that non-native Norway Maples were inhibiting the growth of native trees and shrubs such as cottonwoods, ponderosa pines, Rocky Mountain maples led to the controversial decision to remove the beautiful, yet invasive tree from the park with the hope of returning it to its natural state.
In 1924, ‘Bonner Park’ was created out of John L. Bonner’s estate near the university. The park today has multiple athletic fields and courts in addition a band shell used by the Missoula City band through the summer. The Kiwanis club set up a park downtown in 1934, making ‘Kiwanis Park’ the first of a string of parks that today lines both sides of the Clark Fork River. One of those parks on the southern bank of the river is ‘McCormick Park’, which was created with WPA funds out of surplus highway land, a parcel from the American Hide and Fur Company, and land donated from the Kate McCormick estate. The 26-acre park, named for Washington J. McCormick and his wife is home to a skate park, aquatics center, a free bike check-out and a children’s fishing pond. Other popular parks include the ‘Jacobs Island Bark Park’, a designated area for dogs to play off-leash; the ‘Memorial Rose Garden’ dedicated to Montana’s WWII and Vietnam veterans; ‘Waterwise Garden’, a “living laboratory” garden utilizing water conservation techniques; and ‘Splash Montana Waterpark’ at Playfair Park.