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Montana Wilderness Association: Take a Hike. Here’s a Guide

The Montana Wilderness Association's online trail-hiking guide offers a new way for avid hikers to spend a day on the trail. The guide came together with the help of an array of volunteers.

If you’re looking to take a hike in Montana, you won’t find a guide more detailed and informative than the one the Montana Wilderness Association recently created.

MWA, which launched in 1958, recently announced one of its largest initiatives in years: hikewildmontana.org, an online map of more than 200 trails, varying in length from a handful of miles to more than 40. Some might be a fun afternoon hike, others a multiday trek. The guide also tells travelers exactly what’s nearby—so they know where they can find a quick meal or some extra supplies along the way.

The guide was created thanks to the work of the MWA, a grant from the Montana Office of Tourism, and a lot of elbow grease from volunteers around the state. More than 70 people took part in building the resource, which is intended to make hiking trips easier to research, according to MWA Community Engagement Manager Kassia Randzio, who came up with the idea.

“If you have lived in Montana or are visiting, you once needed a library of resources and maps to get information about where to go hiking and when,” Randzio told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle earlier this month. “Especially for people that are new to hiking or aren’t as familiar with Montana, it can be a daunting task and they end up going to the same old spots. We want people to get to the lesser known-places. We want them to be a part of the future of those places as well.”

The guide, which provides information on each trail, along with ever-important driving instructions, is also intended to encourage preservation efforts around the many trails.

“I think people care a lot more about the places that they have been to,” MWA Communications Manager Ted Brewer told the newspaper. “What this guide does is gets people out onto landscapes that we feel are worth protecting. It is a tool to connect people to special places in Montana.”

And, like a handwritten notebook, the online trail guide is more of a living history than a guide that’s written in stone. Users who have something to add to the guide can log in and post their own details to the mix.

“As the guide catches on, we expect the number of trail descriptions to grow exponentially,” Randzio wrote in a blog post.

(iStock/Thinkstock)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a senior editor for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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