Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - Two of three Missoula County Commissioners, representatives from the city, and a host of nonprofit groups all came together on Tuesday afternoon for an official ribbon-cutting ceremony confirming that Missoula County now officially owns Marshall Mountain Park.

I spoke with several individuals who have played a significant role in the journey to this point.

Randy Arnold is the new Director of Missoula County Land, Culture, and Recreation, who said the journey to today’s celebration took several years of very hard work.

A Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Confirmed County Ownership of Marshall Mountain Park

“There have been a lot of steps and that's a nice way to describe it,” began Arnold. “A long history of community partners coming together recognizing that eventually and with a lot of vision that this could be in public ownership and available to the community. With the ribbon cutting today what we're doing is recognizing and celebrating that for now and into the future in perpetuity this property will be in public ownership. The property is open to the public to use you can come up here and mountain bike trail run and hike and there's a lot of natural resources here that are of significance to the area.”

Marshall Mountain Park Manager Jackson Lee expanded on Arnold’s comment.

Park Manager Wants to Build on New Partnerships for Marshall Mountain

“What I've seen in my time as Marshall Mountain Park Manager is there's so many good things already happening,” said Lee. “Now it's an opportunity to build on those partnerships, bring new partnerships into the fold, and also expand the accessibility and who's using the space, for Missoula County residents and beyond.”

County Commissioner Dave Strohmaier celebrated the partnerships that made Tuesday’s event possible.

“Thanks to Izzy Dog LLC; thanks to the Nature Conservancy; thanks to Five Valleys Land Trust, and thanks to the Conservation Fund,” said Strohmaier. “Thanks to all of those who played a role in securing these parcels of land that today are even though they were in the ownership in the middle of Missoula County.”


The Late Mayor John Engen was a Big Supporter of Marshall Mountain Park

It was several years ago that the late mayor John Engen celebrated the partnership with the county and Izzy Dog, LLC. I asked Donna Gauckler what she thought the late mayor might say if he were able to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“This would have been one of those moments where Mayor Engen would be speaking to the pride he has in being a member of our community,” she said.

With the use of voter-approved City and County open space bond funds, the City and County collaborated to ensure the Marshall Mountain recreation area will forever remain open to public use.

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