MISSOULA – The M Trail on Mount Sentinel will be closed in the afternoon on Wednesday, April 18, and the morning of Thursday, April 19, while the Montana Conservation Corps repairs a section of trail.
When the trail reopens in the afternoon on April 19, hikers will be asked to help carry gravel up the mountain. Hikers who don’t want to carry gravel are asked to use the Ridge Trail, which will remain open during the repair work.
Gravel transport will continue Friday, April 20, with help from the students of Sussex School.
The work is part of ongoing upgrades to protect the M Trail, which is the most frequently used trailhead in Montana. All improvements are funded by grants and donations.
“A thousand people a day hike up the M Trail, and one of the results is constant mass erosion,” said Marilyn Marler, UM natural areas manager. “These repairs are badly needed.”
On April 7, more than 30 volunteers turned out to help transport log steps up the mountain, perform trail maintenance and repair the bench at the first switchback. Montana Conservation Corps workers will now use the log steps to build a new stair structure at switchback No. 8. The gravel hauled by volunteers will fill in the stair structure.
“The community response we’ve seen since putting out the call for volunteers has been really heartwarming,” Marler said. “Missoulians clearly love the M Trail and want to protect it for future generations.”
To make a tax-deductible donation to the Friends of the M Trail fund, visit http://mtrail.org.