Open Space

North Hills from Mount Jumbo stock photo

Missoula County Parks, Trails, and Open Lands and Missoula Parks and Recreation Department are currently drafting a new master Parks, Recreation, Open Space and Trails (PROST) plan for the greater Missoula valley and urban area including the City of Missoula and portions of Missoula County. Learn more

The Open Space Chapter of the PROST Plan was adopted by the City and County in 2019. 

Open Space: Access, Conservation and Resource Protection

The City of Missoula is a leader in conserving open space land, protecting natural resources and providing public access for recreation through its Open Space and Conservation Lands divisions of the Department of Parks and Recreation.

The City owns and manages lands for public recreation and enjoyment, and residents support the costs of managing these public lands by volunteering, paying taxes and engaging in other community efforts which keep our public lands free to use and open to all.

Our work in open space conservation is guided by a number of other publicly adopted land use plans, including the City’s Urban Area Open Space Plan. We are in the process of updating the open space plan as part of the Parks, Recreation, Open Space and Trails (PROST) plan. You can learn about that effort (PDF).

Conservation Lands Management

The City owns and maintains over 4,200 acres of open space conservation lands and 59 miles of trails for public access, including lands on Mount Jumbo, Mount Sentinel, the North Hills, South Hills and the Tower Street Conservation Area, and other natural areas throughout Missoula. City conservation lands are managed through the Conservation Lands Division, in cooperation with agency partners and adjacent landowners such as the U.S. Forest Service, the University of Montana, the Bureau of Land Management, Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, and Missoula County. We manage conservation lands in accordance with the 2010 Conservation Lands Management Plan (PDF), which outlines the cost of managing City conservation lands as approximately $142 per acre.

Community Partnerships

Our work would not be possible without strong partnerships with local, state and federal government, private landowners and businesses, land trusts and other conservation organizations, and regular public input and oversight by our citizen advisory committees and boards, including the Open Space Advisory Committee, Conservation Lands Advisory Committee and the Parks and Recreation Board.


  • Conservation Lands Management and Trails: Conservation Lands Manager Jeff Gicklhorn, 406-552-6691.
  • Open Space and Park Acquisition: Open Space Program Manager (position temporarily vacant.) Contact Director Donna Gaukler, 406-552-6265.

City Open Space Bond Project Map (PDF)

Current Projects

2018 Open Space Bond and City Mill Levy

Major open space initiatives

  • Extending the Milwaukee Trail east and west
  • Open space conservation in the South Hills, North Hills
  • Protecting and restoring riparian corridors
  • Conserving agricultural land and working lands
  • Mount Dean Stone Project
  • Ensuring all of Missoula’s citizens can access a park, trail or open space land within a 10-minute walk from their house

Resources and Planning Documents

Find a Park

Jumbo L trail credit Jackie Corday
Jumbo Saddle
Riverfront Trail-credit Kelly Frick
Mt Jumbo North

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