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.
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 email Morgan Valliant, 406-552-6263
- Open Space and Park Acquisition: Open Space Program Manager email Elizabeth Erickson, 406-552-6267
- South Hills Spur/Barmeyer Trail acquisition and trails
- MRL Park and Bitterroot Trail Connection acquisition - 4-acre park and trail connection at South and Johnson
- Oxbow Cattle Co. conservation easement - Lower Miller Creek
- Grove St.acquisition - 4.6-acre parcel to extend the Milwaukee Trail at Grove St.
- CLM Division: Rattlesnake Dam restoration
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
- 2006 Open Space Plan Document Plan Maps
- Conservation Lands Management Plan (PDF)
- Conservation Lands Management Plan Maps (PDF)
- Parks and Trails Map (PDF)
- Recent Additions to Missoula's Open Space
- Get Involved
- Open Space Advisory Committee
- Plants and Wildlife
- Visitor Information
- Open Space Closures