A new trail finally opened Thursday night in the Grant Creek area of Missoula, but despite the new exciting improvements and a little grand opening celebration, Director of Missoula’s Parks and Recreation Donna Gaukler said there are groundbreaking plans already in the works for a trail totaling over three miles from I-90 and Reserve Street all the way up Snowbowl Road.

"The Grant Creek Trail is significant for a number of reasons. One, it is a corridor trail that is two miles long that connects a number of neighborhoods that otherwise have virtually no connection other than a road," Gaukler said. "So it's part of creating a healthy built environment which we know is good for many, many of reasons, and it's also good for biking and hiking."

And the public’s response?

"Fantastic! One of the hardest things during construction, quite frankly, was keeping people off the trail until it was ready for opening," Gaukler said. "It really was the efforts of the local residents, property owners, and homeowners that made it possible by donating easements, raising funds, and then we were able to match that to almost a million dollars in a variety of transportation grants for active transportation. It was a good partnership effort."

Gaukler said the county is already talking with the Upper Grant Creek neighborhoods as far as work to expand the trail. She said the timeline looks to begin around April 2016 with construction for continuation of the trail towards Snowbowl Road.

Other trail details can be found on the parks and rec website.