Norman MacLean Trail Route Almost Complete - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Norman MacLean Trail Route Almost Complete

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MISSOULA - After nearly two years, the route for a back country trail, connecting the city of Missoula and the town of Seeley Lake, is almost finalized.

Project organizers say the Norman Ma clean Trail will one-day serve as the perfect opportunity to connect two communities through nature and history.

In 1921, the family of great American author, Norman Ma clean, built a cabin on the shores of Seeley Lake.

Through stories that were told over the decades, it was revealed Norman and his brother, Paul, often hiked from their home in Missoula to the family cabin to write, relax and fish.

"The trail kind of emerged from those stories being told about how Boy Scouts came up to Camp Paxson from Missoula," said Stan Nicholson, a founding member of the Seeley Lake Community Foundation, "And about how the MacLean brothers walked apparently overnight, although we doubt it, to their cabin from Missoula."

Lee Boman, another member of the Seeley Lake Community Foundation, added, "And, in that spirit, we are recreating a trail to honor that activity that is very unique to Western Montana."

The Seeley Lake Community Foundation and the Missoula Community Foundation are partnering to make this "tale" become "true."

Beginning at the Rattlesnake Trailhead in Missoula, the roughly 60-mile trail would wind through woods, around tribal lands, away from grizzly bear recovery zones to the Seth Diamond Trailhead in Seeley Lake.

Meredith Printz: "The Forest Service asked us to stay on cautionary roads, which are roads that are cooperatively owned and managed by the Forest Service. We are trying to avoid a NEPA process, which is an environmental review process, which is time consuming and expensive."

"What we're going to have is a guide book, a trail guide book, and that is going to provide information about where different points of human interest, natural interest," said Boman. "That guide will provide information about where people can camp."

Bringing the idea to fruition is a volunteer effort, funded by $1,000 from each community foundation, along with two grants from the Montana Community Foundation, one for $5,000 and the other for $6,000.

"We need people who want to volunteer to so some scouting, to do some GPS," Printz said. "We do want people to use all different modalities to scout for us, because somebody biking it will have a different impression than somebody on a horse."

Nicholson added, "One of the things that's amazing is finding opportunities for organizations to work together and partner on projects like this one,"

Both community foundations want to hear from people who have experienced a part, or all, of the route.

If you have a story, you can find a link to submit it, by clicking here.

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