New online map features trail systems around county

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This screen shot shows the interactive county trails map on the Flathead County website.

A new comprehensive and interactive online map of county trails is now available through Flathead County’s website.

The map shows both existing and proposed trails and allows users to search for a trail by using the search function or to select a trail to reveal the trail’s name and its use restrictions.

For Whitefish, the map includes the city’s shared use path that runs along the Whitefish River, the Glacier Nordic Center’s cross country ski trails and the Whitefish Trail. The map also includes trails in the Flathead National Forest and Glacier National Park.

The map was created as part of an update of the Flathead County Trails Plan, the People, Athletics, Travel, Health and Safety (PATHS) Advisory Committee worked with the Flathead County GIS (Geographic Information Systems) Department to develop a new comprehensive and interactive online map of county trails.

“Trail users will find the online trails map comprehensive and very useful. It is an important tool that the PATHS Advisory Committee wanted to see as an outcome of the trail plan update and we are happy to that it is now available to the public,” said Ryan Hunter of Flathead Land Trust and a member of the PATHS Advisory Committee.

The trails data has been compiled from many public and private sources and contributors and accommodate many users including hikers, bikers, equestrians, cross country skiers, ATVs, and snowmobilers. The trail descriptions will become more detailed as map users give feedback to the GIS Department.

“This trails database, maintained by our office, serves as a comprehensive repository for all the players to come together and a mechanism to make the data available and useful to the public via mobile devices and computers,” stated Ron Schlagenhaufer of the Flathead County GIS Department.

The online trails map can be found on the GIS Department’s webpage http://flathead.mt.gov/gis/ and then by selecting the “GIS Applications” link. The “Trails in Flathead Valley” link is in alphabetical order towards the bottom of the page.

An effort to update the Flathead County Trails Plan began with a meeting in July 2017, organized by Mary Ruby as a member of the County Weeds, Parks, and Recreation Board. The meeting reconstituted the PATHS Advisory Committee which consists of representatives from Flathead County Parks and Planning Departments; the U.S. Forest Service; National Park Service; Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks; city representatives; and 12 local community organizations.

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