Wow! UM News Service tells us that the M Trail above the University of Montana campus serves more than 1,000 hikers per day!

That's a lot of footsteps, and with them comes a lot of wear and tear that can't be ignored. But the good news is that the trail will not close. Gorgeous views of the Missoula Valley will still be a summertime mainstay.

But, hikers do need to know that the university will soon begin working on the M Trail, making it more sustainable for years to come. Here's the plan:

To prevent erosion, UM will begin to reroute Section 11 of the M Trail in early June. This work will impact just two of the 13 switchbacks that lead to the M, and the entire trail will remain open to the public throughout the effort.

The trail reroute is part of a multiyear plan to rehabilitate the M Trail. This was made possible by a 2022 Recreational Trail Grant, which will pay for upgrades to vegetation  around the M itself. And 100 additional railroad ties will be added. Those were donated to UM by Montana Rail Link to help prevent large-scale erosion. If there are any hearty souls who wish to volunteer with some of this work you can send an email to MTrailVolunteer@gmail.com.

Also, staff member will be spot-spraying invasive plants on the M Trail, as they have been doing for 22 years. It's a continued effort to battle spotted knapweed, leafy spurge and other invasive species that have a tendency to crowd out Montana wildflowers.

It sounds like a pretty minor imposition to hikers with a lot of long-term gains. Rerouting instructions on the trail should make things pretty obvious on your way up or down.

Oh, one more thing: Want to be a "M Trail Ranger?" UM is looking for part-time summer  employees to provide a friendly presence on the trail, explaining what work is going on, answering questions about flowers, taking photos for tourists and more. You can email Marilyn Marker if you are interested, at marilyn.marler@mso.umt.edu.

Our thanks to UM News Service for the opportunity to help get the word out.

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