The day starts in town with Bike Your Park Day, an initiative sponsored by the Missoula-based Adventure Cycling as part of its 40th anniversary celebration and the National Park Service's centennial to encourage people to discover their parks and public lands by bicycle. More than 10,000 people throughout the U. S. and the world are signed up at BikeYourParkDay.org. Working with Free Cycles Missoula, Bike Your Park Day begins at 8:30am with snacks, coffee, and free bike tune-ups at the Free Cycles shop (732 S. 1st St. West) followed by a seven-mile ride to the Milltown State Park Overlook.
At 10am, Montana State Park staff will lead a short hike down to the Clark Fork River floodplain, where volunteer crews will plant 200 ponderosa pines. Volunteers should bring work gloves and boots.
From 11am until 3pm, the trail to the Overlook, which offers a panoramic view of the restored confluence of the Clark Fork and Blackfoot Rivers, will be the site of this year’s Community at the Confluence, an event co-organized by Friends of Two Rivers. Educational booths from local nonprofits will highlight the area’s human and natural history. Experts will be on hand to talk about wildlife corridors, river restoration and local history. Milltown State Park staff will lead kids’ activities focused on bird habitat and migrations, using curriculum developed by the Cornell Ornithological Lab.
At day’s end, 3pm, enjoy an easy-paced three-mile run led by Run Wild Missoula’s Back of the Pack group, followed by a light snack potluck.
A line-up for the day’s events is as follows:
8:30am – Bike Your Park ride (meet at Free Cycles Missoula 732 S. 1st St. West)
10:00am – Volunteers gather at the Milltown State Park Overlook for tree planting
11:00am – Community at the Confluence (informational booths and food vendors)
11:30am – Live music begins with the Rocky Mountain Meadowlarks
12:00am – Walk & Talk – Animal Migration Corridors at Milltown with Jamie Jonkel, FWP bear management specialist
12:30pm – Bird Sleuth kid’s activities
1:00pm – Walk & Talk: River Restoration at Milltown with Doug Martin of the Montana Natural Resource Damage Program
2:00pm – Walk & Talk – A Confluence of Stories: Human History at Milltown State Park with Michael Kustudia, FWP, Milltown State Park Manager
3:00pm – Run Wild Missoula Back of the Pack Run & Social (approximately three miles)
For more information, call Michael Kustudia at (406) 542-5533 or Lance Olson at (406) 366-3246.
What: National Public Lands Day/Community at the Confluence
When: Saturday, September 24 at 10:00am
Where: Milltown State Park Overlook, 1353 Deer Creek Road, Missoula, MT
With 30 percent of America’s land owned by the public, National Public Lands Day is a time to celebrate the places where we play, learn, or relax. This year’s event marks the 5th annual celebration of public lands at Montana’s newest state park.
Across the country, National Public Lands Day is a program coordinated by The National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF). NEEF provides knowledge to trusted professionals who, with their credibility, amplify messages to national audiences to solve everyday environmental problems. The NPLD website, www.publiclandsday.org, links volunteers to sites and provides information on how to get involved.