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Letter to the Editor: Have you voiced your support for our trails?

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To the Editor,

Each spring, I put together a hit list of trail runs I want to complete that season, selecting them on the basis of beauty, length and accessibility. Last summer, some good running buddies and I completed the Devil’s Backbone (Gallatin Crest Trail) and the Sky Rim Traverse in Yellowstone.

This year, I’ve got my eyes on the Lionhead Trail by Hebgen Lake. My husband Mike has been raving for years about its high-alpine single track, lack of travelers and expansive views. In mountain biking circles, Lionhead has a coveted set of trails maintained with pride by the southwest Montana chapter of the International Mountain Bicycling Association.

But did you know the Lionhead landscape is currently under review, as part of the U.S. Forest Service’s Custer Gallatin Forest revision plan? The organization has outlined a series of potential scenarios for the area, including some that would completely close the whole area to mountain biking. While I’m not a mountain biker, I support mountain biking in places like the Lionhead, as well as other issues regarding access.

The Forest Service’s goal is to protect the landscape, which may require designating the Lionhead as a non-motorized backcountry area. Thankfully the USFS has proposed this in Alternative E, but they need to know that people want to see that designation in the final decision.

We need to keep special places like Lionhead accessible. That’s why most of us moved here, isn’t it? We came for the winter but stayed for the summer because of what this area has to offer. I hope you will also voice your opinion.  

For more information and to make your voice heard, visit or contact the Forest Service by mail at Forest Plan Revision Team, P.O. Box 130, Bozeman, MT 59771.

Kate Ketschek

Big Sky

Joseph T. O'Connor is the previous Editor-in-Chief for EBS newspaper and Mountain Outlaw magazine.

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