Comment period opens for ultra marathon on Big Mountain

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The Flathead National Forest has opened a public comment period regarding a special use permit for a proposed ultra marathon on Big Mountain.

Public comment on the proposed race will be taken through Wednesday, June 19 via Julie Gerrior at 758-3542 or emailed to comments-northern-flathead-tally-lake@fs.fed.us.

Whitefish Legacy Partners on April 9 was granted a special use permit from the Flathead National Forest for the 50-kilometer trail run that is planned to use existing roads and trails within the Whitefish Mountain Resort permit boundary. The race planned to take place on Oct. 5 would be run from downtown Whitefish up to Big Mountain’s summit by way of existing ski runs and the Danny On trail and finish back in Whitefish, portions of the race would also occur on the Whitefish Trail.

The new 50K Mountain Ultra is limited to 200 runners and set to take place on Saturday, Oct. 5.

Tally Lake District Ranger Bill Mulholland approved the permit, saying in an email the “project was scoped internally and found no extraordinary circumstances or significance of cumulative effects.”

Some opponents of the project have voiced their concerns over a lack of a public process to begin with as well as holding a race in grizzly habitat.

Mulholland said that regarding grizzly bear territory and upsetting natural habitats, the WLP permit proposal had been reviewed by a forest wildlife biologist.

More information regarding the projects can be found at http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/flathead/projects.

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