BUTTE, Mont. – The hills around Helena could soon see a new trail system for those seeking additional recreation opportunities close to home. The Bureau of Land Management’s Butte Field Office opened a public comment period today on a proposed Recreation Area Management Plan and environmental assessment for the Scratchgravel Hills northwest of Helena.
The Scratchgravel Hills, which already see heavy recreation use, are located just five miles from Helena and cover approximately 5,500 acres of BLM land. The Scratchgravel XC Cup is held here each year.
Based upon input from the public, and in response to scoping comments by local recreationists, the proposed RAMP includes the construction of a new 40-mile trail system that would be open to biking, hiking, trail running, disc golf and equestrian use. The proposed new trail system would also allow e-bikes less than 1 horsepower.
“The BLM looks forward to working with the public and area partners to develop a trail system that meets the community’s needs,” said Lindsey Babcock, Acting Butte Field Manager.
Among other things, the RAMP would identify specific trail use zones; improve signage and visitor information; and provide sustainable options for continued use of the existing trails.
To view details about the plan, go to the BLM project e-planning site at https://eplanning.blm.gov/ and, choosing the Montana/Dakotas and Butte Field Office options, search for “Scratchgravel.”
The field office is taking public comments on the RAMP until Aug. 7. Comments may be emailed to [email protected] or, via mail, to Bureau of Land Management-Butte Field Office, ATTN: Scratchgravel RAMP, 106 N. Parkmont, Butte, MT 59701
Field office staff members will also be on site at the Norris Trailhead in the Scratchgravel Hills on July 16 and 22 from 6 to 8 p.m. to answer questions about the RAMP. The trailhead is located just west of the junction with Green Meadow Drive and Norris Road in Helena.
Background: The Scratchgravel Hills are a Special Recreation Management Area, designated in the Butte Resource Management Plan in April 2009. SRMAs are administrative units where the BLM has committed to emphasizing recreation by managing for specific recreation opportunities, experiences and settings on a sustained, long-term basis. The Butte Field Office issued a scoping letter and press release on the RAMP in March 2018.