Finding a New Path
Proclaimed the coldest spot in the nation, Cut Bank, Montana’s six to eight month bitterly cold winters preserve the breathtaking views but often keep its residents confined indoors.
The town residents enjoy a 360 degree view of mountains, rivers, plains and spectacular coulees without a way to access and enjoy these spots safely. With the support of residents and city and county government, a committee was formed in 2011 to help make a change.
A proposal for an exciting eight mile route, was mapped and broken into segments, all around and through Cut Bank. It would provide access to an untapped world many in the community had never seen. A segment of the trail would be designated a safe route through town to access public recreation spots. The scenery and access are two immediate benefits of the effort, but the trail would also promote Cut Bank as a better place to live, work and visit for generations to come.
This endeavor was a lofty goal, with an immense price tag. But the determination of this small town is as big as the 27 foot concrete penguin landmark that greets visitors as they enter the community.
The trail committee heard about the State Farm Neighborhood Assist grant program. Fortunately, Cut Bank was one the 40 winners from across the country in 2015 to win the grant.
Cut Bank could move forward with the most exciting section of the walking trail. This is due to the combination of volunteers, donated materials, and the $25,000 grant. The Coulee Route is a visually stunning 1.5 mile section of trail that follows the natural valley carved out by Cut Bank Creek.
The new paths carved through the Cut Bank community allow residents the opportunity to get out and walk, explore, and be active. “All you need is a pair of shoes,” says Burke McCormick, Route Chairman, Cut Bank Trail.