Last week, the Missoula community was greeted with news that the base area of Marshall Mountain, the neighboring parcel to Five Valley’s 160 acres in the middle section of the mountain, had come under new ownership after many years of being on the market.
Izzy Dog, LLC purchased the property from longtime owners, the Doering family in late June. Izzy Dog will lease the 160-acre base area to the City of Missoula over the next 18-24 months, ensuring that ongoing City, nonprofit, and community programs, as well as general public access, can continue at the beloved open space area.
“This is a new chapter for community recreational use on Marshall Mountain. The Doerings and Izzy Dog, LLC have made a tremendous commitment to the future. We’d like to extend a hearty congratulations and welcome our new neighbors,” says Whitney Schwab, Five Valleys' Executive Director.
Generations of Missoulians have grown up recreating on Marshall Mountain, which operated as a ski area from the 1930’s until 2002. In 2015, The Nature Conservancy generously donated 160 acres between the base area and the summit to Five Valleys, knowing that Five Valleys would help ensure that western Montanans could continue to enjoy the conservation values that the mountain has to offer. Since then, Five Valleys has worked with local mountain biking nonprofit, MTB Missoula, to build over six miles of multi-user and bike specific trails on Five Valleys’ property on Marshall.
However easy public access to the mountain, including a parking area and facilities for children’s programs, backcountry skiing, and events such as the 2017 and 2018 USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships, were often dependent upon informal public access to the base area property granted by Doering family.
In addition to leasing the property to the City of Missoula, Izzy Dog aims to open the property to self-initiated, day-use recreation this August. Next year, at the end of the lease term, Izzy Dog intends to offer the property for sale to the City. According to City and Izzy Dog LLC documents, the acquisition will be subject to the standard City open space acquisition processes, including an extensive public process with multiple opportunities for citizen engagement, culminating with a City Council vote.
A community celebration is scheduled for September 12, 2021, from 1:00-4:00pm. Community members will have the opportunity to tour the site and learn how to become involved with the planning for the future Marshall Mountain Recreation Area. Five Valleys looks forward to working with our new neighbors, the City of Missoula, and our many community and conservation partners to ensure that Marshall Mountain remains as an enduring community resource for future generations.
Photo of community members at Marshall Mountain by Tom Robertson