Trust for Public Land, Flathead Land Trust and Montana Land Reliance Celebrate the Grand Opening of Harrell Forest Community Trails in Bigfork, Montana 

Grand Opening Celebration of The Harrell Forest Community Trails Also Marks a Significant Milestone, as TPL’s Northern Rockies Regional Office Commemorates TPL’s 50th Anniversary.  

Bigfork, Montana – Trust for Public Land (TPL), in partnership with the Flathead Land Trust and Montana Land Reliance, is delighted to announce the grand opening of the Harrell Forest Community Trails in Bigfork, Montana. This remarkable 236-acre recreational oasis, nestled on the flanks of Swan Hill, is now permanently protected and open for the enjoyment of residents and visitors alike. The grand opening celebration also marks a significant milestone as TPL’s Northern Rockies regional office commemorates TPL’s 50th Anniversary of work in conversation and connecting everyone to the outdoors.  

Land that was once slated for the development of 17 new residential lots, the Harrell Forest Community Trails now represents a triumph for conservation and public access. Instead of residential development, the community now has access to over 6 miles of hiking and biking trails, a new trailhead, and awe-inspiring vistas overlooking the pristine waters of Flathead Lake and the majestic Swan Mountain Range. 

“Today, we celebrate not only the grand opening of the Harrell Forest Community Trails but also a half-century of dedication to preserving our nation’s natural treasures and of parks big and small,” said Lucas Cain at Trust for Public Land – Northern Rockies Regional Office. “TPL’s 50th Anniversary is a testament to our enduring commitment to safeguarding the environment and creating vibrant, livable communities that put parks and open space for recreation and connection to the outdoors front and center. This achievement underscores our mission and reflects our vision for the next 50 years in Montana.” 

The preservation of Harrell Forest Community Trails was made possible through a critical partnership with Flathead Land Trust and Montana Land Reliance. Their dedication to preserving Montana’s natural beauty and their vision for a sustainable future has resulted in the permanent protection of this invaluable recreational resource. 

“The Harrell Forest Community Trails exemplifies the positive impact that can be achieved through partnership, shared vision, and community support” said Paul Travis, Flathead Land Trust Executive Director. Together, we have secured a legacy of conservation and recreational access on this beautiful piece of land that will benefit Bigfork and the Flathead Valley for generations to come. Flathead Land Trust is proud to be a part of this momentous achievement and we look forward to serving the community for many years to come through management and stewardship of the Harrell Forest property and trail system.” 

As the Harrell Forest Community Trails opens its gates, it invites outdoor enthusiasts, families, and nature lovers to explore its trails, embrace its breathtaking vistas, and create new memories in a pristine, protected environment. This property serves as a testament to the enduring importance of conservation and underscores the value of collaborative efforts to preserve our natural heritage. 

For more information about the Harrell Forest Community Trails please visit TPL Harrell Forest Community Trails Project Page and the Flathead Land Trust Harrell Forest Page 


About Trust for Public Land
Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit that works to connect everyone to the benefits and joys of the outdoors. As a leader in equitable access to the outdoors, TPL works with communities to create parks and protect public land where they are needed most. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 4 million acres of public land, created more than 5,364 parks, trails, schoolyards, and iconic outdoor places, raised $93 billion in public funding for parks and public lands, and connected nearly 9.4 million people to the outdoors. To learn more, visit 

About Flathead Land Trust  

Since 1985, Flathead Land Trust has been dedicated to protecting northwest Montana’s spectacular land and water legacy through community-based conservation. We are a local land trust who partners with landowners, other organizations and the community to ensure the Flathead Valley’s natural beauty, clean water, recreational access and special places that sustain our high quality of life are protected forever. By partnering with landowners, agencies and the community, we are able to implement effective land conservation strategies that protects the qualities that make the Flathead special and a continued treasure for future generations to enjoy.  To learn more, visit

About Montana Land Reliance  

Since 1978, The Montana Land Reliance (MLR) has partnered with Montana’s landowners to permanently protect agricultural lands, fish and wildlife habitat, and open space. The lasting benefits of MLR’s work are the perpetuation of a lifestyle and an economy that rely on responsibly managed private land and increasingly valuable Montana open spaces that will continue to nourish the spirit of future generations.