Hamilton, Montana

The Bitter Root Parkway workshop was sponsored by the Bitter Root Cultural Heritage Trust and the Montana Preservation Alliance. The workshop was held in the town of Hamilton, but individual representatives participated from five communities connected by Highway 93. 

The workshop was a challenge in the beginning. It was originally scheduled for fall of 2008, but the County Planning Shop asked for a delay so that the community would be better prepared. The workshop focused on integrating intrinsic mapping and heritage tourism development. 

Grant Jones, of Jones and Jones Architects, Landscape Architects — Planners, delivered an impassioned keynote address on the intrinsic value of place titled “Making a Marriage with the Land — Montana’s Bitter Root Parkway”. The content was perfect for the beginning of this Your Town workshop, given the dramatic nature of the Bitter Root Valley. His message was that people need to understand and respect the landscape as an organizing element to planning and design. The audience was visibly moved by Grant’s presentation. The lecture was followed by a reception which included a variety of locally made pies. The Montana NPR station covered the event with interviews and commentary.

-Excerpted from Your Town: Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design, Update, Fall, 2009

In 2010, the community renamed a pedestrian path along Highway 93 the “BitterRoot Parkway.” The path provides a bicycle and pedestrian route, and is equipped with benches and shelters. The BitterRoot Cultural Heritage Trust hopes to build off of the BitterRoot Parkway to create a larger network of paths that will provide access to the region’s historic and cultural sites.