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Mountain High



Missoula’s got a brand new pool. Actually, the Currents aquatic center is a couple of weeks old by now, but it’s a place you should consider swinging by if you haven’t yet. In addition to pools for swimming laps or aquacizing and relaxing, the facility boasts indoor water slides and a party room that could be the best place for your next birthday bash. Best of all, getting in is pretty affordable too.

Including the 20 percent discount city residents get with a snappy Parks and Rec ID—available with proof of residency at the Currents front desk—adults can get a yearlong pass, good for admission to Currents and the outdoor Splash Montana park, for about $16 a month. Heck, you’re paying taxes to pay the bonds off; you might as well get a piece of the place before mold settles in.

Speaking of properties held in common, Saturday is Public Lands Day and two of Montana’s most famous public acreage’s are getting the treatment. In Missoula, that means Mount Sentinel will be subjected to weeding and seeding by the Prairie Keepers floral anti-immigrant forces beginning at 11 AM on Saturday, Sept. 30. Up north, Glacier National Park drops its admission charge to zero on Saturday, Sept. 30, so anyone in the area can see the effects of autumn on the Crown of the Continent.

The Sierra Club Bitterroot-Missoula Group Hike in the Allan Mountain area on Saturday, Sept. 30, and Sunday, Oct. 1, aims to keep an eye out for off-road vehicle use in areas of public land not slated for such. The 12 miles of hiking planned for the trip take attendees through forests, meadows, grasslands and riparian areas critical to the North Fork of the Salmon River and West Fork of the Bitterroot River, areas worth a look in their own right. Given the recent court ruling affirming the importance of roadlessness, it’s not a bad time to take a clipboard and survey the landscape with a purpose, not just aesthetics, in mind. Call 549-1142 if you’re in.

The Rocky Mountaineers are headed in the other direction on Saturday, Sept. 30, with a hike up Swan Peak in the Swan Range—“a long day” about which more information is available by giving a call to 721-3790. The New Rocky Mountaineers will also be in the Swans for a hike up Holland Peak, the tallest in the bunch, on Saturday, Sept. 30.

Since public lands seem to be the theme this week, I’ll mention that the 30th annual Western Montana Hill Climb Championships puts a public right-of-way to use when it tests the ability of road bikers of all stripes on the trip up Pattee Canyon Drive on Sunday, Oct. 1. Registration for the ride, just $2 and a prize for another rider, takes place at Big Sky Cyclery, 1110 South Ave., from 5 to 6 PM on Saturday, Sept. 30, and continues from 7:30 to 9 AM on Sunday, Oct. 1. Visit to psych yourself up for the uphill adventure.

While the bicyclists are grabbing valuable weekend time, you might want to block off from 10 AM to 4 PM on Saturday, Oct. 7, because that’s the day when a coalition of local groups interested in incentivizing individuals to opt for transportation aside from automobiles has scheduled Building Momentum: A Bike/Walk Summit for Missoula to take place at St. Patrick Hospital’s Conference Center. They’ve got a slew of speakers lined up with the aim of getting public and private folks alike amped about making Missoula one of the best places in America for biking and walking.

Choosing to leave the car parked is just one element of reducing resource consumption, a general trend that gets slapped with the label sustainability. The Northern Rockies Nature Forum, sponsored by Missoula’s WildWest Institute, attempts to get more specific during their “Visions for a Sustainable Montana” panel discussion, taking place at 7 PM on Tuesday, Oct. 3, in room 106 of the Gallagher Business Building on the UM campus. Local gurus of low-profile living like Josh Slotnik of Garden City Harvest, Lou Ann Crowley of the Missoula Urban Demonstration Project, Steve Loken of Alternative Energy Resources Organization and Larry Evans of the Western Montana Mycological Association will offer their thoughts on the topic during the evening’s event. Of course, you’re the best expert on what can be done to make your world the kind of place it’s easy to live lightly in.

It sure sounds like a worthwhile enough goal to me. And what are goals good for but setting and then surmounting?

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