FORT BENTON — People often say these days "There's an app for that," and the ultra-long trail being developed through Montana, passing through Fort Benton, is no exception.
From a bird's eye view over the river in Fort Benton, visualizing the future Montana Trail 406 may be easy. But from the ground, maybe not.
That's where the onX Company's backcountry app comes in.
"It's a local Montana company which is nationwide. It's the go-to app to hunt,” explained Montana Trail 406 Association founder Marty Bannon.
He and the association's development vice president, Amy Grisak, have been spearheading the association's effort to create a 1,500 mile recreational trail across Montana.
"They're going to basically put our trail on there. We're just going to keep building on it and adding those access point and places for water and stopover places. We're excited to be partnering, especially since they're a Montana company,” Grisak said about the trail being on the app.
Having the trail on the backcountry app will allow trail users to better understand the trail.
"There's 21 segments to the trail, it's divided into 21 segments. The first two segments I've passed to them and next week we'll actually see it on the app. We'll review it to make sure it reflects what we've actually given them,” Bannon explained.
Casey Bailey is a local trail advocate and is interested in the possibility of connecting a separate trail being created in Fort Benton to the Montana Trail 406.
"We have this brainstorm to create rails-to-trail here with the abandoned railroad,” Bailey said.
Being able to collaborate with the Montana Trail 406 gives him hope for being able to collaborate with other trails as well.
"We've got a lot of neat things happening just on Front Street. we've got a coffee shop that's here behind us, we've got a brewery. we've got the hemp plant that's gone in,” Bailey said.
"In the future, we'd like to have an option for people who don't want to do the river part (of the Montana Trail 406) to continue hiking and that's where that rails-to-trails thing is linked in,” Bannon explained. "There'll be continued issues and the support these towns provide to the trail will continue to grow as they realize what the trail brings to these little communities."
As of Thursday, a little more than half of the 1,500 mile trail has been surveyed.