Negotiations will start soon for acquiring a trail along the Blackfoot River expanding a remote section of Milltown State Park.

The Montana State Parks Board agreed Friday to move forward with the proposal, which could create a 4,000-foot pathway between the Black Bridge at Bonner and a 47-acre section of riverbank across from the Weigh Station Fishing Access Site.

The state has about $100,000 from the 2013 Natural Resource Damage Program long-range plan to cover the project. However, Parks Department spokesman Pat Doyle said that money has to pay for trail construction and land improvement, as well as the property purchase.

“The new owners are interested in a fee-title land transfer,” Doyle said. “Now, we have firm direction from the board.”

The project would probably require most of the coming year to complete the purchase, design and build the trail.

It does not change any access to the downstream confluence area of the state park, which still lacks a suitable public road to its riverbank. Doyle said that problem remains unresolved.

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