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CyclingSavvy Course for Adults

In support of Bike to Work Week, May 12th through May 16th, the Cascade City-County Health Department (CCHD) and all public health partners encourage those who work in Great Falls to either bike, walk, or ride the bus during this week-long event. Unfortunately, many who have the desire to ride their bike may be afraid of encountering traffic or other potential hazards.  The good news is that with the right skills, people can ride confidently and safely, even in Great Falls traffic!

In an effort to help address this concern, CyclingSavvy and Get Fit Great Falls are holding the first Adult CyclingSavvy course in Great Falls on May 10th and 11th.  This course is an excellent opportunity for adults to learn how to act as confident and equal road users.  Strategies for safe, stress-free cycling will be included, and participants will be given tools to help identify and problem solve common traffic situations that they may encounter during their commute.

The CyclingSavvy course begins on Saturday, May 10th at 9am at the City-County Health Department. From 9 am to noon, participants will learn the necessary skills that will keep them safe; this portion is called the Truth and Techniques of Traffic Cycling. That afternoon, from 1pm to 3pm, participants will take part in an on-bike skill building session. This is done in a controlled environment; participants will not be riding in traffic. On Sunday, May 11th from 9am to 1pm, participants will take a tour of Great Falls and put their new skills into action under the guidance of the certified CyclingSavvy instructor.

Alicia M. Thompson, CCHD Health Officer states, “The City-County Health Department is excited to be supporting this effort as one of the goals outlined in the 2013 Community Health Improvement Plan and as a way to help individuals feel more confident during Bike to Work Week! I have been through a similar course, and my experience was that it made me a much more confident, capable bicyclist”.

The two day course costs $75 per person and is limited to 12 people.  To learn more about the CyclingSavvy course and how to register please contact:

  • Taylor Lonsdale, 406-548-1523, bsnybike@gmail.com
  • Alicia Thompson, 406-791-9260, athompson@cascadecountymt.gov

Cycling Savvy flyer

Thank You Winter Trails Day Participants and Volunteers!

The 2014 Winter Trails Day was a huge success! The crisp morning temperature and challenging road conditions did not deter volunteers and participants from taking part in the annual event. Despite the cold temperatures, the sky could not have been any bluer and the fresh snow more beautiful.

Approximately 250 people took part in snowshoe hikes and cross-country ski trips. For many participants, this was their first time on skis or snowshoes, but it will certainly not be their last. A number of folks left already looking forward to next year.

It would be nearly impossible to list all the individuals who donated their time and resources to help make this event possible. Volunteers set up the areas, helped with registration, led hikes and ski trips, assisting with snowshoes, directing parking lot traffic, serving refreshments, and much more.

We look forward to next year’s event and urge everyone to watch for information on National Trails Day events this spring!

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Winter Trails Day is Coming Up!

Learn to snowshoe or cross-country ski on Winter Trails Day, Saturday, February 1, 2014!

Where: Silver Crest Winter Trails Area, near top of Kings Hill

How: Pre-registration required! Call the Forest Service at 791-7700

FREE guided snowshoe hikes – snowshoes are provided. Hike options:

  • 1 hour hike approximately 1 mile long
  • 1 and 3/4 hour hike approximately 2 miles long

First snowshoe hike departs at 10am; remaining hikes depart every 15 minutes with last hike departing at 2:45pm.

FREE guided cross-country ski tours – skiers must bring own equipment.

  • Beginner oriented and 1.5 hours long
  • Tours depart at 10:15am and 12:30pm

What to bring: Water bottle, sack lunch, warm clothing, snow boots, and fanny or daypack to hold extras

Public Meeting to Discuss Long Range Transportation Plan

A public meeting to discuss the city’s Long Range Transportation Plan will be held on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 6pm in the Missouri Room of the Civic Center.

The meeting will begin with a presentation, followed by a question and answer period. Time for informal discussions with the project team will be available after the conclusion of the question and answer period.

The purpose of the meeting is to present preliminary transporation recommendations and provide a general overview of the LRTP report. The LRTP is intended to facilitate community goals and improve the transportation infrastructure and services within the Great Falls area to meet the needs of existing and future demands. Beginning on January 23, 2014, the draft LRTP report may be viewed at http://www.greatfallslrtp.com/.

Participation is a very important part of the process, and citizens are encouraged to attend the meeting. Opinion, comments, and concerns may be submitted in writing at the meeting; by mail to Jeff Key, Project Manager, RPA, PO Box 5653, Helena, MT 59604; or by email at jeff.key@rpa-hln.com.

Winter Fun at the Great Falls Iceplex!

Have you visited the Great Falls Iceplex lately? The Iceplex, home of the Great Falls Americans, has figure skating and hockey groups and also offers open skating. Find out more about the Iceplex by visiting www.gf-ice.org or find them on Facebook!

Get Fit Great Falls & Lewis and Clark National Forest Host 8th Annual Winter Trails Day Events on February 1, 2014

Winters in Montana can be long for those who sit inside waiting for spring rather than getting outside and enjoying the unique recreation opportunities that winter brings.  For everyone who would like to enjoy a taste of winter recreation, Get Fit Great Falls has a great day planned for you.  On Saturday February 1, Get Fit Great Falls will offer their 8th annual Winter Trails Day event featuring guided snowshoe hikes and cross country ski tours at the Silver Crest Cross Country Ski and Snowshoe Area.

The Silver Crest trails are located on the west side of the large winter recreation parking lot located on the Lewis & Clark National Forest off of Highway 89 a short distance north of the top of Kings Hill.  The lot provides ample parking and outhouse facilities, and serves as the winter trailhead the Silver Crest cross country ski trails and snowshoe trail as well as many of the Forest’s snowmobiling and dog sledding opportunities. Under good road conditions the lot is approximately a one hour and 15 minute drive from Great Falls.  At this year’s event, Get Fit Great Falls members, Forest Service personnel, and numerous volunteers will provide a day of guided snowshoe hikes and beginner-level cross country ski tours.  Both activities are offered free of charge. Additionally, free hot beverages, cookies, chili, and hotdogs will be provided.

Registration will begin on January 15, 2013.  To register for the snowshoeing or ski trips, or get additional information, please call the Lewis & Clark National Forest Supervisor’s Office in Great Falls at 791-7700.  Space is limited so please call as soon as possible. Be prepared to provide the name, phone number, address and approximate weight for each participant that will need to borrow snowshoes. You will get the time and additional information for your hike on that call.

More information on snowshoe hikes and cross country ski tours will be available soon!

CCHD Goes “Green” with Transportation

Cascade City-County Health Department recently added a recumbent pedaled vehicle to their fleet. The ELF will allow staff to travel to inspections, home visits, and other business-related appointments while saving money, taking care of the environment, and promoting healthy lifestyles. Click here to read more.

Community Transformation Grant Visual Preference Survey


This survey is a result of the Community Transformation Grant. Community transformation is about helping our communities to be healthier by making the healthy choice the easy choice. An important part of this work is to make the public aware of different options for how we build and maintain our roads, sidewalks, parks, and other infrastructure elements in our communities. Most often this work happends through the vision provided in your local Growth Policy, Transportation Plans, and other documents.

Getting community members involved in providing input into these policies and plans is really important. It helps planning departments to understand the preference of community members. However, it is difficult to get a large number of people to attend a public meeting!

This survey will allow you to tell us how you would like your community to look and what is important to you without leaving your home or office. You will be shown a few pictures of what is possible and asked to tell us what you like.

We hope you have fun and enjoy taking this survey. If you have any questions about the survey, please feel free to call Alicia M. Thompson, MSW, Health Officer:Cascade County, President: Montana Public Health Association, at 791-9260 or email athompson@cascadecountymt.gov.


National Public Lands Day

Saturday, September 28 is National Public Lands Day, a national day of service to encourage people to spend time outdoors and support public lands. Volunteers can help preserve, protect, and celeare needed to help build, maintain, and complete the North Shore Trail system from Rainbow Dam to Cochrane Dam. The event will be begin at 9am at the Rainbow Dam Trailhead and run through 1pm. Snacks and drinks will be provided. View the NPLD Press Release for more information.

Cowboy Boot Camp Coming Up!

On Saturday, September 21, Great Falls Action for Healthy Kids will host the first Cowboy Boot Camp at the Montana ExpoPark. This family fun event is a 1 mile course with a variety of physical challenges and agriculture inspired obstacles developed by local FFA students. The entire event will be centered not only on getting active, but where food comes from and how it helps keep bodies growing, playing, and learning.

Participation costs $15 and includes a t-shirt, a personalized medal, and lunch, and there will be opportunities to win prizes throughout the day. Please pre-register by September 19 at www.gfcowboybootcamp.com.

Check in opens at 11am on the day of the event; the first race starts at noon.