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Missoula Streets and Trails

Sustainable Paving Project

MIST is working with different groups and individuals around Missoula to install various paving alternatives, with a strong emphasis on sustainability. These projects include:

Silver Park in the heart of Missoula.


About one mile of trail was installed in 2013 that used psyllilum seed husk mixed with decomposed granite.  This trail was built just before winter and the psyllium powerder did not have time to properly cure.  There are also grade issues and sprinkler issues that need to be fixed.  As a result, several sections of this trail becomes too muddy during heavy rain or with freeze thaw. Other sections of this trail perform very well- just hard enough to be ADA accessible while also being organic, non-toxiic, permeable, durable and cost effective.


MUD tool library: MIST helped put in about 2,000 sq feet of psyllium around the tool library at MUD (next to Home Resource) in Fall 2012.  This was done instead of asphalt or concrete .  The psyllium installation passed inspection and meets ADA requirements.  In 2018, MUD is looking to install some glass pave walkways in this area. 

Brick Walk at University of Montana: This project entails relaying the existing brick so that the brick is much closer together, thus meeting ADA (i.e. for wheel chair and blind pedestrian access).  A test panel was laid in fall 2014 and is holding up well and looks great.  The original proposal at UM was to remove all the historic brick and pour concrete slabs (made to look like brick).  Concrete is very expensive, prone to cracking and is a major contributor to green house gas emissions.  Clay brick is often a very sustainable method of paving- if laid correctly and given periodic maintenance.

Kim Williams Trail: We hope to work on a project with Parks and Recreation to install another psyllium seed husk based trail from the Van Buren foot bridge eastward on the Kim Williams trail (southside of the river).  No date has been set yet.

Greenough Park: A 450' psyllium trail was put in place in Greenough Park in late Fall 2014.  Like Silver Park, there are some curing, slope and sprinkler issues that have degraded parts of this trail.  Othe parts have worked amazingly well.  Buckling asphalt along Rattlesnake Creek was removed to make way for the psyllium path.

Private Driveway: In Spring of 2017, one of our interns spear headed a project to connect an asphalt driveway and concrete sidewalk.  The driveway had a 10' long dirt section between the asphalt and concrete.  Eventually the homeowner would have to improve the dirt surface.  (The City of Missoula requires some form of paving for driveways to prevent dirt from being tracked into the street and becoming airborn- a possible health hazard).  MIST laid two 3' 'ribbons' of clay brick to connect the two existing paved surfaces. 

Near Glacier Park

Pine resin is another type of soil stabilizing agent.  An example was laid in Glacier National Park in Fall of 2011, for a half mile section of trail that begins at the parking lot in E. Glacier and goes towards Grinnel Glacier.

Permeable asphalt makes up the parking lot at the St. Mary's Visitor Center on the east side of Glacier Park. 

More Pine Resin: An hour south of the St. Mary's Visitor Center, Running Eagle Falls trail was paved with pine resin (ResinPave or NaturalPave) in the 90's and has held up well.   


Videos of sustainable paving techniques can be found on the Free Cycles youtube channel, including overviews of the above projects.

Here are pictures we took of a psyllium installation at an Idaho golf course, which is replacing asphalt:

To help with this and other paving projects, or to give us input on paving trails, send an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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