Missoula announces project for downtown river improvements

City officials in Missoula, along with other partners, have announced a plan to “enhance ecological, recreational and safety conditions” along a key stretch of the Clark Fork River between McCormick Park and the California Street Bridge.

The guy in charge says it’s a very big deal.

A Brennan’s Wave surfer looks out into the waters of the Clark Fork river at sunset in downtown Missoula in May 2023. The city is looking to embark on a plan to improve the river corridor access points along the Clark Fork.


“We are kicking off a public planning process this winter to help direct what could be the largest river project in downtown Missoula since the 1960s federal flood control levees,” said Morgan Valliant, superintendent of Parks and Recreation Ecosystem Services.

The river that flows through Missoula is viewed as a valuable amenity by almost everyone these days, but it wasn’t always that way.

“Historically, the Clark Fork River through downtown Missoula has been heavily used and abused,” Valliant explained. “This project offers opportunities to improve the river’s form and function and redefine

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