The monthly Mineral County Resource Coalition meeting was held on March 5 with the main topic of discussion the restoration of the Saltese Trestle. The 100-year-old trestle is in need of repair and parties involved with the restoration project attended the meeting to talk about the next steps needed to be taken in order for the project to move forward.
The trestle is a highly prized piece of property for recreationists including snowmobilers, ATV and bike rider and is a crucial component to the Route of the Olympian Trail. Saltese is located 23 miles west of St. Regis and was slated to be torn down. However, the Montana Nightriders Snowmobile Club stepped in and purchased the trestle in 2013.
Restoration for the trestle is estimated at $1.5 million and the group is working to secure funds for that work. Heather Burman with the Superior Forest Service office said the first step is to create a design plan. Once that is in place they can go after larger funding grants. Currently the group has received a $17,000 Federal Land Access Program grant. They hope to get more grant funding to pay for the approximately $50,000 design plan.
Eventually, the Forest Service will repurchase the trestle from the snowmobile club. The club currently holds liability on the trestle and wants to work closely with the project as restoration work moves forward. Also at the meeting were representatives from the Westend ATV club. That club is also interested in helping to get the trestle back into shape for use.
The trestle is important to local outdoor enthusiast but also for nonresidential tourists including mountain bike riders, ATV and snowmobilers. Outdoor recreation brings in nearly two million dollars each year to the local Mineral County economy. Completing restoration work on the Saltese Trestle will bring in even more tourism dollars to the west end said Nate Kegle with the Forest Service, in a previous interview.