clark fork master plan
Even in Big Sky Country, the scale of the Smurfit Stone/ Frenchtown Paper Mill is difficult to comprehend. Located a short drive from Missoula, Montana, the Mill site stretches over five square miles, along roughly four miles of Clark Fork River frontage. Chip yards, settlement ponds, solid waste basins, and a network of berms and rail spurs that connect hulking superstructures- multifuel storage silos and thousand-foot-long heavy-rail distribution sheds, still mark this otherwise picturesque landscape. Since it closed in 2010, after 53 years in operation, the question about what comes next has loomed nearly as large as the site itself.
In 2019, following nearly a decade of testing and assessments by the EPA, the property’s new owners asked us to help them develop a master plan for the site’s next half-century “that we can start acting on now.” And that means working between the dualling constructs of the river’s fluvial geomorphology and the more recent earthworks of the site’s industrial past to create a collection of neighborhood eyots in a braided network of open spaces.