As we reported last week, the University of Montana is giving the popular M Trail a makeover this summer.

As part of this effort, a temporary detour to reach the trailhead will start Monday, June 15, and last about two weeks. And it's through a sensitive area of which you are being asked to be very respectful, courteous and careful.

The re-route will take hikers through UM’s Peony Garden in near peak bloom.  Walkers and hikers are being asked to stay on the sidewalk – not the flower beds – and enjoy the show. Please don’t pick the flowers. Leave them for the next person to enjoy.

This is the third year for the Howard and Chinwon Reinhardt Peony Garden on campus, and reports are that it is looking gorgeous. Also, all visitors are being asked to leash their dogs in the area at least through June, as many baby animals are found in the grasslands adjacent to the trail. With fawns and ground-nesting birds, overly enthusiastic dogs can really hurt wildlife. Additionally, there are two bighorn sheep that are hanging around the M Trail and even visiting campus. Off-leash dogs can chase them deeper into town, which is not ideal. The hope is for the rams to move up and over Mount Sentinel, where they can feel safe.

The M Trail Project is a two-year plan to repair the trail. It has experienced significant erosion over the past few years. Steps at the trailhead and beneath the M also need to be replaced, and It is necessary to install a retaining wall directly under the M.