The City of Missoula is in the heart of the northern Rockies. Missoula is home to the University of Montana, blue ribbon trout streams, and is surrounded by National Forest lands, including the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area and Wilderness. The population is approximately 68,000. Missoula residents rank high in their per capita participation in outdoor and organized sports, art, culture, ...and music. While budgets are challenging, citizens demonstrate exceptional support of their parks and recreation services. In addition to City provided public lands and programs, residents of Missoula are within minutes of Snowbowl Ski Area, and less than half a day from Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks. Missoula is a mecca for hiking, cycling, mountain biking, climbing, fishing, hunting, kayaking, art, music and more. Missoula also offers wide varieties of education for all ages through public, parochial, experiential, and alternative learning opportunities. Missoula is the shopping and service center of western Montana. Additionally, Missoula attracts some of the greatest research and medical/health professionals in the nation due to the many recreation opportunities offered. Missoula has been designated among the Top 100 Communities for Kids, as well as a KaBOOM! Playful City.Missoula Parks and Recreation is a dynamic department charged with maintaining most of Missoula's public spaces, which include the Urban Forest, 3600 acres of conservation lands, 400 acres of parkland with the development of the new 156 acre Fort Missoula Regional Park, and miles of commuter and recreation trails. The Department operates state of the art aquatic facilities including Currents, an indoor water park and fitness pool as well as Splash MT, a full service outdoor water park. The Department prides itself on successful public process and empowerment. It demonstrates that success through continued implementation of adopted plans such as; the Urban Area Comprehensive Master Parks and Recreation Plan, Open Space Plan, Conservation Lands Management Plan, Transportation Plan (including non-motorized). Friends of the Urban Forest, Missoula's newest advocacy group, is just now forming.