I’ve been staying at a ranch out in the middle of nowhere, Montana. One of the staff heard me mention wanting to travel into Missoula to check out the skatepark. Turns out I could cut my drive time down from one hour to 15 minutes. The little town of St Ignatius, population 811, has a skatepark. St Ignatius is near the Flathead Indian Reservation, and in fact Native Americans made up approximately 40% of the population in the last census. St Ignatius received a Tony Hawk Foundation grant in 2006. That grant helped fund phase 1 of the park. Phase 2 of the park was completed by Dreamland on July 8th.
So this is a tiny town. There’s not much nearby, and I can’t imagine where the locals are getting their skateboards from. There’s a community web site for the park called Skate Ignatius. Every little town we drive through in this part of the country seems to have a public arts anti-meth campaign going on. I can’t help but think part of the impetus for getting a skatepark in this town was to provide something else for the locals to do.
Here’s the clover bowl. I’m not sure if it’s intentional or not, but it’s vaguely reminiscent of the Turf’s clover in size, except the transition doesn’t seem to get near vert at any point.
The park has the feel of something built to nurture a beginner skate population. You can argue the merits of that all day long, but accessibility is key given al the extraneous circumstances. The new bowl and miniramp provides plenty for expanding skill sets. One disappointment is that the park is located on the outskirts of town in the “sports complex” so it’s not really centrally located. When I was there it was hot as heck and sparsely populated. There’s no water and no shade incorporated as part of the park, although there are some trees across the entry road. For the younger locals, heading out to the skatepark in the summer requires a bit of a commitment. If it was more centrally located, the skatepark could be a focal point for the small community instead of an area of isolation. Still, it’s a fine park, especially for a town this size.