By Sigrid Tornquist
Mark Welander has a passion for enjoying nature and the outdoors, and enjoys sharing that passion with his family and community. More than 30 years ago, he began working with the Downtown Association in Missoula, Mont., to help them convert an unused former industrial area on the banks of the Clark Fork River into a community gathering place, which would become Caras Park. The design for the park included erecting a large tent to house events. After installing two tents, each of which lasted for 10 years, the association opted for a more permanent construction and contracted Welander to erect a 10,000-square-foot tensile structure—the Caras Park Pavilion.
The park is a popular destination for local residents and tourists and has been used for numerous events, including film festivals, brew fests, auctions, and concerts by Jewel, Chris Isaak, and B.B. King.