Two Trail Projects Receive Funding From Wyoming Recreational Trails Program

Red Grade Trails System
The Red Grade Trails System is a lofty project that was borne from community members who expressed a need for more trails in Sheridan County that were convenient, safe, and scenic. We anticipate that the entire 33-mile system will be built within five years depending on continued funding success. All of the proposed trails are located on State, Bureau of Land Management, and US Forest Service lands along Red Grade Road.

Funding Approved For First Two Miles and Trailhead Parking Area
SCLT applied for funding from Wyoming State Parks and Cultural Resources’s Recreational Trails Program for the first two miles of trail and was awarded $50,000 with a 20% required local match. This grant, combined with private dollars we’ve received, will allow us to hire a trail contractor to build the first two miles of trail this summer. We anticipate making a decision on a contractor by the end of April.

We also applied for and received a $53,606 Maintenance, Construction, and Planning Grant to expand and redesign the existing lower parking area on State land to make it safer for both motorized and non-motorized users. The construction of this new trailhead parking area will not take place until summer 2016 to take advantage of grant-matching opportunities.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us with a new or renewed membership contribution or additional year-end gift to make this project a reality for our community!

Tongue River Water Trail
A water trail, or blueway, is a delineated water route that uses navigable lakes and streams to connect access sites, resting places, and attractions for users of non-motorized watercraft. While the water trail is primarily designed for use by paddle craft, it can also be of recreational value to those who enjoy swimming, fishing, hunting, history, and wildlife viewing.

Why Designate a Water Trail?
As today’s communities look to engage all ages with healthy outdoor activities and strengthen their local economies, safe navigable waterways are a key piece of the puzzle. The TRWT takes its direction from an overall vision outlined by National, State, and local planning documents. This project will increase the quality of life for Sheridan County residents by providing recreation opportunities and strengthen our local economy through tourism.

Funding Approved From the Wyoming Recreational Trails Program
SCLT applied for funding from the Wyoming State Parks & Cultural Resources under the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) Grant Program, funded as part of the federal highway bill, also known as MAP-21. We received a $50,000 grant that requires a 20% local match for the Tongue River Water Trail project. The project will cost an estimated $83,400 total and include metal debris and riprap removal, boater friendly fence matching program, existing access site kiosks, wayfinding signage, on-trail signage, TRWT web portal, bi-annual hazard ID & mitigation, and improvements to undeveloped sites.

We are very excited to get started on these projects that will increase access to local water recreation in Sheridan County starting this spring. Stay tuned for a community river clean up in 2015!

About the Tongue River Water Trail Assessment
The Tongue River Water Trail Assessment was completed at the direction of SCLT’s Board of Directors and under the guidance of our Recreation Work Group, comprised of community volunteers with recreation focused careers. Technical assistance was provided by a grant from the National Park Service’s Rivers Trails and Conservation Assistance program.

The assessment investigates the suitability of local waterways for a potential water trail, examines community support for a water trail system, and ultimately identifies a strategic approach to focus future investments to develop a formally recognized water trail. This project would not be possible without SCLT volunteers who spent many hours on the water completing inventories of existing conditions and guiding the direction of the assessment. Thank you!

Tongue River Water Trail Assessment

Click the image to read the Tongue River Water Trail Assessment in full online.