The “Great Greening” is underway across Sheridan County – and no, I’m not talking about all those green license plates traveling north to enjoy our Wyoming Wonderland.
The “Great Greening” is that gorgeous time of year when April showers not only bring us May flowers but verdant vistas as far as the eye can see.
It also means more and more opportunities to enjoy our beautiful Bighorns backyard await – and we’ve got a ton of great ways you can Spring into Summer with Sheridan Community Land Trust.
If you’re reading this column and thinking “I should stop reading and get my behind outside to enjoy the day” I’ve got great news for you: Hidden Hoot Trail and Hoot Loop are both open again! These two trails are perfect for hikers, bikers, walkers, runners, strollers, skaters, birders, wildlife watchers, flower peepers and more. As part of recreation and ranching working hand in glove, these two trails had been closed for calving season. Now that people can “moove” back onto them, SCLT advises anyone who visits that there may be some rough spots. We’ll be repairing those spots soon but wanted to give folks the chance to get back on the trails as soon as we could reopen.
SCLT will also create several new opportunities for folks to #OptOutside close to home this summer. We’re starting with north Sheridan’s first natural surface trail in Malcolm Wallop Park and then moving up the mountain to connect Poverty Flats to Bear Gulch with 10 new trail miles and two trailheads with parking areas as part of an expanded Red Grade Trails.
If that many miles sounds like too much, don’t fret. There will be plenty of breathtaking views within a half mile of the trailhead up on Red Grade Trails and the 1.3-mile loop at Malcolm Wallop will connect directly into existing the Sheridan Pathway and be accessible within steps of the parking lot.
We are also going to install a series of signs that will tell stories about Plains Indian Tribes’ heritage, a panorama of the Bighorns along with mountain history and another about how Red Grade Road came to be. Look for those along our trails later this summer.
SCLT’s Discovery Sessions let you learn a new outdoor skill or something new about Sheridan County. So far, we’ve had close to 500 people discover these opportunities to connect with nature so far this year!
On May 20, we’re hosting an All Senses Scavenger Hunt at Red Grade Trails. It’s our second Unplug with Discovery Sessions of 2021 – a collaboration with Science Kids. It’ll run from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Be sure to download a Red Grade Trails bird or plant guide from our website before you go.
On May 27, we’ll ride Hidden Hoot Trail with Antelope Butte and Sheridan Bicycle Company for the first Mountain Bike Discovery Night of the. Each ride will feature groups for new, intermediate, and advanced riders so everyone can learn how to ride our local trails and take those skills anywhere. Helmets required. There are nine Discovery Night rides planned through early August, so you’ll have many of opportunities to learn.
If you’re looking to make a splash this summer, SCLT will have you on the water in no time. On June 13 and 22, we’re hosting a pair of Discovery Sessions titled Canoe Believe It? Free Floats! We’ll enjoy a trip down the Tongue River Water Trail from Emerson Park to Thorne-Rider Park with shuttles courtesy of Sheridan Recreation District. These floats are limited in availability, so be sure to sign up in advance if you’d like to join us.
You’ll also have an opportunity to see the new downtown river access location, which will make it even easier for folks to connect with places to eat, drink and be merry while enjoying a float along the Gooses. The new access site is located on Little Goose Creek east of Sheridan College’s downtown campus building on Broadway St. Signs are coming soon.
Another Discovery Session promises plenty of horsepower as we host a “Bring Your Own Horse Trailride” at Soldier Ridge Trail on June 27. Kristen Marcus of C.H.A.P.S. will lead riders and their steeds on Soldier Ridge Trail and Kicking Horse Trail, which we completed last fall. If you’re looking for a new place for you and your horse to ride, these trails blaze through beautiful range that’s home to ten raptor species, including the threatened burrowing owl.
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the first big party of the summer – Trailfest 2021 presented by Big Horn Mountain Radio Network. It’s a weekend of free fun for everyone beginning Friday, June 4 as we watch the 1984 comedy classic Ghostbusters (rated PG, parental discretion advised) in Kendrick Park. SCLT will bring the popcorn, you bring blankets, chairs and any other movie snack.
On Saturday, June 5, Trailfest will be in full swing starting with our Spring Into Summer 5K at 9 a.m. and ending with the Nate Champion Band and Wyoming Band tearing it up in the bandshell from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. In between, there’s yoga, paddling, fishing, painting, drawing, history tours & pop-ups, nature walks, kids raffle races and scavenger hunts, inflatables, a water obstacle course, food, beer, beverages and more all in Kendrick Park! And it’s all free!
As you can see, there are plenty of ways you can Spring into Summer with SCLT!