For an Oregon gal who learned to swim as she learned to walk, the lack of access to waters to swim, float, fish and just get outdoors was something Hesid Brandow described as a “culture shock.”

“Sheridan did not have good public access to waterways when I began coming here, which was a huge cultural barrier for me,” she said.

That barrier began to lift as SCLT began working with private and public landowners to create the Tongue River Water Trail (TRWT). Brandow’s family uses the Tongue Valley “almost daily during the warm season” and frequently, though less often, in the winter. That’s fishing and swimming, hiking and cross-country skiing – even an annual father-son canoe trip!

Brandow credits the creation of the TRWT for the dramatic change she’s experienced in and around the Tongue Valley. “In our decade living here,we have watched as the area has been cleaned up,” she explained. “Our family benefits daily from the well-maintained creek bank and we are constantly reminded of just how fortunate we are to live in a community with a land trust!”

This summer, Brandow and her husband, Kevin Knapp, created a video documenting a group float down the TRWT. She said it was a way to thank SCLT for helping establish “this free, amazing recreational opportunity that exists right here in town.” “I hope sharing my family’s experience will get the word out so more families can share in this incredible community treasure,” she said, concluding, “For me, water will always be the center of my world, so being able to access it has helped make Sheridan a true home.”

You can watch Hesid’s video below.