Forest Service Approves Red Grade Trail Expansion

Sep 16, 2019

Credit Catherine Wheeler

The U.S. Forest Service has approved a proposal to expand the Red Grade Trail System near Big Horn.

The Sheridan Community Land Trust (SCLT), in partnership with Sheridan County, plans to build 15 miles of new trails for hiking, biking and equestrian near Red Grade Road and an additional 1.3 acres of parking areas.

Some conservationists oppose the expansion, saying that it cuts into wilderness and wildlife habitat.

The Land Trust will be responsible for building and maintaining the trails. Brad Bauer, SCLT's executive director, said the goal of the project is to make more sustainable opportunities for people to get outside.

"There'll be trails from beginner to intermediate. Mostly just getting people out to recreate in our beautiful backyards," Bauer said.

He said the first step will be to address the user-created parking spots along the road.

"We're thinking that'll be our first priority to upgrade those spaces to something that is easier to pull a car into, that's more sustainable from a resource stand point and frankly is visible to the road as well," he said.

Bauer said trail building will be phased as funding comes in. Earlier this summer, the SCLT received a donated mini-excavator to build trails. Bauer added they are looking to hire an operator to work on building and design.