Nearly $600K To Enhance Red Grade Trails Near Sheridan

Sep 15, 2020

Jim Sorenson walks through a wildflower meadow as he explores potential paths for new routes at Red Grade Trails. Last week, the Sheridan Community Land Trust was awarded about $600,000 from the Wyoming Business Council and US Forest Service that will be used to build 15 new trail miles and three parking areas in the Bighorn National Forest, the majority of which will be built in 2021.
Credit Sheridan Community Land Trust

The Sheridan Community Land Trust has received two grants that will go towards building more trails and parking areas in the Bighorn National Forest.

The two grants from the U.S. Forest Service and the Wyoming Business Council total nearly $600,000. The funds will go to building 15 miles of trail and three parking areas in the existing Red Grade trail system.

Sheridan Community Land Trust Executive Director Brad Bauer said the trails will be non-motorized and multi-use for hiking, biking and equestrian activities.

"Most of the trails will be shared-use," Bauer said. "But there will be some specific trails that are single-use only. And that's mainly done for safety. Places where it's not safe for cyclists and runners to be in such close proximity to equestrian users and vice-versa."

Outdoor recreation development has been a point of interest for many in Sheridan County over the last couple of years, with residents looking for more options. Bauer said trail systems like this are valuable to communities.

"We're seeing more and more that these trail systems, including this Red Grade trail system, are important economic development tools. They attract businesses to relocate or move to Sheridan. They also attract high quality employees when they're looking for things to do," he said.

Last year, the Forest Service approved the Land Trust to build the addition to the trail system. Some conservation groups in the region had concerns about the environmental impacts of additional development.

Construction for the new trails will likely start in spring 2021, and it will take a couple of years to complete, Bauer said.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Catherine Wheeler, at cwheel11@uwyo.edu.