A Sheridan conservation group and a natural gas compression company have partnered for more trail development in the Sheridan area.
EMIT Technologies in Sheridan donated a mini excavator, trailer and other tools to the Sheridan Community Land Trust (SCLT) so they can build trails themselves.
The SCLT builds and maintains several trail systems in the Sheridan area. They'll use the gift to build new trails more quickly. Chris Vrba with the SCLT said, in the past, they've had to hire contractors or rely on volunteers with hand tools to build trails.
"Just simply by having the [mini-excavator], the crucial piece of equipment to cut in the trail, is allowing us some flexibility with our own internal finances to wind up hiring a certified operator on that equipment," Vrba said.
The position will be full-time and they'll be looking for an operator soon.
Vrba said this will help trails get built faster and that they have a couple of projects already planned.
"It's called Kicking Horse Trail, and it's going to connect Hidden Hoot Trail with Soldier Ridge Trail, making a full system in that area in the western end of Sheridan. And that trail we're targeting for next summer," he said.
Vrba said they hope to start that project this season once the equipment arrives.
This donation would also help with the building of the proposed Red Grade Trail system expansion that the SCLT proposed to the U.S. Forest Service. They are still waiting on the final decision, but Vrba said that the proposed system could have taken years to build but with EMIT's donation, the project would take less time.