Executive Director’s Year-End Message
Wyoming Pathways is pleased to report a highly productive 2018 as the “statewide voice of people who bicycle and walk”. From successful trail projects in Lander and Laramie to the new Wyoming Bicycle and Pedestrian Report, this has been our most productive year yet. We are grateful for your support and wish to thank you for your help and encouragement!
Now starting our 7th year, Wyoming Pathways fills an important advocacy role to engage the public and help government agencies envision and implement better policies and make the investments needed to enhance bicycling, walking and trail systems throughout Wyoming.
Wyoming Pathways vision is to create thriving communities and enhance public lands across Wyoming. As Wyoming’s leaders seek to diversify the economy, investments to improve biking and walking options are among the top proven ways for communities to realize greater economic, quality of life, and public health benefits. Wyoming Pathways advocacy is helping support the policies and investments to secure these benefits in Wyoming. A quick tour of our progress this year follows.
The first months of the year were busy with completing the new Wyoming Bicycle and Pedestrian System Report. With our encouragement, the Wyoming Legislature passed a bill that required this first-ever report be prepared to study the “benefits and opportunities of bicycle and pedestrian pathways and natural surface trails for Wyoming communities”, with detailed recommendations for Wyoming to realize these benefits.
I traveled to Washington DC in March for the annual National Bicycle Summit, and met with Sen. Enzi, Sen. Barrasso, and Rep. Cheney to discuss bicycle, pedestrian and trail issues in Wyoming. The Delegation continues to be receptive and helpful; they see the high value of pathways and trails in our communities, and know there is public support in Wyoming.
This May Wyoming Pathways partnered with the Platte River Trails and Friends of Pathways groups to co-host the 2018 Bike-Walk-Trail Summit at Snow King Resort. This is the third such statewide event over several years. The Summit provided an excellent venue for state officials and staff to showcase their respective active transportation and healthy community programs, good networking among community leaders, and terrific presentations to learn about the latest best practices from national experts.
Wyoming Pathways mission includes helping local communities realize their goals for pathways, trails, and main streets. Building on a successful trail pilot project in Laramie last year, this summer Wyoming Pathways took on two major public land trail projects, in Lander and in Laramie.
At the invitation of local groups and the US Forest Service, Wyoming Pathways developed and led the Upper Brewers trail construction on the Shoshone near Lander, and the Pole Mountain Trail project on the Medicine Bow near Laramie. The combined value of both projects is approximately $220,000 from multiple grants. With this we constructed 5.5 miles of sustainable new trails, and fostered local partnership development to help maintain the new trails.
Wyoming Pathways Board members helped with trail layout work, and Chair Bruce Burrows lead a 10-day WCC Crew on a fun new section of the Headquarters Trail as well.
These trail projects were so successful, the Forest Service has asked us to continue helping next year! We already have a $40,000 trail bridge project planned in Lander, and another Laramie Pole Mountain Trails proposed, with some funds approved and a $50,000 Trail Grant pending.
On long distance trails, Wyoming Pathways continues to make progress toward the vision of the Greater Yellowstone Trail, a 180-mile world-class regional bicycling and walking trail connecting Jackson Wyoming with West Yellowstone Montana via eastern Idaho. For next steps, final design work is underway on a 2.3 mile pathway with a bridge and two highway underpasses between Wilson and Victor, investing $3.7 million in federal grants we helped secure.
There was also a fair level of state policy work conducted over the year. I testified at several Travel Recreation and Wildlife (TRW) Committee meetings on possible trail legislation, which may come up this next Session. While in Cheyenne, it’s also a good chance to meet with state agency staff that manage programs to support Wyoming’s pathways and trails.
All together a very successful year. Thanks again to all of you that helped support Wyoming Pathways with donations, volunteering on your local trails, and contacting your elected officials on critical issues for pathways and trails.
From all of us at Wyoming Pathways, we wish you a joyful Holiday season and all the very best for the New Year. Please keep in touch and we’ll do the same.
Tim Young, Executive Director