Last week the Chamber board took a tour of the trail system in Billings to shed some light on areas which are well-positioned icons currently, areas with a plan in place for future development, and areas along the way in need of some time and attention.
The tour started at the newly named William Clark Recreation Area, which is down off Garden Avenue on land currently closed to the public. The area is a spectacular geographical asset along the Yellowstone River and is possible thanks to an easement granted by Western Sugar. Territorial Landworks is helping the Chamber with a grant application to develop a Master Plan for the area. Hopefully, in the not too distant future, this area will become a rich stop along the Heritage Trail in Billings. The significance is that the area, pictured below, is where William Clark crossed the horses during the Expedition home. Additionally, it will one day serve as the trail connection to River Front Park.
Next the group traveled to Coulson Park, another stunning area with exceptional potential. Big Sky Economic Development is currently working to raise funds to develop a Master Plan for this space as well. If both plans are developed and these park spaces brought up to their full potential, Yellowstone River access will finally be feasible and our community will have incredible assets to enjoy and promote.
The group moved next to Boothill Cemetery, an area with rich history in need of attention. The Cemetery is the site of many different historical events and is actually the beginning of Swords Rimrock Park. It’s proximity to Yellowstone Kelly Interpretive Site and the historic points recognized atop Kelly Mountain makes it ripe for enhancement as an attraction on the Heritage Trail.
Finally, the group visited Zimmerman Park and discussed major improvements to the Trail System in recent years, thanks in large part to TrailNet. TrailNet is responsible for the completion of more than 50 miles of trail and nearly half a million dollars in support and maintenance. Their large project currently is fundraising for the development of the Skyline Trail. This effort will facilitate a connection between Swords Rimrock Park and Zimmerman Park along Highway 3. Learn more about Skyline Trail and TrailNet on their Facebook page.
The Chamber continues to devote an interest to trails and is shifting its focus to facilitating a connection between the Rims and the River – trail connections, heritage/history connections, recreational connections, and more. Stay tuned as this priority takes focus. Interested in engaging with the Chamber’s Trails Committee? Let us know!