U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
Sharing Trails - Something for Everyone
by Karly DeMars, Fire Management Specialist, Central Montana District
Judging by the enthusiasm and participation, the first Sharing Trails event held April 19-20 in Lewistown was a big success.
A cooperative effort between the BLM Lewistown Field Office and the Judith Basin Back Country Horsemen, the event was designed to open lines of communication and share information with the public and multiple stakeholders frequenting trails in our beautiful backcountry.
Other involved stakeholders included Lewistown Honda, Little Belts Snowmobile Club, Montana Wilderness Association, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, Fergus County Weed District, and Central Montana Search & Rescue.
“When this project began, we had no idea how many great people would come together and be willing to make this event a success for the children and our community,” said Geoff Beyersdorf, Field Manager of the BLM Lewistown Field Office. “During the planning process, we were amazed that what we felt was a priority for the public to know was also a priority for our stakeholders to share.”
Sharing Trails was a two-day event that focused on safety and trail etiquette for those interested in outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, motorcycling, ATV riding and horseback riding. Friday was designed for youth education and participation while the Saturday event was open to the general public.
“It was pleasing that all trail users got together and shared information about trail etiquette,” offered Henry Gottardi from the Judith Basin Back Country Horsemen (JBBCH). “Over the two days, we developed relationships with each other allowing us to move forward together as we all enjoy this resource.”
Judy Fossum, a teacher from Moore Public School and a JBBCH member, reported, “We enjoyed the wide spectrum of information available. The students also enjoyed the GPS information and being able to use the device outside. Who knew that learning about noxious weeds could be so much fun! I was excited to be a part of the event.”
“Having the motorized booth next to the non-motorized booth was a great idea and it put a face to the user group,” offered Jeff Evans from Lewistown Honda. “The event was a start of a camaraderie built between all user groups.”
Dave Cunningham, Public Affairs Specialist with the U.S Forest Service agreed.
“It was really great to be invited to work with all of the other partnering groups on this event,” he said. “The students were highly engaged and I believe they left with a whole new understanding of a variety of ways to enjoy trails safely as well as appreciating the value of respecting the other users while following the rules governing trail use.”
The BLM and the multiple stakeholders plan to repeat this event annually and hope the interest continues. Additionally, the BLM would like to send a special thanks to all the stakeholders and volunteers for their support and participation.
For more information, please contact Kelly McGill, BLM Outdoor Recreation Planner, at 406-538-1905 or firstname.lastname@example.org.