The Sheridan Community Land Trust is partnering with the National Park Service to study and plan for increased water recreation in Sheridan County. The Land Trust has identified about 70 miles on the Tongue River and Little Goose and Big Goose Creeks with recreation potential. The group’s Executive Director, Colin Betzler, says there’s been interest in developing recreational opportunities in the past, but there hasn’t been an organized effort.
“What we’re noticing is that there seem to be more and more non-motorized recreationists in the area, whether they’re hiking up the mountains, biking in the area, or floating on the waterways. And we saw the need for really just improving the safety, improving the visibility, and the opportunities on the local waterways,” says Betzler.
He says increasing access and awareness is key.
“We’ve got these great waterways but there’s not a whole lot of use that they see right now, mainly because there’s a lack of information out there for potential boaters. There can be new water hazards and public access sites can be unknown or confusing. We feel like that prevents both the locals and visitors to the area from taking full advantage of the recreation opportunities,” he says.
Betzler says the plan should be completed in the fall, and then the Trust will start to look for grants to fund improvement projects. He says he hopes more recreational opportunities will convince visitors to stay in Sheridan County and leave their dollars in the community.