A small slice of the Skyline Trail is ready for the public to enjoy!

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by Tom HowardAs summer 2019 shifts into high gear, a small slice of the SkylineTrail — a multiuse path that will eventually extend atop the Rims from Zimmerman Park to Swords Park — is ready for the public to enjoy.

Thanks to Kurt Kaufman of Riverside Contracting, the trail has been improved with the installation of millings. The ground up asphalt is a byproduct of road renovation projects. This durable, cost effective, recycled material creates an all-weather surface at a fraction of the cost of laying down new asphalt.

Since 2001, Ales for Trails, Billings TrailNet’s main fundraiser, has raised more than $715,000, which has contributed to the construction of some 45 miles of multiuse trails in the Billings area. Since then, Billings TrailNet has been on the move, and membership has grown to 1,142.

Be sure to mark your calendars as Billings TrailNet and a host of local sponsors dedicate this new section of Skyline Trail, July 13 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Zimmerman Park.

This family friendly event will feature music by Arterial Drive, food trucks, a raffle, and e-bike demonstrations provided by the Spoke Shop.

The Skyline Trail represents the next big step in the development of a comprehensive Billings trail system. But many individuals and organizations have made it possible. We would like to thank the following:

• Phillips 66 was the first to donate- and gave $50,000 for a restroom on the trail and $10,000 for benches along the trail. We installed the restrooms in August 2018 at Zimmerman Park.

• Dick Charbonneau- who has given significantly and generously to the Skyline Trail

•  Billings TrailNet corporate member Billings Chamber of Commerce- has championed the Skyline Trail and supported financially

• Big Sky Economic Development- Donated $5,000 to the Skyline Trail and has advocated for the trail to our community leaders

•  Billings Clinic- Donated $5,000 to the Skyline Trail and has advocated for the trail to our community leaders

• Bernie Rose, former Billings TrailNet board member and member of Yellowstone County Parks board, who has given generously in providing for the restroom’s maintenance.

• Montana State Parks and the Recreational Trails Program- who awarded Billings TrailNet $15,000 to build Phase 1 of the trail and add interpretive signs along the path

• Many individual donors- have given more than $25,000 toward building the Skyline Trail

• Cal Cumin and the Yellowstone County Parks- who partnered with Billings TrailNet to secure a grant for Phase 1 of the trail, store the millings and allow the trail, restrooms and signs to be installed at Zimmerman Park to incorporate the park into the entire Skyline Trail plan

• Patrick Parker from Beartooth Design, who gave his time and heart to promoting the Skyline Trail, to promoting this celebration and to designing the beautiful restroom privacy screen

•  Beartooth Ironworks- manufactured the restroom privacy screen beautifully

•  Tieszen & Sons, who installed the privacy screen and interpretive sign

• Board member Jim Downs, who has spent countless hours helping to plan the Skyline Trail, and the entire Board of Directors, for their contributions and work on this project

• Adam Bauer and Missoula Concrete, who fabricated the restrooms and gave a donated to this project

• Bruce Larsen, who installed the restrooms

• Retired Regional Director of Montana Department of Transportation, Stefan Streeter-  whose vision and friendship helped make this trail possible.

• Montana Department of Transportation Director Mike Tooley- who rode along Highway 3 with BTN’s ED Kristi Drake, to see how the future Skyline Trail would impact the safety and enjoyment of bicyclists and pedestrians 

• MDT’s team, Wade Salyards, Rod Nelson, Shane Johnson and Dwayne Kailey, who worked with Billings TrailNet to allow the trail to be built along the highway

• Scott Walker with City/County Planning- whose vision inspired the Skyline Trail, and who conducted the initial feasibility study for a trail along Highway 3 in 2015

• Dave Mumford, Debi Meling and Erin Claunch with the City of Billings Public Works/Engineering, who have partnered with Billings TrailNet to oversee the design and manage the project

• Michael Sanderson and Tim Pirtz at Sanderson Stewart- who discounted their services to enable Billings TrailNet to get the trail engineered, and whose chief engineer, Tim Pirtz has designed the Skyline Trail

• Tim Erickson, Melissa Widseth and Christin Moreau at HDR Engineering-  who helped plan this section and served as an important liaison in securing the pavement for Phase 1 of the trail. HDR has been an Ales for Trails sponsor for many years.

• Kurt Kaufman at Riverside Contracting- who donated the millings from the Highway 3/Zimmerman Trail roundabout bypass to pave the trail and the parking lot at Zimmerman Park  

• Ray and Mary Beth Beaulieu at Big Guy Barbecue, who have partnered and supported Billings TrailNet, helped plan this event and are providing the food truck at the Trailblazing Celebration

• Carrie Carpenter, her teacher Eric Anderson and students and faculty at the Billings Career Center- who donated their time and materials to designing and fabricating the interpretive sign and Skyline Trail signs

• Karen Sanford Gall and The Heart & Sole Run organizers and sponsors, who have organized the run that has contributed $89,000 to our trail system

• Anne Gauer and Allen Peters from Spotlight Productions- who have recorded countless hours and images of the Skyline Trail for all of our promotions   

• Andrew Thomas- who donated his beautiful image of the rims in the afternoon for our promotional materials and the interpretive sign

• Kevin Kooistra from Western Heritage Center- who provided information on the cultural history of the rims and Zimmerman Park

• Carolyn Sevier from Montana Audubon Center- who provided information on mountain ranges, the natural area and birds to be found at Zimmerman Park for the interpretive sign

• Yellowstone Rimrunners, who have partnered with Billings TrailNet on our events and our trails, and who have given significantly to developing our trails

• The Billings Association of Realtors, who have chosen the Skyline Trail as this year’s Quality of Life Run recipient

• Billings Rotary and Kiwanis- who, back in the 1938, gave money to developing Zimmerman Park

• Spectrum Reach, who has donated to the Skyline Trail and to producing the Trailblazing Celebration

• Mayor Bill Cole and Billings’ First Lady, Anne Cole- who have given generously, promoted effectively and supported the Skyline Trail

• Selby’s, who donated a beautiful display version of our artist’s rendering of the Skyline Trail

•  James Kordonowy from A&E- Designed the restroom

•  Bill Tieszen with Tieszen & Sons- Discounted installation of the Restroom privacy screen

•  Krivonen & Associates- Discounted design and stamp of engineer’s approval for installation of the Restroom privacy screen

For more on the Trailblazing Celebration and those who contributed to a very successful event please see our Trailblazing Celebration page under Events