Billings TrailNet gathers community leaders for future trail development in Billings

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by Tom Howard

Trail advocates, planners, engineers and elected officials will meet Nov. 28 to discuss and plan for future trail development in Billings.

It’s been six years since the release of the Billings Area Bikeway and Trail Master Plan, which was again updated in 2016. The Plan is a blueprint that spells out how future trails and bikeways will be developed throughout  Billings.

At the recent Billings TrailNet Member Appreciation gathering, Billings Mayor-elect Bill Cole mentioned how trails have emerged as a top-of-mind issue for Billings residents.

“For probably the first time ever, all of the mayoral candidates talked about trail development,” Drake said, referring to the Nov. 4 city election which Cole won. “We hope to talk about trails, bikeways and the trail plan, and how we can get more trail development done,” Drake said.

Since the late 1990s Billings TrailNet has contributed more than$455,000 63,000 toward 17 trail and bikeway projects. Although trail development in Billings has progressed in the six years since the trail master plan was released, significant projects, including the proposed $3.5 million Skyline Trail, will require a coordinated effort from all of the participating entities, Drake said.

The Nov. 28 meeting was called by Billings TrailNet’s executive director, Kristi Drake, and will be facilitated by Jolene Rieck, principal of Peaks to Plains Design, a Billings landscape architecture, engineering and design firm.