Billings TrailNet received a record-setting gift from an individual donor

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Billings TrailNet gratefully received a donation of $60,000 for the Skyline Trail from a Billings retiree just prior to the Skyline Trail kickoff celebration last July.  The donor, Mr. R.W. Charbonneau, is an avid cyclist even in his 80’s, and would like to see the Skyline Trail come to fruition within the next five years.

“It’s just good for the city, and people enjoy riding so I figured it was a good place to give,” explained Mr. Charbonneau, who remembers bicycling for many years through the city. “I’d ride up Zimmerman Trail and over the Billings rims in a 10.6 mile loop,” he said. “A couple of times to make it 20 miles, and I’d even go out to Molt if I wanted 40-plus,” he added.

He was inspired to help build the important connection between Zimmerman Park and Swords Park in order to give everyone in Billings the ability to enjoy the experience without facing high-speed traffic, which discourages many bicyclists from making the trek.

Mr. Charbonneau has been a member of the Billings community for almost 60 years and worked for the Billings Fire Department for 23 years after he moved from his family’s ranch in Forest Grove, Mont.  Charbonneau has received commendations for his heroism as a fireman.

“I hope my donation encourages other people to give,” he said.

Billings TrailNet is accepting donation of all sizes for the construction of the Skyline Trail and other trails in Billings. To donate or for more information go to, or contact Billings TrailNet at or call 406-281-1244.