158 views • posted 05/17/2021 • updated 08/24/2023
Billings has successfully implemented over 35 miles of trail in the last 15 years, causing concern over how the trails will be maintained, which departments are responsible for maintenance, and how it will be funded.
The City of Billings and Yellowstone County began a comprehensive planning process in the early
1990’s to provide more transportation options for non-motorized use. This process began with
development of the BikeNet Plan in 1995 and continued to gain momentum with the Heritage Trail
Plan in 2004. An additional trail plan update is currently underway, titled Billings Area Bikeway and
Trail Master Plan.
Along with the development of these planning documents, Billings has successfully implemented over 35 miles of trail in the last 15 years. With this construction and continued demand for even more trails, there is growing concern over how the trails will be maintained, which departments are responsible for maintenance, and how it will be funded. Many potential funding sources for trail construction have become available in recent years. In fact, many trails in Billings have been constructed using federal funding available through the Community Transportation Enhancement Program (CTEP) and other similar programs. Unfortunately, as funding opportunities have developed for trail construction, comparable funding options have not necessarily been available for trail maintenance. The City of Billings and Yellowstone County are therefore left with the task of addressing maintenance concerns and identifying a viable funding source to maintain the trail system and make repairs and replacements as the system ages.
Development of this Trail Asset Management Plan has been a collaborative effort between Sanderson Stewart; the City of Billings Parks, Recreation and Public Lands Department; the Chamber of Commerce Trails Committee; and the City-County Planning Division. Members of the Billings Police Department Volunteer Bike Patrol and the Chamber of Commerce Trails Committee also made significant contributions towards the effort by completing inspections of existing trail corridors. Throughout this process, the project team also met with Alta Planning + Design, the consultant working on the Billings Area Bikeway and Trail Master Plan, to coordinate efforts and determine how the two documents are interrelated.
Attached document published June 2011
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