What Do You Know About the History of Ales for Trails & Billings TrailNet?

A little background info on Ales for Trails:

  • 1994 The City of Billings created a trail plan and called it the "BikeNet Plan.” they had a vision, but there was no money at the city to build trails. They started writing grants to the Federal Government for nonmotorized transportation routes, but were required to have money in hand to match what the government granted. 
  • This is when Billings TrailNet came into existence, and we created a new event, we named "Ales for Trails,” in 2001. (Ales for Trails is turning 21 this year!) https://www.billingstrailnet.org/ales-for-trails/
  • This enabled the city of Billings to develop much of the more than 50 miles of shared use paths we enjoy in Billings today.
  • 2022 Through generous donations by individuals and our fundraisers like Ales for Trails, Billings TrailNet has contributed more than $750,000 to the City of Billings for trails and trail amenities! These contributions have leveraged $16,643,000 in trail projects. https://www.billingstrailnet.org
  • Next year, we are excited to see the new Skyline Trail built along the rims, connecting Zimmerman Park to Swords Park! This will give our community 10 miles of continuous trails, going all the way to the Heights, and to the Yellowstone River by Coulson Park! https://www.billingstrailnet.org/coming-soon-the-long-awaited-skyline-trail/

Trail Facts

  • Most trails in Billings were built prior to 2012, by federal transportation funding designated for non-motorized transportation. The program was called CTEP: (Community Transportation Enhancement Program)
  • Billings TrailNet operates like a foundation by raising funds and giving them to the City of Billings to support funding gaps or required matching dollars for trail building
  • Trails now are funded by a combination of federal grants and occasionally with property taxes during street maintenance and development
  • The trail system is called the Heritage Trail System
  • Billings TrailNet does not own the trails or the land the trails are on.  Most are on public right-of-way or in parks.
  • Billings TrailNet does not physically build trails with volunteers.  The City of Billings does the trail building.
  • Billings TrailNet does not decide where the trails go; the City of Billings plans where trails go.
  • There is a trail plan called The Billings Area Bikeway and Trails Master Plan. It can be accessed by the public on the city of Billings’ website at https://ci.billings.mt.us/DocumentCenter/View/34091/Billings-Bikeway-and-Trails-Master-Plan
  • The Marathon Loop is a 26.2 mile loop around the city which will be about 80% complete as soon as the Skyline Trail is constructed. The Marathon Loop includes the Shiloh Trail on the west end, the Swords Park Trail on the north end, the Jim Dutcher Trail on the east side, and Riverfront Park on the south side.
  • The Skyline Trail will extend the Swords Park trail all the way to Zimmerman Trail.
  • The next big trail in our radar is the Stagecoach Trail which would get people from Rimrock Road to Highway 3, so they can enjoy Zimmerman Park and the entire beautify of the rims.
  • Connecting the Marathon Loop around the city will provide great access to the trail system all over the city
  • We must have amenities to attract and retain residents

Billings TrailNet, (formerly BikeNet) is a non-profit, 501c3, grass-roots organization that supports urban trails in and around the Billings community.  The organization advocates to enhance the existing trail network and to expand that network to provide better connections throughout Billings – increasing recreational opportunities and transportation options. Billings TrailNet is a source of consistent messaging to federal, state, and local leaders on the importance of multimodal trails for health and safety, the economy, the environment, and the overall quality of life.  Through public campaigns and with events like Ales for Trails and the Tour de Fleur, Billings TrailNet increases awareness and encourages use of the trails in our community and raises money to use as matching funds for trail planning and development.

Ales for Trails is Friday, Sept. 9, 2022 at Zoo Montana!
The Best Party in Billings always delights guests with more than 50 different microbrews, wine and nonalcoholic drinks, great food, giant beer pong and everyone’s favorite, Silent Disco!
Enjoy live entertainment by Repeat Offenders!
Help build trails and have a great time at Billings’ favorite brewfest, Ales for Trails Friday, September 9. Tickets will be available in August at The Base Camp, The Spoke Shop, Yellowstone Fitness and at alesfortrails.com.

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