SHERIDAN — The Bighorn National Forest is proposing to authorize Sheridan County a special use permit to expand the Red Grade Trail System outside of Big Horn.
The project would create a 15-foot right-of-way to construct and maintain a 24- to 36-inch native surface, nonmotorized trail. The overall development plan on Bighorn National Forest lands would include approximately 15 miles of trail with three trailheads and parking areas that equate to about 1.3 acres.
However, according to the environmental assessment for the project, if approved as submitted, the plan for construction will be a phased development.
“Sheridan County with Sheridan Community Land Trust (SCLT) will only construct each phase that is supported by the community and funding has been secured for proper construction and maintenance and the phases may take many years to complete,” the assessment states.
“In addition, the responsible official’s final decision may not be for the full development but could be for portions of the plan if the impacts of such development would significantly impact the balance of the resources.”
SCLT Executive Director Brad Bauer said it was great to see that so many people had shared insight and input about the proposed trails.
“It’s a strong reminder just how much people love to access the outdoors — and, if approved and built, that’s the opportunity these trails can create,” Bauer said. “They create safe and sustainable opportunities to hike, opportunities to bike, opportunities to hop on your horse and ride — opportunities to access and enjoy the forest. And by connecting to the existing Red Grade Trails, access to those opportunities will be easier. It brings the forest down the mountain. We thank the United States Forest Service for taking the time to review the proposal and allow community input and we look forward to a final decision.”
The final environmental assessment and draft decision document is available for review on the website of the Tongue Ranger District of the Bighorn National Forest —www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=52701.
According to Bighorn National Forest officials, this is the opportunity to object on the draft decision. Objections, including attachments, must be in writing and filed within 45 days of Saturday.
According to the Bighorn National Forest, issues raised in objections must be based on previously submitted specific written comments regarding the proposed project or activity and attributed to the objector, unless the issue is based on new information that arose after the opportunities to comment. Unless objecting to new information, only those who have submitted timely, specific written comments during the scoping period from April 1, 2018, to May 1, 2018, or during the public meeting held April 4, 2018, or during the comment period on the Draft Environmental Assessment from Feb. 8, 2019, to March 11, 2019, may file an objection.
Objections must include the objector’s name and address, signature or verification of authorship, identification of the project, and a description of those aspects of the project addressed by the objection, including specific issues, suggested remedies and supporting reason to consider.
Objections should be sent to: Administrative Review Officer, Red Grade Trails Project, 1617 Cole Boulevard, Building 17, Lakewood, CO 80401. Or they can be submitted by email to R02adminemail@example.com.
For additional information or to receive a hard copy of the Draft Decision Notice, contact: Amy Ormseth , District Ranger, Bighorn National Forest, 2013 Eastside 2nd Street, Sheridan, WY 82801; Telephone (307) 674-2600; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information about the proposed trail is available on the Bighorn’s website or by calling Amy Ormseth at 307-674-2680.