Rails to Trails out of Washington, D.C. is recruiting 20,000 people to pledge to walk and bike more this year and use their vehicle less this year. Horizons communities around the state have identified actions to address poverty in their community. Many have identified our cultural reliance upon personal vehicles as an impediment to thriving communities. There is little public transport in rural areas and safe-bike ways are forgotten. Rails-to-Trails is an organization that has addressed this concern positively around the country, including in some of the Horizons communities. Take the pledge to support the effort to reduce our reliance upon oil and to build healthier communities where people are at the center. Visit their website to take the pledge.
Take a hike is exactly what I did early Thursday evening. Along with Mark Wyum and Larry Christensen I hiked from the Rutland General Store and followed the existing railroad track for another two miles south of town (we made the trek in less than an hour). Mark is chair of our Hiking/Biking Trails committee to explore options for a route out to Silver Lake. The railroad track, owned by the State of South Dakota, is operated by the Dakota Missouri Valley and Western Railroad. It is one option for a hiking trail. This one provides a challenge with the sloughs in the area as well as the narrow bridge spanning the Wild Rice. I think I got a neck ache since I had to look down at every step and got a break only when I stopped to snap a few photos of the route we took.
Last Sunday, Mark Wyum, Peder Gulleson and Deborah Banish attended a meeting in Lisbon on the North Country National Scenic Trail which starts in NY and presently ends in ND. They are attempting to form a local chapter to help expand the trail through the State. We made new contacts and received information on establishing and maintaining trails, working with landowners and the railroads, obtaining easements, and learning of potential grant funding sources for our future trail. The Rutland Trails Committee will review the information when it meets sometime in April.
Mark Wyum rode around the country with Jesse Hanson one nice afternoon just like in high school. Only this time Mark needed Jesse’s professional opinion on how to get a hiking/biking trail from Rutland out to Silver Lake, five miles southwest of town. Jesse is the Assistant Director of Parks so has a little bit of knowledge on the subject. There is some promise but they’ll go out again when the snow is gone, relive memories of their youth and see if that promise for a future trail can be fulfilled.