LINCOLN – The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will use $10,000 in funding from a grant program for continued development and management planning for the Cowboy Recreation and Nature Trail.
Game and Parks received the award under the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s (RTC) newly launched Doppelt Family Trail Development Fund. The fund supports organizations and local governments that are implementing projects to build and improve rail-trails. Three different projects across the United States were funded.
“We will use the funds to engage local communities along the trail corridor in updating the Cowboy Trail Management Plan,” said Michelle Stryker, administrator for Game and Parks’ Planning and Programming Division. “We hope to develop a strategy for economic development opportunities along the trail and create strong partnerships with the communities within the Cowboy Trail corridor.”
Game and Parks will hold public meetings along the trail later this year to discuss the future of the trail and ways to increase visitation and improve the overall appearance and natural setting of the trail. This summer, Game and Parks will assess the current condition of the trail and make recommendations in the Management Plan for future maintenance and development of western sections of the trail.
The RTC donated the 321-mile former Chicago and Northwestern Railroad right-of-way from Norfolk to Chadron to Game and Parks in 1994 for development of the Cowboy Trail. This hiking, biking and equestrian trail, the nation’s longest rail-to-trail conversion, has 195 miles completed from Norfolk to Valentine but is mostly undeveloped from Valentine to Chadron with the exception being around the towns of Rushville and Gordon.
The Doppelt Family Trail Development Fund was established by Jeff Doppelt of Great Neck, N.Y., a longtime supporter of RTC and development of rail-trails in the United States.
The nonprofit Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, based in Washington, D.C., is the nation’s largest trails organization dedicated to connecting people and communities by creating a nationwide network of public trails, many from former rail lines and connecting corridors.
Visit http://outdoornebraska.org/trails/cowboy_trail/cowboy.asp for more information about the Cowboy Trail.