BLM & Volunteers Spend Week Improving Sheep Mountain Trail
Written by Andrew-Rossi on September 9, 2021
After a week of digging, lopping, scraping, and smoothing, the Sheep Mountain Trail west of Cody is safer for hikers and horses thanks to “volunteer vacations.”
Eight trail stewards on an American Hiking Society (A.H.S.) “Volunteer Vacation” worked with the Bureau of Land Management Cody Field Office to make much-need improvements to this challenging trail.
“The group came to us with a lot of relevant skills and experience, and we were able to accomplish a good deal of work in a short time,” said B.L.M. Outdoor Recreation Planner Rick Tryder. “While the trail remains steep and strenuous, it is safer, more sustainable, and looks great!”
Across the board, crewmembers found it gratifying to make the Sheep Mountain Trail safer for people. Additionally, they agreed that weeklong A.H.S. projects like this give them a chance to meet new people, see new things, stay active and give back to public lands.
Carla Ray of Nantucket, Mass, who originally hails from New Zealand, initially looked for a hiking group. Now, she travels for A.H.S. volunteer projects one or two times each year.
“With A.H.S., I get to learn about flora and fauna, travel, meet people, do volunteer work—you get a lot of bang for your buck,” Ray said.
Ray wants people to know that they can make a difference on public lands: “If everyone volunteered even one day of their year, we’d make a huge impact.”
The Sheep Mountain Trail, located just west of Buffalo Bill Reservoir between Cody and Yellowstone National Park, draws locals and visitors seeking recreation and hunting opportunities.
This trail work improves access to the recently acquired 1,820-acre private inholding on top of Sheep Mountain, which opened up public access to 17,000 acres of adjacent public land.
While developing trails is always exciting, hikers mustn’t develop trails of their own. If you’re planning to hike the newly improved trail, stay on it.
“Sticking to the trail will reduce the likelihood of erosion issues, which damage the landscape and require more trail work,” said Tryder.
Tryder adds all outdoor enthusiasts should leave as little impact on the landscape as possible. Adopting the pack it in–pack it out mentality ensures that the trail and landscape stay as pristine as possible.
The Cody Field Office will continue to work with partner groups to improve the public’s experience at Sheep Mountain. For more information, contact Tryder at 307-578-5900 or firstname.lastname@example.org.