Volunteer helps develop a complete trail plan for Makoshika Park
By Jason Stuart
Ranger-Review Staff Writer
The road isn’t the only path being blazed in Makoshika State Park this summer.
Park officials are also working to expand and improve the park’s trail system. The new Paramount Trail, which will run between the park visitor center and the campground when completed, is the most obvious example of that focus.
However, the Paramount Trail isn’t the only trail parks officials are eying.
That’s where Trent McCann comes in. McCann, a native of Pequannock, N.J., and a recent graduate of Furman University, is an AmeriCorps volunteer stationed at Makoshika this summer — the park’s first ever — and he is working to develop a plan for the future of Makoshika’s trails.
“Bringing the AmeriCorps worker in is really going to help our trails program,” said park manager Nathan Powell. “We can develop a definitive plan for our trail system. We want to just get this nailed down and have an understanding of where we’re going with our trails.”
McCann has developed a program to try and do just that.
Part of the effort is focused on simply expanding the park’s trail network. Powell said McCann has been busy trailblazing since he arrived, not only eying potential new trails but rediscovering and marking trails that park literature says exist but have become obscured or lost through disuse.
According to McCann, Makoshika only had “2.8 miles of improved trail when I got here,” which he is looking to expand upon.
“As of right now, we have plans for about 12 miles of trails total,” McCann said.
The goal of the trails program isn’t just to expand the number of trail miles, however. McCann is also looking for input to help expand the types of uses allowed on some of Makoshika’s trails to attract more visitors to the park.
“Right now, there’s not really trails for horses, there’s not trails for mountain bikes and there’s not really trails for people to do backcountry (hiking),” McCann said. “I think if we could provide solid amenities, it would really help increase use of the park.”
Powell has no doubts McCann’s work is making a difference in the park.
“It’s just been a tremendous value having him here this summer,” Powell said.
However, the ones who can really make a difference in expanding and improving Makoshika’s trail system are the people who live here and use the park all the time, according to McCann.
Reach Jason Stuart at email@example.com.