The first portion of a trail connecting Casper to the mountain will officially open soon, even though most people have already been using the completed section that begins near the Casper Family YMCA and ends at Casper Mountain Road.

More than half of the country’s population has concerns about traffic and safety issues when it comes to bicycling and walking, according to a recent press release from the Platte River Trails Trust. But the nonprofit, whose mission is to develop pathways while preserving the natural value of the North Platte River, is continuing to ensure that Casper has safe walkways.

The Casper Mountain Road to Rotary Park Trail will officially open with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 11:30 a.m. Monday at the intersection of David Street and Casper Mountain Road.

This trail will set the stage to connect in-town trails with more than 45 miles of trails on Casper Mountain. The opening marks the completion of the project’s first phase. Construction on the second phase, which will extend the trail from Wyoming Boulevard to Garden Creek Road, is expected to begin in the spring.

The Parkway Trust is hoping the trails appeal to residents and tourists, said Angela Emery, the group’s executive director.

“We already know that people are coming from out of town to use our trails.” she said.

And those who use Casper’s trails frequently provide positive feedback, she added.

“Trail users have shared very moving personal stories with us about the key role our community’s trails have played in their personal wellness journey, as a training tool or simply as a place they are able to go to connect with nature and their families,” Emery said. “This new trail is just one more segment that people can use to improve their quality of life.”

The release explains that the project received grants from the Wyoming Department of Transportation’s TAP program, City of Casper Optional One Cent fund, the Natrona County School District Recreation Joint Powers Board and Black Hills Energy.

Casper currently has more than 35 miles of trails.

Katie King covers the city of Casper.

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Katie King joined the Star-Tribune in 2017 and primarily covers issues related to local government. She previously worked as a crime reporter in the British Virgin Islands. Originally from Virginia, Katie is a graduate of James Madison University.

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