Angela Emery is approaching 20 years in her position as executive director of the Platte River Trails Trust, which provides recreational options from Paradise Valley to the soccer fields in north Casper and from the Casper Events Center to nearly the base of Casper Mountain.
The trails’ largest fundraiser, Riverfest, is noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday at the Crossroads Playground. In addition to sampling microbrews, there are live bands, food trucks, family games and activities to enjoy, and Casper Rotary’s Great Duck Derby.
What’s new this year? Well, last year we had commemorative cups for the 25th Riverfest and we’re bringing them back. But instead of individual tickets for sampling the microbrews, you just buy the commemorative cup and then you sample as much as you’d like all afternoon. We think it’s a really easy way to enjoy the different microbrew samples that are there. Cups prepaid are $25, and at the gate are $30. We are really encouraging people to buy online at Casperriverfest.com and then you just pick them up at the gate and in you go. You don’t have to mess with a credit card or anything. And of course, if you are a non-drinker, there is no charge to attend.
What microbrews will be there? It’s really regional, not just Wyoming but all over. We’ll have Melvin, Lander Brewing, Snake River, Luminous, Odells, Black Tooth, Vernal, New Belgium and Upslope and many more. And if you’re not a microbrew person, last year we had Mike’s Hard Lemonades and hard cider as examples.
How important is the event for the trails? In our best years, we can raise $35,000 and up, and that’s a good deal for us, then it helps support us through the year. It’s one of the biggest ways we raise funds for our mission besides the one-cent money. In 2016, we had over 3,000 people attend and last year it was so crazy we forgot to click at the entry. Not all of those are going to buy a beer cup and that’s fine.
Can you update us on the newest trails? We have been amazed and delighted by the amount of usage of that new section of trail south of Wyoming Boulevard. Kids, families, grandma and grandpa, I think they’re just pouring out of the neighborhoods up there because they finally have a safe and separate way to get out and walk and see that view of the mountain as you head south. The newest section starts across the street from the new YMCA on Casper Mountain Road at the entrance to Casper College and goes all the way up past the church and ends three-quarters of a mile from our hopeful final destination, which is the entrance to Rotary Park. We have applied for a WyDOT TAP (Transportation Alternatives Program) grant for phase 3, the last segment, fingers crossed that we get it and start construction next spring with completion just about a year from now.
What else is happening? We are gearing up to apply for one cent money again. We’d like to get a trail further west from where it ends in Paradise Valley, construct a bridge across the river and go Paradise Valley to Robertson Road and west from there. Now, with the southern trail and its usage, people are really saying, come out to our neighborhood. It really hingess on the next four years of one cent. We are encouraging people to speak to their council members, commissioners and of course vote for the one cent so we can keep constructing these great trails for the community.