Ales for Trails at ZooMontana - KULR8.com | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Ales for Trails at ZooMontana

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BILLINGS, Mont. -

September 7th will mark the 18th year for the Ales for Trails event in Billings. The event was designed to be the big fundraiser for the trail system in the city. Some people like to call Ales for Trails "The Best Party in Billings." It has gone from starting at the Skypoint to moving to the Depot and then to Dehler Park. Come September 7, 2018, the event will be in a different location, once again. Kristi Drake, the Executive Director for Billings Trailhead said they have spoken with their sponsors and guests, who told her, they definitely want the event to be outside. So, the Ales for Trails will be held with a bunch of wild animals around. That's right! Ales for Trails will be held at ZooMontana. "We just moved it up a little bit, to September 7th. Usually it's been in the third weekend in September. And we're doing it at the zoo and that's it's new home from now on," said Kristi Drake.

Drake told KULR-8 that typically, around 2,000 people show up for the event each year, with about 40 to 50 micro breweries serving beverages. Drake explained, "It's not all just beer. We've got non-alcoholic beverages and wine."

Last year, the event netted $92,000. Drake says the big plan is to have a trail along the rims that goes between Swords Park and Zimmerman Park. "That would be about 3 miles of trails and it would really extend the trail system to be about eleven and a half miles if you go all the way up to Mary Street. Eventually, we'd like to have a loop around the entire city. We'd call that the Marathon Loop and that would be about 26.2 miles, depending on how you run it or bike it. So, the big plan for the immediate future is to build the skyline trail and that of course is between Zimmerman Park and Swords Park."

Drake explained they were fortunate enough to receive a grant from Philips 66 to build new bathrooms at Zimmerman Park. "Having something substantial and something with a privacy screen and perhaps some interpretative signage, would help a lot."

This summer though, Zimmerman Trail will close for a safety project. "They'll be installing some guard rails and other safety features on the road Zimmerman Trail. They're also going to put in an underpass at the intersection of Hwy 3 and Zimmerman Trail. Having a pedestrian underpass is critical to keeping people safe when they're trying to get to Zimmerman Park from either Zimmerman Trail or down the road on Hwy 3." She called the safety project a huge win.

Drake said MDT and the City of Billings have been great partners involved in the trails. Parks and Recreation will maintain the trail all the way to Swords Park. "Right now, we're focused on Zimmerman Park, because we can make that happen this summer." Drake told KULR-8 that they are looking for volunteers and materials to help with the trail.

To help with monetary or material donations:
406-281-1244
Billingstrailnet.org
kristi@billingstrailnet.org

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