INTRODUCTION: The Wyoming Fly Casters have sponsored a mile-marker along the Platte River Trail for a number of years. It has been a little known project based on my informal questioning of fellow Fly Casters, so I tried to find out more about this project. This research has resulted in actually locating and photographing the mile-marker, and conducting an interview with Angela Emery, the Executive Director of the Platte River Trails Trust. Through this research, I have discovered a synergy between our club and the Platte River Trails that I didn't really understand before. Our club has beneficial alliances with other groups in our locale (Wyoming Game and Fish, The City of Casper, etc.), and I believe this one is no less important to our Club's mission than those others. It is important to note that our mile-marker location is a on a georgeous part of the trail on a bluff that overlooks, not only the river valley, but the entire city. It is near the Kiwanis shelter east of Crossroads Park and receives 30,000-40,000 (my estimate based on actual pedestrian traffic counts at Crossroads Park) pedestrian and biking visits per year. In addition, this section of trail is due to undergo maintenance/repairs in 2018, as is the Kiwanis shelter. In short, this is a coveted location that we are fortunate to have, and if we let this lapse, we are very unlikely to get it back. So, I would encourage our club to renew our sponsorship of this mile-marker, and help out our partner, the Platte River Trails Trust. Toward this end, I am submitting our Club's "Grant Application for Project Funding" form for consideration. The cost is $600/year.
INTRODUCTION: Today we are talking with Angela Emery, Executive Director of the Platte River Trails Trust. Angela, we would like to ask you a few questions about the organization you work with.
How long has the Platte River Trails Trust been in existence?
a. The PRTT was incorporated in 1982 although the Steering Committee that was the genesis of the organization was formed in 1979. Looking back further, the “concept” of a group interested in River restoration began in 1968. See attached photo.
How long have you been Executive Director? b. 1999
What is the mission of the Trust? a. The mission of the Platte River Trails is to develop a river pathway while preserving the scenic, natural and historic value of the North Platte River, and to partner in the development of a network of trails that contribute to our community’s economic vitality and quality of life.
As an example of the Trust's recent accomplishments, could you inform us of 2 or 3 projects that the Trust has been responsible for?
a. In 2018 the PRTT has 2 major projects planned 1) Phase II of the Casper Mountain Road trail from Wyoming Blvd. to the entrance Rotary Park and 2) a major renovation of the River Trail from just west of the Overlook Shelter (location of the Flycasters Mile Marker) to the Pedestrian Bridge. b.. In 2016 the PRTT completed a major renovation to our flagship park, Amoco Park. c. In 2015 the PRTT completed the Ft. Caspar Underpass d. In 2014 the PRTT completed the new “loop” inside Morad Park. This is one of the most popular areas on the River Trail. e.. In 2017 the PRTT completed 2 new trail segments, 1) Along the Mountain Road from the YMCA to Wyoming Blvd. and 2) New trail along Robertson Rd.
Our group, The Wyoming Fly Casters, has sponsored one of your trail markers for multiple years. Tell us how the trail marker sponsorship benefits the mission of the Trust? a. The PRTT is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that relies upon donations to accomplish it’s work. We use all unrestricted donations to support our operations, maintenance of the Tate Pumphouse and maintenance of the River Trail system. We are a small organization with 1 full time employee and 1 part-time maintenance technician. We get a very small stipend from the City for operations so we rely upon donations to keep the doors open and to grow our unrestricted funds to allow us to accomplish other small projects such as enhancements to the Pumphouse and the new Dog Park.
As some of our membership may not know prior to this article, describe where the WFC trail marker is, and what kind of setting it is located in. a.The WFC is located at the Overlook Shelter east of Crossroads Park. The Overlook Shelter was constructed by the Kiwannis Club of Casper back in the mid 1990s. The Kiwannis are planning a major renovation of the structure in 2018. This spot has one of the best views of the North Platte River valley in town.
Since our Club's mission has everything to do with fly fishing, can you see any intersection between the Platte River Trails Trust's accomplishments and the goals of the Wyoming fly Casters? a. Although the mission of the PRTT over it 35 plus year history has been to construct a “parkway” along the river corridor for the community, our impact has been much greater than that. When we first began in 1982, the North Platte River was a polluted, stinky, scary place. No one wanted to “go down to the river”. Slowly but surely as each new section of trail was constructed people began to feel more attracted connected to our great resource, the North Platte River, Today, locals and tourists can use the 10 plus mile River Trail to access excellent fishing areas steps from a trailhead on foot or bicycle. Over the course of construction of the River Trail the PRTT also installed several boat ramps at the following locations, 1) the Tate Pumphouse, 2) the Parkway Plaza hotel, 3) behind Westech and 4) at Morad Park. These ramps make fishing and boating more accessible. In addition, the 5 man-made whitewater features that were constructed in 2005 provide excellent fish habitat.
I know there are several public events important to the Platte River Trails System where you ask for community volunteers. Our organization has helped out in the past on some of these. Could you briefly list the main ones?
a. The PRTT’s signature event has always been Riverfest. Our Spring Clean-up has been going on since the mid-1990’s. Although this event does not focus on “in-river” clean-up, volunteers do an excellent job of cleaning up the riverbank and trail after the long winter season. We have now added Food Truck Friday to our event calendar. This event provides a everyone in the community a chance to come down to the river for a relaxing evening of food and fun.
b. John and Linda Yost are now Friends of the Platte River Trail and helped with ALL of our events in 2018. I believe there are other Flycasters who have helped with events over the years, including Gene Theriault. c . Clarke Turner, an avid fly fisherman, will become President of the PRTT Board in March of 2018.
Got to ask...Angela, do you fly fish?
a. I am not a fly fisherman but I learned to fish from my father at a very young age. I did have the pleasure of enjoying a fishing expedition recently in New Orleans, LA in November. I loved being out on the water and enjoying nature in that unique way. I would have preferred to “catch and release” but they don’t cotton to that down there.
Thank you so much for your time. Our Club looks forward to future collaboration.