Plus a second large donation was presented to BTN by Dick Charbonneau
Billings TrailNet received a handsome donation from cyclist and retired fireman, Dick Charbonneau, plus several significant contributions from other generous donors wishing to see more trails developed.
Last year Charbonneau donated $60,000 toward the development of a small section of the Skyline Trail which was built in the summer of 2020. A plaque bearing his name is embedded in the trail. The rest of the $3 million Skyline Trail will be built by summer of 2022 with funds from a grant awarded to the City of Billings from the Federal BUILD program.
Charbonneau has fond memories of long bike rides in and around Billings, and would like to help others enjoy the outdoors safely, away from traffic.
“These trails make it a whole lot safer,” says Charbonneau.
Billings TrailNet also received a significant donation from an anonymous donor who was hit by a car last summer as he was riding on Garden Avenue. The driver left the bruised and shaken cyclist at the scene.
The victim later received a settlement from his insurance company for an uninsured motorist claim. He generously gave a large portion of the settlement ($2,500) to fund additional trail work “so others hopefully won’t have to go through a similar experience.”
“I am grateful for Billings TrailNet and all it does to create safer places to recreate,” he says.
“The multiuse trail and bike lane system has come a long way since I moved to Billings. I like the vision that Billings TrailNet is bringing to the community and I feel safer with each development,” he continues in a letter he sent to Billings TrailNet, along with his check.
Billings TrailNet has been raising funds for trail development for the City of Billings since 2002. Over the past 20 years the organization has raised more than $1 million through its main fundraiser, Ales for Trails, and from individual and corporate donations. These funds have been leveraged by the City of
Billings to win grant awards which have enabled the city to build more than 40 miles of trails in Billings.
While these donations provide matching funds necessary to receive trail building grants, those grants are rare and extremely competitive. In order to provide the Billings community with safe trails to school, to work and to recreational areas, the city will need at least $10 million to build these routes.