Residents and visitors will soon get to enjoy a new trail system located above the Spearfish City Park and D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery.
The Spearfish City Council Monday approved a proposal for the Spearfish Nature and History Trail, which would create a family-focused nature trail in the approximately 80-acre prairie above the fish hatchery and City Park. The land on which the trail would be located includes a combination of private, city and federal properties, and provides a panorama of the surrounding area — including a showcase view of Lookout Mountain and downtown Spearfish.
Parks and Recreation Director Tyler Ehnes has been working with Councilman Rob Herrmann, staff of the D.C. Booth Society, and local volunteers to determine how to create a single-track, nature and historical trail system in the area.
Plans include signage along the trail to provide educational opportunities about the surrounding geography, wildlife and history of Spearfish.
“It is important to the future of Spearfish to keep in mind that usage of our immediate surroundings will continue to be forefront in the minds of current residents and will factor into the consideration of prospective residents,” the proposal states. “Based on the latest national and local surveys, immediate access to nature factors high on level of importance to residents and tourists alike. As Spearfish continues to grow in the coming decade, ball fields and playground equipment alone will not suffice as green spaces. More important is to set aside land for natural usage and exploration.”
The new trail will also provide a safer route for residents west of Ames Street who are wishing to walk to Brady and City parks, the hatchery and the recreation path to the canyon. The interpretive signs will include information about geography, wildlife, and the role Spearfish played in the Homestake Mine and the Passion Play.
The new nature trail has the potential to provide an access point directly to the other trails across the Northern Hills, the proposal states.
"Campground guests would be able to access the hundred plus miles of trails available to them without the need to drive to a trailhead," the plan said. "Out of town (sic) users will have all of the city's eating and drinking establishments directly at the finish of their adventure, encouraging them to stay and support our local businesses."
Organizers said the trail proposal is important for the future of Spearfish as many people are moving to the city because of the outdoor activities.
"Based on the latest national and local surveys, immediate access to nature factors high on level of importance to residents and tourists alike," the proposal reads. "As Spearfish continues to grow in the coming decade, ball fields and playground equipment alone will not suffice as green spaces. More important is to set aside land for natural usage and exploration."
The proposal calls for the use of volunteers, organizations and fundraising to complete the project. Organizers hope to have the trail cut/open for use by July, with directional signage installed in August, and interpretive signage installed in 2022.