New trail loops open at First People’s Buffalo Jump State Park

Two new trail loops, totaling three miles are now open to the public at First People’s Buffalo Jump State Park.

The trail is located at the northern end of the park and has a natural surface, adding to the existing 3.5 miles worth of trails at the park.

Rick Thompson, park manager, said the walking trails will also be open to horseback riding.

The trail was funded through the Recreational Trail grant program, a federal program administered through the state. The park received two grants of $20,000 a piece, which fully funded the trail project. There’s some funding left over that Thompson said he’s planning to use for other components of the new trail.

On Thursday, a crew from Montana Conservation Corps finished projects associated with the trail, which was built by a contractor.

The original park management plan recommended that recreational opportunities be enhanced, Thompson said, and the trails fit into that task.

When Thompson took over as park manager in 2015, it didn’t take long to see the possibilities for expanding the trail on the northern section of the park, which is underutilized, he said.

There’s a small parking area and kiosk at the start of the new trail, which is accessible when you go right at the fork in the road at the park.

Thompson said he’s hoping to host a grand opening event for the trail once a few other projects along the trail are completed, but the trail is available to the public now.