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assessment prepared by

with technical assistance from

River, Trails and Conservation A ssistance Program


table of contents Section 1. Introduction and Background

Introduction............................................................................................................................................................................................................ 6 Goals......................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 7

Section 2. Justification - Planning and Support Documents

America’s Great Outdoors..................................................................................................................................................................................... 8 State of Wyoming .................................................................................................................................................................................................. 9 Sheridan County .................................................................................................................................................................................................. 10 City of Sheridan.................................................................................................................................................................................................... 12 Local and Regional Economic Benefit............................................................................................................................................................... 15

Section 3. Summary of Existing Waterway Conditions

Tongue River Characteristics ............................................................................................................................................................................. 16 Hydrology ............................................................................................................................................................................................................. 16 Physiography and Vegetation ............................................................................................................................................................................. 18 River Classification .............................................................................................................................................................................................. 18 Goose Creek Characteristics .............................................................................................................................................................................. 19 Tongue River Water Trail and Private Property ............................................................................................................................................. 22

Section 4. Summary of Existing Recreation Infrastructure

Explanation .......................................................................................................................................................................................................... 24 Existing Water Access Sites and River Summaries – Tongue River ........................................................................................................... 25 Privately Owned and Historically-Permitted Public Access Sites – Tongue River ................................................................................... 26 Privately-Owned and Properly Situated Potential New Access Sites – Tongue River ............................................................................. 26 Publicly-Owned Potential New Access Sites – Tongue River ....................................................................................................................... 27 Existing Access Sites and River Summaries – Goose Creeks ..................................................................................................................... 28 Privately Owned and Historically-Permitted Public Access Sites – Goose Creeks .................................................................................. 33 Privately-Owned and Properly Situated Potential New Access Sites – Goose Creeks ............................................................................. 34 Publicly-Owned Potential New Water Access Sites – Goose Creeks ........................................................................................................... 35

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table of contents Section 5. Community Engagement and Impact

TRWT Vision Statement ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 36 2014 Online Boater Survey Summary .............................................................................................................................................................. 37 Local and Regional Partners.............................................................................................................................................................................. 39

Section 6. Strategies Implementation Schedule

Hazard Mitigation ............................................................................................................................................................................................... 40 Recreation Amenities and Trail Development ................................................................................................................................................ 40 Signage, Information, Safety, and Private Property ...................................................................................................................................... 40 Marketing and Promotion .................................................................................................................................................................................. 41 Community Education and Programming....................................................................................................................................................... 42 Economic Development....................................................................................................................................................................................... 42 Implementation Schedule................................................................................................................................................................................... 43

Section 7. References

References Used................................................................................................................................................................................................... 54

Appendices

A. Map of Tongue River Water Trail Extent and Section Key........................................................................................................................ 56 B. Tongue River Water Trail Sections Section 1 – Tongue River Canyon to Scott Bicentennial Park........................................................................................................... 57 Section 2 – Scott Bicentennial Park to Halfway Lane........................................................................................................................ 58 Section 3 – Halfway Lane to Connor Battlefield................................................................................................................................. 59 Section 4 – Connor Battlefield to Kooi Road....................................................................................................................................... 60 Section 5 – Kooi Road to Kleenburn Recreation Area....................................................................................................................... 61 Section 6 – Kleenburn Recreation Area to Bighorn Mine Bridge #3.............................................................................................. 62 Section 7 – Bighorn Mine Bridge #3 to BLM Welch Recreation Area............................................................................................. 63 Section 8 – BLM Welch Recreation Area to Otter Road Bridge, MT............................................................................................... 64

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table of contents Section 9 – Otter Road Bridge, MT to Tongue River Reservoir Dam ............................................................................................. 65 Section 10 – South Park and Leopard Street to Mill Park ................................................................................................................ 66 Section 11 – Mill Park to Goose Creek/Tongue River Confluence ................................................................................................... 67 C. County Long Range Trails & Bicycle Routes Map ..................................................................................................................................... 68 D. South Park Concept Map ............................................................................................................................................................................... 69 E. Sheridan Downtown Riverwalk Concept .................................................................................................................................................... 70 F. North Main Area Master Plan - Port of Entry Design Concept................................................................................................................ 72 G. Inventory Data ................................................................................................................................................................................................ 73 H. Sheridan County Access Legal Questions and Answers......................................................................................................................... 106 I. Wyoming Stream Access Case Law Excerpt - Summary of Armstrong v Day ..................................................................................... 107 J. Montana Stream Access Law ....................................................................................................................................................................... 109 K. Survey Data .................................................................................................................................................................................................... 113 L. Signage Types and Details ........................................................................................................................................................................... 123 M. Canoeing and Floating Safety..................................................................................................................................................................... 125

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table of contents

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SECTION 1 Introduction and background This assessment was prepared by Sheridan Community Land Trust (SCLT), which was founded in 2006 with a mission to preserve our heritage of open spaces, healthy rivers and creeks, working ranches, wildlife habitat, and vibrant history, while expanding non-motorized recreation opportunities to connect people with the places they love. SCLT holds conservation easements on nearly 3,000 acres in Sheridan County, one historic preservation easement with another pending, and has created 6 miles of non-motorized trail to-date with another 30+ miles professionally-designed and awaiting funding. SCLT launched the Tongue River Initiative (TRI) in 2014, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, to work with willing landowners to protect watershed conservation values in the Tongue River valley, including productive agricultural land, scenic views, and wildlife habitat. As founder of the TRI, SCLT’s work on the initiative emphasizes opportunities to improve publicly-owned water resources for public outdoor recreation. This Water Trail Assessment connects recreation and conservation themes within the framework of the TRI. Sheridan County’s 2008 Comprehensive Plan identifies a “water trail” along the navigable Wyoming section of the Tongue River and from navigable sections of Big Goose and Little Goose Creek to the Tongue River. If completed, a water trail would enhance the recreational boating experience for roughly 70 miles of the Tongue River from Dayton, Wyoming to Montana’s Tongue River Reservoir and roughly 20 miles of the Goose Creeks from the City of Sheridan limits north to the Tongue River, while integrating existing and proposed land trails into a comprehensive regional recreational system. Equally important, enhanced river experiences made possible as a result of the water trail would inspire stewardship for the river and associated valleys, including the area’s spectacular scenery and significant natural and cultural resources.

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In 2011, the Sheridan Community Land Trust received a technical assistance grant from the National Park Service Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Planning program with one of the goals being to explore the possibility of enhancing nonmotorized recreation on the Tongue River and Goose Creek. This assessment and subsequent implementation strategies and schedules are the result of this partnership and dialogue with other entities and individuals representing the following local and regional organizations: U.S. Department of the Interior, Sheridan County, City of Sheridan, Town of Ranchester, Town of Dayton, Sheridan College Learn Outdoors Program, Forward Sheridan, Bomber Mountain Cycling Association, Sheridan YMCA, Sheridan County Conservation District, Downtown Sheridan Association, Sheridan Recreation District, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust, The Nature Conservancy, and others. Many of these community representatives serve on SCLT’s Recreation Work Group, which served as the steering committee for this project and will continue to provide guidance and direction for the implementation of the assessment as SCLT begins to carry out many of the strategies and projects identified within this document. The Tongue River Water Trail (TRWT) Assessment provides a clear vision for a regional water trail and inventories and analyzes existing conditions on these waterways in order to offer recommendations that will guide future work and investment in the proposed water trail. The process involved a broad spectrum of stakeholders, including river access owners, public agencies, members of local recreation clubs, and members of the general public. This assessment is intended to provide overall guidance for the funding and development of a cohesive and integrated TRWT across the jurisdictional boundaries of two states, Wyoming and Montana.


SECTION 1 introduction and background

Tongue River Water Trail Goals: 1. To establish a vision for the Tongue River Water Trail (TRWT) along 90 miles of Tongue River and Goose Creek waterways. 2. To identify opportunities for educating water trail users and the public about the natural resources, scenic beauty, cultural heritage, communities and economic potential of the river corridor. 3. To establish and prioritize action steps that can be implemented by various partners to enhance recreation along the proposed water trail. 4. To seek formal designation of the TRWT as a National water trail (upon completing the prioritized action steps).

Sunset over the Tongue River at Welch Recreation Area. Š Tim Doolin Photography

5. To highlight the TRWT as a local and regional recreation destination using well-branded education and outreach opportunities to provide quality information to potential recreation users.

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SECTION 2 Justification for the trwt From the national stage down to the local planning level, documents and initiatives lend direct and indirect support to the investment in and development of the Tongue River Water Trail. A summary of common themes within these various planning documents and initiatives include: • • •

To provide opportunities for children to engage with the outdoors. To increase recreation opportunities so people benefit from increased health and wellness. To connect people with both economic opportunities and their natural environment, maximizing local amenities and high quality of life.

America’s Great Outdoors Initiative America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) Initiative was launched in 2010 under Secretary of the Interior Salazar, with the goal of supporting the development of 21st Century conservation and recreation goals at the local, community level.

“AGO takes its premise that lasting

conservation solutions should come from the American people – that the protection of our natural heritage is a non-partisan objective that is shared by all Americans.” - Secretary of the Interior Salazar

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Summary of AGO’s Recreation Goals

AGO is focused on supporting projects that engage all Americans in active and exciting outdoor recreation. In addition, it recognizes that outdoor recreation is a key component to our nation’s economy and aims to specifically support recreation by: 1. Identifying outdoor recreation access and opportunities to improve public enjoyment of Federal lands, waters, and shorelines through collaboration with the Federal Interagency Council on Outdoor Recreation (FICOR). 2. Promoting better coordination and collaboration among Federal agencies, state and local partners, and non-profit organizations whose missions or programs include providing outdoor recreation and conservation of natural and cultural resources. 3. Providing online, up-to-date information and resources about federally supported outdoor recreation opportunities at Recreation.gov.

Summary of AGO’s Rivers Goals

It was clear during public listening sessions across the nation that were offered by the initiative that Americans love their rivers. Oftentimes, a local river is one of the easiest ways for people to connect to the great outdoors and active recreation. AGO’s River Initiative has a three-pronged strategy for promoting and improving river conservation and recreation. Out of this focus, AGO launched the National Water Trails System, “a network of Secretariallydesignated rivers that increase access to water-based outdoor recreation, encourage community stewardship of local waterways, and provide mutual support and knowledge-sharing.”


SECTION 2 Justification for the trwt

State of Wyoming The Wyoming State Parks and Cultural Resources Agency completed a revision to the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan in 2014. Specifically, within the Goals and Priorities section of this document, the following were identified during the planning process as Recreation Issues: 1) Land Use Management • Access to Public Lands • Public Land Usage 2) Facilities • Developing New Facilities • Maintaining Existing Facilities • Addressing Environmental Factors • Meeting the Needs of a Changing Population • Trails and Pathways 3) Funding and Cost • Funding for Personnel • Funding for Maintenance • Funding for Restoring Existing Facilities and Developing New Facilities • Cost to Public The Tongue River Valley from Kleenburn Recreation Area with the Bighorn Mountains in the distance.

Issue 1: Recommendations •

Preserve Existing and increase public access to public lands for outdoor recreation.

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SECTION 2 Justification for the trwt • • • •

Examine the use of alternative means to allow public access to public lands for outdoor recreation. Identify and resolve disagreements between conflicting public land usages. Promote compatibility between recreation opportunities and future land uses. Examine land needs to ensure they meet current demands and future trends in outdoor recreation.

Issue 3: Funding and Cost Recommendations •

Issue 2: Recommendations • • •

Improve and expand existing outdoor recreation facilities, when appropriate, to meet the increasing demands of the public. Encourage communication between users and providers to determine new needs and appropriate locations for outdoor recreation. Through a cooperative management strategy, minimize conflicts between different user groups in the development of new or expanded recreation opportunities. Ensure the current recreation needs of the population are met, which include but are not limited to: - Outdoor recreational facilities - Trails and pathways - Community recreation facilities - Needs of senior citizens and individuals with disabilities

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- Identify and address future trends and demands of outdoor recreation.

• •

Encourage alternative long-term funding strategies through a joint partnership between local government, business leaders, and private interests. Encourage the development of policies that will promote self-sufficient outdoor recreation facilities and opportunities. Increase community promotion and education about outdoor recreation programs, facilities, opportunities and needs. Promote the use of volunteers, sport associations, and recreation groups as an alternative means of support for the operation and maintenance of public outdoor recreation facilities.

In addition, State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan identified a number of priority projects for outdoor recreation in Wyoming, with the following representative of various elements of a water trail: Boating Facilities, Fishing, Natural Areas/Wetlands, Passive Parks/Open Spaces, Picnic Areas, Public Access to Public Lands, Nonmotorized Trails, and White Water Parks.

Sheridan County Multiple goals and policies related to the various elements of a water trail are presented in Sheridan County’s 2008 Comprehensive Plan. While water trails are not directly cited in the narrative, they are identified across multiple stretches of the Tongue River and Goose Creeks within the Long Range Trails and Bicycle Networks map. The following are excerpts from the 2008 Comprehensive Plan and highlight goals and policies directly or indirectly lending support to the Tongue River Water Trail.

Natural and Scenic Resources

Goal 2.1: The county will conserve and restore its riparian corridors and rivers and streams. Policy 2.1a: Protect riparian corridors. Identify and map riparian corridors and develop tools to protect these important areas. Riparian corridors along the Tongue River, Big and Little Goose Creeks, Piney Creek, Soldier Creek, and tributaries are examples of stream reaches that will remain as connected viable habitats.


SECTION 2 Justification for the trwt Goal 2.2: The county will maintain its overall water quality and quantity. Policy 2.2f: Promote water conservation. Goal 2.5: The county will establish conservation priorities for open space. Policy 2.5a: Establish open space priorities. Work with county citizens to identify lands that are priorities for conservation, such as the following: Important River and Stream Corridors, Unique Natural Areas, Crucial Wildlife Habitat, Community Separators, Land for Future Parks and Outdoor Recreation, and Irrigated Agricultural Lands. Goal 2.7: The county will steer development out of harms way – avoiding hazardous areas. Policy 2.7b: Direct development away from the 100-year floodplain to the extent possible. If alternative locations exist, development will be directed away from the 100-year floodplain unless the development is for low-impact recreation, wildlife management, open space, or agricultural purposes. Goal 2.8: The county will maintain its scenic quality and night skies.

Policy 2.8a: Protect visual quality of the county, including hillsides and ridges. Key natural landscape features including bluffs, ridgelines, escarpments, major drainage features, rock outcroppings, valley walls and other scenic topographic features should be protected. Policy 2.8b: Avoid development that is visually intrusive when viewed from major public rightsof-way. Design techniques, such as architectural design, site design, and native landscapes are techniques to protect the scenic nature of different areas in the County. For instance, structures should blend in with the natural landscape and development should be placed so as not to be a prominent feature on ridgelines (as viewed from major public rights of way). Goal 2.11: The county will enhance outdoor recreation resources and opportunities. Policy 2.11a: Sustain the county’s recreational resources. Continue to enhance outdoor recreational opportunities and tourism opportunities in a manner that sustains the county’s resources and contributes positively to the economy. Policy 2.11b: Provide and retain access to public lands. Retain existing access to public lands and,

where appropriate, provide additional access to serve the recreational needs of county residents and visitors. Policy 2.11c: Identify funding for open space, trails, and recreation. Prioritize open space, trails, and recreation projects. Identify and direct funding toward high priority trails, open space, and recreation projects.

Economic Opportunities and Jobs

Goal 3.3: The county will continue to be a tourism destination. Policy 3.3a: Enhance tourism opportunities. Continue to work with the Chamber of Commerce and other organizations to promote Sheridan County as a destination for visitors and tourists. Promote opportunities including expanding outdoor recreation, conserving open space and scenic qualities, expanding lodging and dining options, and showcasing history and culture. Maintain and protect scenic quality as seen from the Interstate.

Transportation System

Goal 5.6: The county will support planning and extension of a regional non-motorized trails and pathways system.

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SECTION 2 Justification for the trwt Policy 5.6b: Plan for and establish a regional multiuse trails system. The county will coordinate with citizens and an advisory committee and plan for a linked non-motorized trail system that extends from the urban areas to the foothills (e.g., Big Horn Mountain Trail System) and accommodates multiple users (e.g., walkers, joggers, bicycles, equestrians, and disabled). The Long Range Trails and Bicycle Networks map is a starting point for future county trails planning. Goal 7.5: Sheridan [County] will coordinate and support missions of conservation and nongovernmental organizations with aims that support this Plan’s goals. Policy 7.5a: The county will continue to work with and provide support to organizations whose mission advances conservation, agriculture, and open space.

City of Sheridan The City of Sheridan does not currently have a comprehensive plan in place and instead has assembled multiple separate planning documents that typically would be packaged for a comprehensive plan. Several planning documents lend support to the concept

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of a water trail and enhanced, safer recreational access for Big, Little, and Main Goose Creeks as they flow through city limits.

enhancements to Little Goose Creek and additional access points will provide a means for the public to utilize the creek in many ways.”

Park and Recreation Master Plan 2009

North Main Area Master Plan

As of September of 2014, this plan is currently undergoing an update. While the 2009 plan does not directly address recreational creek access, current stakeholder interviews and community outreach events repeatedly identify themes of water access for recreation and will be heavily incorporated into the update. When participants were asked about what recreation facilities are currently most needed in Sheridan, kayak/canoe launches ranked 2nd in importance.

South Park Concept Master Plan

In August of 2009, the City of Sheridan completed a community visioning process to plan South Park, a 40+/- acre property acquired by the city in 2008. This park is bounded on the east side by Little Goose Creek, and the Master Plan Map identifies creek access points located at the south and north ends of the new park site as per the following plan excerpt: “Public comment also supported the establishment of creek access points at the north and south ends of South Park in order to minimize streambed traffic impacts while allowing access to kayakers, tubers and fisherpersons. These

This City of Sheridan plan was completed in 2010 and focused on improvements to the city’s North Main area. The document includes plan implementation goals to guide private and public investment decisions for this rapidly changing part of town. Goose Creek flows through this section of town and recreation elements involving Goose Creek were featured several times in discussions on Open Space and Site Development Opportunities.

Open Space Gateway/Greenway System

One of the primary features of the Master Plan for the North Main area is an extension of the city’s open space framework to the north along Goose Creek, to serve as a major defining feature of the northern gateway. An extension of open space to the north, as shown on *Figure 2, Gateway Enlargement Plan (Appendix E), would accomplish several objectives of the NMRI. First, it establishes a new image for the North Main area as experienced from the north – an image of open space and riparian environment, with visual and physical access to Goose Cree and surrounding


SECTION 2 Justification for the trwt

Question 25: What type of recreation facilities are currently most needed in Sheridan? Answer

Count

Percentage

Sports fields for soccer/lacrosse

66

20.43 %

Baseball/softball fields

40

12.38 %

Skate park facilities

22

6.81 %

Off-road bike trails or parks

114

35.29 %

Tennis/pickleball courts

46

14.24 %

Basketball courts

41

12.69 %

Playgrounds

41

12.69 %

Canoe/kayak launches

99

30.65 %

No new facilities are needed

29

8.98 %

Table 1: Public poll questions and results from the City of Sheridan’s 2014 Parks and Recreation Master Plan Update

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SECTION 2 Justification for the trwt

SCLT volunteer Dave Peterson paddles a section of riffles as he inventories Goose Creek on a float trip in Spring 2014.

open lands. Second, it would provide enhanced recreational opportunities through access to the creek and a continuous trail system, connecting the North Main area to the rest of the city.

Former Port of Entry (POE) Site Opportunities

“…as part of this planning effort, a concept was developed for the POE that incorporates a range of uses that would benefit the North Main area as well as the city as a whole. Some of the possible concepts that have been identified for the POE site include:

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• • • • •

Welcome Center for the city and North Main area, with visitor information, parking and picnic facilities Trail connections with access to Goose Creek trails system Water recreation access area for put-in and take-out of canoes and kayaks, on a restored Goose Creek Dog park area Splash park/water play area for children

*See Appendix F, North Main Master Plan, which illustrates these concepts.


SECTION 2 Justification for the trwt Local and Regional Economic Benefit

There have been countless studies completed across the country to identify and share the positive economic impact that area water trails hold for communities within their reach. Many states have their own water trail organizations or departments for their recreation division, and the majority of these conduct routine economic analyses to provide decision makers with hard data associated with their existence. This assessment doesn’t delve into the details of these various studies, but does provide a few highlights cited in one of the more comprehensive documents related specifically to water trails – Case Studies of Water Trail Impacts on Rural Communities. It was completed in 2002 and examines a variety of water trails across the US with the following conclusions: • • •

Water Trails remain one of the most rapidly growing elements of marine recreation and tourism. Paddlers typically spend between $27-$63 daily, with destination paddlers spending even more. Eating and drinking establishments, lodging and camping businesses, retail sales and recreational service industries will see direct

• •

economic impacts from water trail users. Water Trails can help achieve goals of economic diversification and improved quality of life in rural communities. Water Trails foster a sense of community stewardship for the resource, and the success of retail and service businesses increase as the community builds a reputation as a paddling destination. Communities capture dollars from paddlers through overnight lodging, access to downtowns close to the Water Trail, and related tourist activities. Potential drawbacks for Water Trails can be mitigated if the community is supportive of tourism and there is a dedicated management partnership for the trail.

While Sheridan County and the cities and towns located along the proposed TRWT have many service providers catering to seasonal tourists, the majority of these businesses do not feature non-motorized water recreation services. Within the last ten years, there have been a handful of businesses that did include an element of waterbased recreation, but these businesses have closed for a variety of reasons. There are not currently any businesses that rent non-motorized watercraft at this time, nor any businesses that are able to answer floating questions for the Tongue River or

Goose Creek systems. As work begins towards achieving the desired TRWT, it is anticipated that the local business community will see a clear benefit that builds over a period of several years. Within a 5-year time period, it is highly likely that there would be non-motorized craft rentals, as well as the incorporation of more water-based recreation products offered in existing stores that cater to outdoor recreation. Ultimately, a formally recognized water trail, with 3-5 years of completed projects, will have an impact that filters through to all elements of the local and regional economy. While this assessment anticipates that locals will make up the majority of consistent water trail users, there will be positive economic impacts associated with the water trail related to both local and out of town water trail users.

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SECTION 3 Summary of Existing Waterway Conditions

Tongue River Characteristics The Tongue River basin comprises over 5,400 square miles across northern Wyoming and Southern Montana. With its headwaters in Wyoming’s Bighorn Mountains, the river travels 265 miles northeasterly to its confluence with the Yellowstone River in Miles City, Montana. The river’s name is traced back to the Cheyenne term “Vétanovéo’hé’e”, which means “Tongue River”. The river has experienced relatively little or no change since various tribes of Native Americans traveled its valley with the changing seasons. Within the proposed Tongue River Water Trail framework, the Tongue River comprises some 73 miles of navigable waterway with the majority (roughly 62 miles) located within Sheridan County, Wyoming and the remainder in Big Horn County, Montana, including the Tongue River and Tongue River Reservoir. Originating in the Bighorn Mountains, the river flows in an easterly direction, through the Mississippian age Madison Limestone, out of the Tongue River Canyon through progressively younger strata, ultimately reaching an area dominated by a thick layer of buff colored sandstone and silty clay, known as Tongue River Member of the Fort Union Formation. The Paleocene age Fort Union Formation also contains multiple coal seams of varying thickness, several of which are exposed adjacent to the Tongue River Water Trail.

Hydrology Gage stations operated by the US Geological Survey measure streamflows at a number of locations within the extent of the proposed Tongue River Water Trail. River flows fluctuate seasonally with spring runoff, typically peaking in late May between 1000 and 3000 cfs depending on snowpack and spring temperatures. Low flow typically occurs by mid-August when irrigation and lack of precipitation depletes flows to 30-100 cfs again, depending on weather conditions. Since 2005, average cfs flow on this section of the Tongue River is approximately 238 cfs. These figures are accessible online and are currently the only off-site means for assessing water conditions for paddling and boating. Major tributaries in Wyoming include the Little Tongue River, Wolf Creek, 5-mile Creek, Goose Creek, and Prairie Dog Creek.

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Tongue River Water Trail

To Miles City, Montana

MT WY

Montana Wyoming

Ranchester

Dayton 0

5 Miles

Sheridan

Map 1 Tongue River Water Trail Extent

10


SECTION 3

MONARCH, WY

DAYTON, WY

Summary of Existing Waterway Conditions

Figure 1. USGS River Gauge Data showing flow rates of the Tongue River at Dayton, Monarch, and Decker measurement sites for 2008, 2010, and 2012.

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SECTION 3 DECKER, MT

Summary of Existing Waterway Conditions

Figure 1 cont. USGS River Gauge Data showing flow rates of the Tongue River at Dayton, Monarch, and Decker in 2008, 2010, and 2012.

Physiography and Vegetation The Tongue River Canyon is representative of the larger Bighorn Mountains ecosystem, with ponderosa, lodgepole, and even spruce trees present at the lower, foothills elevation. As the river exits the steep, limestone canyon, it enters rolling, sagebrush hill and ridge country. This is where the first cottonwood galleries can be seen, which are nearly contiguous until the river’s confluence with the Yellowstone in Montana. Other typical vegetation for the prairie sections

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of the river include boxelder, hawthorn, dogwood, and wild plum. While Russian Olive exists from confluence to canyon, the area specific to the Water Trail has substantially less at this time, and there are multiple local eradication efforts underway to further reduce the presence of Russian Olive.

Montana border and connects with the Tongue River Reservoir. Once out of Tongue River Canyon, the river maintains a consistent, gradual gradient of roughly 25 ft/mile. The elevation of the Canyon is 4191’ while the Montana line and Tongue River Reservoir elevation is 3421’.

River Classification

Along this same route, the river gradually widens from roughly 20 feet across to nearly 500 feet across as it enters the Tongue River Reservoir. The depth of the river during normal flow varies widely

The river structure varies widely, from a crystalclear, pocket-water canyon to a meandering sediment-laden prairie stream as it crosses the


SECTION 3 Summary of Existing Waterway Conditions

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Figure 2. Tongue River elevations from Tongue River trailhead to Tongue River reservoir chart. (diagram not drawn to scale)

depending on stream channel, but ranges from 2-8 feet through the upper reaches with many deeper stretches and holes found along the lower reaches. The river changes from a cold-water fishery to warm-water fishery in the vicinity of Ranchester. Portions of the river are identified on the federal EPA 303(d) list of impaired waters exceeding permitted sedimentation and E. Coli bacteria levels. Clearly these impairments are undesirable from both an ecological standpoint as well as a

recreational perspective. Not only may there be a potential health risk associated with accidental ingestion of water, but there is also a adverse visual impact, as some recreationists may be hesitant to swim or even paddle in sediment-laden water. In addition, The Tongue River, Big Goose Creek, Little Goose Creek, and Goose Creek are designated by the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality as “Primary Contact Recreation” waterways, implying that they should be held to a higher standard to support and encourage this type

The keyhole arch at Tongue River Canyon trailhead. © Tim Doolin Photography.

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SECTION 3 Summary of Existing Waterway Conditions of continued and enhanced recreational use on public waters. While no formal dams exist on the Tongue River within the Water Trail reaches, there are 3 diversion structures present, as detailed in Section 6. The Tongue River Reservoir Dam is the eastern extent of the proposed Water Trail.

Goose Creek Characteristics Like the Tongue River, Little Goose Creek and Big Goose Creek also begin in the Bighorn Mountains, just south of the Tongue River’s headwaters in the Cloud Peak Wilderness. The two smaller creeks converge to form Goose Creek roughly 25 miles from the mountains near the heart of downtown Sheridan. Goose Creek flows another 13+/- miles to its confluence with the Tongue River near the former townsite of Acme.

A kayaker floats the Tongue River during a float trip led by Sheridan Community Land Trust in July 2013.

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Wyoming’s Tongue River and Goose Creeks’ basin are largely rural and agricultural in nature. The Tongue River flows through the towns of Dayton and Ranchester, as showcased at respective town parks. Little Goose Creek flows through the unincorporated town of Big Horn, while both Little Goose, Big Goose, and their convergence into Goose Creek flow through city limits of Sheridan. The entire length of the proposed Water Trail is located no more than 30 minutes from any of these communities, which combine to form a


SECTION 3 Summary of Existing Waterway Conditions

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reet t s rd opa e L -

8-

378

k par h t Sou

7 372

ose o g -

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flue con

3604

nce

To

uenc l f n o

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Figure 3. Goose Creek elevation chart from Leopard Street to Tongue River confluence. (diagram not drawn to scale)

“Micropolitan Statistical Area of 29,116”. (Source: Historical Decennial Census Population for Wyoming Counties, Cities, and Towns – Wyoming Department of State/U.S. Census Bureau) While historical population growth has ebbed and flowed with the demand for oil and gas development, it appears that slow and modest growth of 1-3% annually can be expected into the future. While upper sections of the Goose Creeks are in healthy condition, the lower stretches are plagued by high levels of E. coli and occasionally Cryptosporidium. In addition, numerous invasive species, including Russian Olive, are widespread in lower sections of stream. Aging irrigation-related

Looking downstream at Goose Creek from the 339 Bridge.

infrastructure presents significant hazards to recreationists, as does the miles of rusted rip-rap riverbanks. While no formal dams exist on the Goose Creek Water Trail reaches, there are three diversion structures and one drop structure present as detailed in Section 6.

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SECTION 3 Summary of Existing Waterway Conditions

Tongue River Water Trail and Private Property TRWT paddlers will be able to explore over 90 miles of beautiful water winding through the varied landscape of Sheridan County and into Montana. The majority of land ownership along the water trail’s length is private, and as such, it is one of the main goals of this assessment to promote respect for private property along the water trail to minimize potential disruptions and

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disturbance of the landscape and activities on these private lands. SCLT wants to continue to be well respected in the community for how we work cooperatively with landowners. While this water trail identifies opportunities to partner with private landowners to benefit the water trail’s development, SCLT has focused intently on existing public access sites and existing public lands from which to experience the beauty of the Tongue River and Goose Creek valleys.


SECTION 4 Summary of existing recreation infrastructure As earlier discussed, infrastructure for a federally-designated water trail typically involves access sites, day-use sites, facilities, and general water conditions of the water trail. For the development of this assessment, it was critical that we understood and were familiar with existing conditions for all reaches of the proposed water trail. To obtain that information, members of SCLT’s Recreation Work Group, as well as other community volunteers, traveled the 80.54+/- miles of the proposed Tongue River Water Trail during the spring of 2014 to inventory existing conditions. They primarily traveled by canoe and kayak, noting and photographing pertinent data, including river conditions, river features, existing launch and day-use sites, potential launch and day-use sites, hazards, bridges/ dams, hazards, and other natural, cultural, and recreational aspects related to the proposed TRWT. The following information summarizes the various inventories, including existing water access sites and potential water access sites, while noting related recreational features that may integrate with the proposed TRWT. *The full inventory (Appendix F) and detailed maps identifying these specific locations (Appendix A, B) are included in the Appendices.

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Fall colors along the Tongue River near the town of Dayton. Š Tim Doolin Photography


SECTION 4 Summary of Existing recreation infrastructure

Existing Water Access Sites and River Summaries – Tongue River Tongue River Canyon

This access location is on land owned by USFS and accessed via County Road 92 (Tongue Canyon Road). The location has a gravel parking area designed for roughly 15 vehicles, with additional room for on-road parking. Several informal tent camping locations exist, as well as a turn-around that accommodates campers or trailers. While there is no developed launch location, multiple informal locations currently suffice. The slope to the water’s edge is gentle, with river rock and boulders. River Summary The river between this launch site and the next developed public access point, Scott Bicentennial Park, is typically Class I and II. However, from April to July in a typical run-off season, this stretch can present Class II-IV challenges and should only be used during those times by advanced paddlers.

Scott Bicentennial Park

This public access site is on land owned by the

town of Dayton and is part of this well-used park in town limits. Access is provided from Highway 14 through Dayton and Broadway Avenue. The location is well developed, with large paved parking areas, as well as restroom facilities, playgrounds, ball fields, ball courts, and a trail system along the river. Camping is not currently allowed. No formal launch site has been developed, and the slope to the water’s edge is gentle, with gravel and grass. River Summary The river between this launch site and the next developed public access point, Connor Battlefield, is typically Class I. However, from April to July in a typical run-off season, this stretch can present Class II-III challenges, and can often experience channel-blocking debris and channel movements so should be avoided, or only used by advanced paddlers during those times. In addition, multiple fences along this stretch currently present hazards to paddlers of any ability.

Connor Battlefield State Historic Site This public access site is on land owned by the State of Wyoming and also functions as a public park for the town of Ranchester. Access is from Highway 14, then Gillette Street, which turns into Wolf Creek Road. There are 20 camping sites open May through September as well as vault toilets.

The location also has several small playgrounds and a small swinging bridge that connects the park to the town of Ranchester. While no formal launch site exists, there are multiple locations that suffice for easy put-in or take-out for smaller crafts. River Summary The river between this launch site and the next developed public access point, Kleenburn Recreation Area, is relatively gentle, with some limited Class I whitewater. During run-off, there may be hazards deposited along this stretch of river and, as always, it is best to attempt only post run-off. In addition, multiple fences along this stretch currently present hazards to paddlers of any ability.

Kleenburn Recreation Area

This public access site is on land owned by Sheridan County and is accessed off Interstate 90 via County Road 345. The park features roughly 1 mile of graveled hiking loops and a small lake for fishing and boating. There is no formal launch site, but a parking area near the river accommodates up to 12 vehicles and also features a vault toilet. River Summary The river between this launch site and the next developed public access point, Bureau of Land Management Welch Recreation Area, is relatively gentle, with limited Class I water.

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SECTION 4 Summary of existing recreation infrastructure Bureau of Land Management Welch Recreation Area

The Welch Recreation area comprises 1,537+/- acres of public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management’s Buffalo Field Office. Public access is accessed from Decker Highway, with access sites on the south side of the Tongue River west of the highway, as well as on the north side of the Tongue River to the east of the highway. The west access site features a looping parking area for roughly 14 vehicles. Historically, a port-a-potty and trash receptacle have been available at this site. The east access site provides parking for roughly 6 vehicles, with no other services. The Welch Recreation Area offers excellent, though informal, hiking opportunities west of the highway and both north and south of the Tongue River. SCLT is actively working to develop a trail system in this area, but in the meantime, a number of two-track roads located north of the river provide excellent hiking and biking options. While no camping is currently permitted at Welch, this is an opportunity that both the BLM and SCLT are discussing in relation to Water Trail infrastructure. River Summary The river between this launch site and the next developed public access point, Otter Road Bridge, is

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relatively gentle, with one mild Class I drop at River Mile 43.57. While there are multiple riprapped banks, none were found to present a hazard to boaters.

Privately Owned and Historically-Permitted Public Access Sites – Tongue River None.

Privately-Owned and Properly-Situated Potential New Access Sites – Tongue River Big Horn Coal Company

The Bighorn Coal Bridge #3 potential launch site location is in the vicinity of an existing bridge on lands owned by Ambre Energy North America Inc. and located at River Mile 33. Currently, Ambre grants access for watercraft launch, with advance notice required and signing and returning an indemnification document. Currently, access to the river at the bridge is extremely difficult and there are better locations located roughly 0.2 miles

The Tongue River at BLM Welch Recreation Area. © Tim Doolin Photography


SECTION 4 Summary of Existing recreation infrastructure downstream that could also be a new parking area on an un-named but paved road also on Big Horn Coal Company lands with access from Decker Road (WY 338). Any potential access arrangement, permanent or temporary, is at the sole discretion of the private landowner.

Pacific Power and Light Properties

Multiple properties owned along the Tongue River are owned by PP&L and leased for agriculture to several local landowners and ranchers. There may be an opportunity to work with Pacific Power and Light to determine potential access sites that would benefit their corporate image, using locations that would not negatively impact the needs of the lessees, or simply working with PP&L on some type of boater access agreement as both of the PP&L properties are well-situated for day-use sites. Any potential access arrangement, permanent or temporary, is at the sole discretion of the private landowner.

Town of Ranchester Wastewater Facility

The Town of Ranchester owns an 11+/- acre property located roughly 2 miles downstream

from Connor Battlefield public access site at River Mile 15.85. This would be an excellent location for a public access site, allowing for shorter float segments from Connor Battlefield, as well as down to Kleenburn Recreation Area. Any potential access arrangement, permanent or temporary, is at the sole discretion of the private landowner.

Cloud Peak Energy

Cloud Peak currently owns the western bank for roughly 4 river miles upstream of where the Tongue River enters Montana for the first time. The property begins roughly at River Mile 45.17, just 3.5 miles downstream from the BLM Welch Recreation Area public access site, and spans to River Mile 49, or 16 miles upstream from the Otter Road Bridge public access site. Cloud Peak currently allows access to the river for the purpose of paddling with a permission form that needs to be obtained in person from the on-site property manager. There may be an opportunity to streamline permission from Cloud Peak Energy, or potentially work out a longer-term arrangement with a developed public access site along this key stretch of the water trail. Any potential access arrangement, permanent or temporary, is at the sole discretion of the private landowner.

Publicly-Owned Potential New Water Access Sites – Tongue River State of Wyoming Lands

Along the proposed Water Trail, there are two sections of State Lands that intersect the Tongue River, with no State sections intersecting any of the Goose Creek stretches. The Acme State Lands section is located immediately downstream from the Kleenburn Recreation Area, and while it presents opportunities for floaters to stretch their legs or possibly explore on foot, there is no real value in developing new water access due to the excellent facilities currently provided at the Kleenburn Recreation Area. The second and final publicly-accessible State Lands parcel is located on the lower Tongue, is only accessible via the Tongue River, and constitutes 480-acres. This parcel would be ideal for developing into a day-use site and possibly even hiking trails to offer an additional recreation investment associated with the proposed water trail. State Lands currently prohibit camping, but this would be a very desirable location for a dispersed and undeveloped camping site for water trail users.

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SECTION 4 Summary of existing recreation infrastructure Sheridan County Right-Of-Way Easements

According to a recent opinion from the County Attorney’s Office, solicited specifically for inclusion in this Water Trail Assessment, “generally, the point where a county road crosses a stream can be used as an access point for the stream as long as there is no restriction on the use/scope/character of the County road.” “With regard to the specific roads…which are still classified as County roads (CR #71 (Halfway Lane / Bingham Road), CR #93 (Kooi Road), & CR #1239 (Higby North / Slater Creek Lane)), there are no restrictions on their use. Thus, accessing the Tongue River at the point of intersection with these county roads is not prohibited. However, physical access to the Tongue River at these points may be problematic where the road has a steep drop off, soft shoulder, etc. Also, parking will need to be addressed by Public Works/ Engineering/BOCC on a case by case basis as issues arise.” *SCLT’s request and the County’s formal response are included in Sheridan County Access Legal Questions and Answers (Appendix G).

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State of Montana Islands/HighWater Lines

At River Mile 51.68, the Tongue River enters Montana and water access laws change. In Montana, areas of high-water are considered public ownership, with the right of public access below the high-water mark. There are multiple islands and peninsulas along this section of the Tongue River that could be further examined for potential, undeveloped, day-use sites. In addition, there may be several sights worth identifying for dispersed camping within the high-water area, which may provide an easier camping solution for this section of the water trail vs. working through the Wyoming State Land Board. If day-use or dispersed camping were to be of interest in development of the water trail, conversations with adjacent landowners, as well as the appropriate Montana agency, should be initiated well in advance of any proposed change. * Montana Water Access Law is included in Access Legal Questions and Answers (Appendix G).

Tongue River Reservoir

According to Montana State Parks, the impounded Tongue River provides a 12-mile long reservoir set in the scenic red shale and juniper canyons and open prairies of southeastern Montana. Boating and other water sports are popular here, and the park boasts excellent warm-water fishing. The

lakefront of Tongue River Reservoir is mostly private, with State Park lands totaling 640 acres along the western shore of the lake. The State Park features 73 reserveable campsites and 83 available on a first-come, first-served basis. In addition, the park features vault toilets, boat rental, public phone, groceries, LP gas refill, fire rings, picnic tables, trash cans, and drinking water between 5/30 and 9/1.

Existing Access Sites and River Summaries – Goose Creeks Little Goose Creek – South Park

South Park is a 40+/- acre park owned by the City of Sheridan and situated off Brundage Lane and South Sheridan Avenue within City Limits. The Park features roughly .70 miles of concrete pathway, and there are plans to develop additional natural-surface trails in the vicinity. Little Goose Creek flows south to north through the park, and has recently had stream enhancements completed, which benefit the riparian ecosystem as well as adjacent landowners and water recreationists. For the purposes of the Water Trail, South Park is the beginning of navigable water on Little Goose Creek. South Park features two parking areas, one


SECTION 4 Summary of Existing recreation infrastructure is relatively gentle and meandering with some limited Class I water. During run-off, there may be hazards spanning this stretch of creek, and as always, it is best to attempt a float only post runoff and after scouting this section on foot via the City’s Pathway system. In addition, there are two existing fences along this stretch which present minor hazards to floaters as they are more or less boater-friendly.

Little Goose Creek – Sheltered Acres Park

Sheltered Acres Park is located at LG Creek Mile 0.89, and while it is not ideally situated for accessing the water, it bears mentioning as an excellent day-use site for anyone floating Little Goose Creek. The Park is small at just 5.3+/- acres, but features a playground, tennis court, picnic shelter, and Frisbee golf course. Pathway along Little Goose Creek. Photo courtesy of Chuck Carbert, Parks Division Manager.

accessed from Brundage Lane and the other from South Sheridan Avenue. The parking area accessed from Brundage Lane offers parking for roughly 20 vehicles and presents the most ideal location for a launch site. Many boaters already use this area for a put-in. The currently-used launch site is located

immediately to the east of the south parking area and presents a nearly flat bank to the water’s edge. Creek Summary The creek between this launch site and the next public access point, Sheltered Acres Park,

Creek Summary The creek between this launch site and the next public access point, Washington Park, is one long and gentle riffle. During run-off, there may be hazards encountered along this stretch of creek, and as always, it is best to attempt a float only post run-off and after scouting this section on foot via the City’s Pathway system. No fencing hazards are present on this stretch.

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SECTION 4 Summary of existing recreation infrastructure Little Goose Creek - Washington Park

Washington Park is 8+/- acres in size and boasts the highest number of features of any City Park along the proposed Water Trail. Washington Park’s infrastructure includes parking for roughly 20 vehicles, restrooms, non-fee camping, multiple picnic shelters, playground equipment, trash and recycling facilities, and potable water access. Unfortunately, the majority of the Park has relatively steep banks to access the creek, but its excellent central location to city services and multiple amenities necessitates improved access to the creek as the water trail moves forward. Creek Summary The creek between this launch site and the next public access point, Little/Big Goose Creek Confluence, continues as one long and gentle riffle. At LG Creek Mile 3.04, Little Goose Creek becomes bounded on each bank by a roughly 10-foot high vertical concrete wall. During run-off, there may be hazards encountered along this stretch of creek, and as always, it is best to attempt a float only post run-off and after scouting this section on foot via the City’s Pathway system. No fencing hazards are present on this stretch. The concrete-lined section of Little Goose becomes quite shallow during

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Big Goose Creek during peak run-off viewed from the Kendrick Park pathway bridge.

low water seasons, and can present challenges to recreationists depending on the size and draft of their craft.

Little Goose Creek and Big Goose Creek Confluence

With no formal City Park name, “Confluence Park” is just 1+/- acres in size and currently the


SECTION 4 Summary of Existing recreation infrastructure site of a major realignment project for the Lewis Street Bridge. While there are no current plans for parking on the site, parking is available nearby at the YMCA and CASA properties. The best launch site at this location is on the south bank of the confluence, with a moderately steep bank that leads down to level gravel areas with plenty of room for multiple watercraft.

room for cars parking along Leopard Street itself, which does not experience any consistent traffic in this area. There is a small trail leading to a relatively flat access site to the creek, though the access site presents some difficulty to boaters due to the overgrown vegetation and relatively quick current which prevents proper scouting before launch.

Creek Summary The creek between this launch site and the next public access point, Thorne Rider Park, slows a bit and becomes wider, roughly 30’ in most locations. Several bridges are encountered en-route to the next access site, though none present any real hazard to even beginning paddlers. During runoff, there may be hazards encountered along this stretch of creek, so it is best to attempt a float only post run-off and after scouting this section on foot via the City’s Pathway system. No fencing hazards are present on this stretch.

Creek Summary The creek between this launch site and the next public access point, South Elk Street Park, is the most difficult and technical stretch for the extended Goose Creek sections of the proposed Water Trail. The top 2 creek miles are strewn with intermittent riprap along both north and south banks, with much of the riprap presenting routine and potentially significant hazards to boaters regardless of the water levels. In addition to riprap, the multiple cottonwood and willow trees that line this stretch of creek present real hazards to floaters during higher flows. At BG Creek Mile 0.73, there is an existing diversion structure that is hazardous at low to moderate flow levels. Finally, each year several of these larger trees fall across the creek, completely or partially obstructing watercraft and presenting significant hazards for inexperienced paddlers. During run-off, this stretch should be avoided by paddlers of any experience level. Even during low to moderate flows, this stretch is not

Big Goose Creek Leopard Street

This City-owned Right-of-Way measures 65’ wide and currently serves as a seldom-used boater access. Access to this site has no outlet to the west, where Leopard Street ends and the ROW continues through Big Goose Creek across to Westview Drive on the west bank. There is room for parking roughly 3 vehicles within the ROW, and additional

appropriate for anything but experienced paddlers in smaller craft. It should not be recommended for passengers of any age or ability either.

South Elk Street Park

This small, linear City property is currently without formal title, and has been identified with South Elk Street for the purposes of this assessment. Parking is available on-street along West Works Street. There are no facilities associated with this City property. There are currently multiple locations to access the creek for launching, both the north and south banks with access provided to the south via the existing pedestrian bridge. Creek Summary The creek between this launch site and the next public access point, Kendrick Park, is still relatively narrow but relatively easy during low and moderate stream flow. While there are banks with metal riprap and other refuse along this section, none presents any real threat to boaters. One pedestrian bridge is encountered at BG Creek Mile 3.16 and the bridge at Loucks Street should be scouted immediately following run-off to be sure that it presents no hazard. During run-off, this stretch should similarly be avoided by paddlers regardless of skill and ability due to the high potential for new obstructions being deposited during this time.

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SECTION 4 Summary of existing recreation infrastructure Kendrick Park

Kendrick Park is the crown jewel of the Sheridan Park system and encompasses riparian and ridgeline acres. It also connects to Kendrick Mansion State Historic Site. The Park is also the site of the existing outdoor swimming pool, Sheridan County Recreation District’s ice cream stand, and the City’s only band shell, which hosts concerts throughout the spring, summer and fall months. Kendrick Park also features two restroom facilities, multiple parking areas, five covered picnic shelters of various size, tennis and basketball courts, a bison and elk pasture, and horseshoe pits. There are currently multiple locations with easy access to the creek for launching, with access from both the Badger Street and Swan Street entrances. If more formal access sites were developed on Kendrick Park’s South and North ends, it would allow for a .40 mile float experience through water ideal for canoes, kayaks, and inner tubes. Creek Summary The creek between this launch site and the next public access point, Little/Big Goose Confluence, remains relatively narrow but primarily gentle or Class I water. As one nears the Lewis Street Bridge, all but the most experienced boaters should

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plan to portage the associated drop structure beginning at BG Creek Mile 4.03 with a portage of 500’ available on the City’s pathway system. If experienced paddlers choose to float the multiple drop structures, scouting is a must, as this is the single location along the proposed water trail where multiple drownings have occurred in recent years, completely attributed to the water hydraulics of the man-made drop structure.

Goose Creek - Thorne Rider Park

Thorne Rider Park primarily functions for organized recreation, with a number of baseball fields, football fields, tennis courts, skateboard park, and ample event parking. In addition, the park features over a mile of City pathway as well as naturally surfaced nature trails on the west side of Goose Creek. While there are no formal launch sites identified in the park, there are any number of acceptable locations all within close proximity to parking and accessed off of West 11th Street, Spaulding Street, or West 14th Street. The most easily approachable access site is located on the west side of Goose Creek at the north end of the parking area, accessed from West 11th Street. Creek Summary The creek between this launch site and the next public access point, South Park Canfield Street, becomes wider and relatively shallow, remaining

primarily gentle or Class I water outside of the run-off season. One hazard worth noting is a single concrete diversion structure at Creek Mile 1.71, which should be portaged roughly 50’ on the east bank. Experienced boaters may prefer to float the structure, but the mix of concrete and metal is not recommended for any level of experience any time of the year. There are a number of bridges associated with city streets that do not present any hazard to even beginning paddlers. From Fort Road to Canfield Street, paddlers should be extremely cautious as many large trees routinely obstruct and block sections of the stream, presenting hazards to boaters of any skill level.

Goose Creek – North Park Canfield Street

North Park is the City of Sheridan’s newest park, obtained in 2010 and measuring roughly 40+/- acres. The park features 1 miles of looping concrete City pathways and at the time of this assessment is the northernmost terminus of the City’s growing pathway system. There are two vehicular access sites to the park, with a northern parking area located off Decker Road and a southern parking area accessed via Canfield Street from North Main Street. For the purposes of water access, the Canfield Street parking area is the closest and more practical, with just 300 feet to Goose Creek with parking for roughly 5 vehicles.


SECTION 4 Summary of Existing recreation infrastructure Multiple access sites are available from Canfield Street, both on the east and west sides of Goose Creek.

levels. While no fences were encountered during our 2014 inventory, evidence of previous fencing exists and again caution is urged.

Creek Summary The creek between this launch site and the next private but historically-permitted access point, Goose Creek Acme Culverts, is an extremely long stretch with nearly 12 Creek Miles that wind and meander along the Decker Highway. In the words of the experienced paddlers that inventoried this section, “this segment of Goose Creek is a mess”. This is largely due to the combination of Industrial, Agricultural, and Rural Residential development along this stretch, where riprap is as extensive as it is varied, with “all varieties” of rubbish having been incorporated historically to influence the creek’s path.

Privately Owned and Historically-Permitted Public Access Sites – Goose Creeks

Hazards worth noting for this section include multiple downed trees, primarily through Creek Miles 2.8-9.37. In addition, the historic bridge to the former townsite of Dietz (Creek Mile 7.09) requires portaging during above average flows as it would present a significant hazard to floaters during this time. This stretch is currently recommended for experienced paddlers only, and extreme caution should be used by even experienced paddlers post-run-off. This stretch, like all others, should be avoided during run-off

Big Horn Coal Company – Acme Culverts

This existing and historic public launch location is controlled by Ambre Energy North America Inc. by Ambre Energy Company. They currently allow the public access to the site and associated use. The slope to the water is steep with large rocks, which make it difficult footing to access Goose Creek. This would be an excellent site for developing a long-term access agreement for the public, as well as an ideal site for improving the launch site to allow for easier access to the water. Currently, there is no formal parking area, but space for roughly 6 vehicles either in the loop or on the County-owned Acme Road. Any potential access arrangement, permanent or temporary, is at the discretion of the private landowner.

SCLT volunteer, Jim Sorenson, prepares to launch from the Goose Creek North Park access site.

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SECTION 4 Summary of existing recreation infrastructure

Privately-Owned and Properly-Situated Potential New Water Access Sites – Goose Creeks

water trail users more options, while adding to the overall safety of this stretch of Goose Creek. Specifically, Rice and Sons property located off Higby Road and Wild Hollow Road at Creek Miles 3.28 and 4.66 respectively are well situated for potential public access or day use sites.

Padlock Ranch – Highway 339

Any potential access arrangement, permanent or temporary, is at the sole discretion of the private landowner.

This potential access site is owned by the Padlock Ranch and situated at the 339 Bridge crossing on Goose Creek. The location is an ideal setting for some form of public access. It gives floaters a short float option downstream to Goose Creek Culverts, while providing a take-out option to anyone launching from the South Park vicinity. The bank along the proposed access site allows for multiple boat launches and additional minor improvements would further enhance this site’s accessibility, both from Highway 339 and Goose Creek. Any potential access arrangement, permanent or temporary, is at the discretion of the private landowner.

Rice and Sons - North of I-90

Rice and Sons owns several large tracts of private property along Goose Creek north of Sheridan City Limits. This is another section of the proposed water trail that could greatly benefit from additional public access sites to give

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KOA Campground

The KOA Campground, located at Creek Mile 2.8, represents a logical and economical opportunity to use existing infrastructure along the proposed water trail to expand opportunities for its paddlers. There may be an opportunity to work with the landowner and/or business operator to identify a location for a day-use or public access site that would allow water trail users to camp along this upper section of the water trail or begin their trip at the KOA Campground site. Any potential access arrangement, permanent or temporary, is at the sole discretion of the private landowner.

Westview Senior Home

The Westview Senior home is a privately owned property immediately adjacent to the Leopard

Paddlers head downstream on Goose Creek in the 339 Bridge vicinity.


SECTION 4 Summary of Existing recreation infrastructure Street ROW and associated with Creek Mile 0 of the Big Goose Creek stretch of the proposed water trail. While there is no currently permitted public access to the property for purposes of creek access, the property spans nearly 600 feet of the west bank and a possible agreement, legal access, or similar type of permission may be of interest to the property owner. The property has ample parking, which seems little-used closest to the creek. The potential of a small ADA-accessible walkway from the parking area to a potential access site may be of interest to discuss.

access opportunities, this assessment does not recommend developing every possible option, but rather, the best options that strike a balance between water trail users and vicinity land owners. To this purpose, SCLT may rely heavily upon City of Sheridan planning documents and planning staff, as well as Sheridan County planning documents and planning staff, to determine which access sites might be best for further development. It’s also worth noting that near downtown, much of the City’s existing pathways lend themselves to accessing launch sites along this linear network.

Any potential access arrangement, permanent or temporary, is at the sole discretion of the private landowner.

City of Sheridan – NB Avenue South City of Sheridan – West Harrison Street (Alternative NB South) City of Sheridan – NB Avenue Central City of Sheridan – NB Avenue North City of Sheridan – Marten Street West City of Sheridan Beckton Ave West City of Sheridan – Kendrick Park South City of Sheridan - Kendrick Park North (Alternative YMCA West Parking) City of Sheridan - Monte Vista City of Sheridan - South Badger Street City of Sheridan - West Burkitt Street City of Sheridan - West 6th Street City of Sheridan – West 7th Street City of Sheridan - Fort Road Sheridan County - Centennial Lane

Publicly-Owned Potential New Water Access Sites – Goose Creeks Public Property and ROW’s on Big Goose Creek

As Big Goose Creek winds its way into Sheridan City Limits, there are multiple, well situated sites that hold potential for the creation of additional access sites for water trail users. Each of these sites should be examined on their own unique merits and while they may all represent excellent

Public Property and ROW’s on Little Goose Creek

As Little Goose Creek flows through Sheridan City Limits to its confluence with Big Goose Creek, there are multiple, well situated sites that hold potential for the creation of additional access sites for water trail users if the need arises. Each of these sites should be examined on their own unique merits, and while they may all represent excellent access opportunities, this assessment does not recommend developing every possible option, but rather, the best options that strike a balance between water trail users and vicinity land owners. To this purpose, SCLT may rely heavily upon City of Sheridan planning documents and planning staff to determine which access sites might be best for further development. It’s also worth noting that near downtown, much of the City’s existing pathways lend themselves to accessing launch sites along this linear network. City of Sheridan – South Main Street City of Sheridan – Avoca Avenue City of Sheridan – East College Avenue City of Sheridan – King Street City of Sheridan – Olive Street City of Sheridan – East Burkitt Street City of Sheridan – East Loucks Street City of Sheridan – North Sheridan Avenue Vicinity

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SECTION 5 community engagement and impact

TRWT Vision Statement Throughout the development of this assessment, SCLT’s Recreation Work Group (RWG) served to help gather information, understand local concerns and issues, and review created content for accuracy. SCLT’s RWG met regularly, usually every 2 months, during the course of the assessment’s development. During this time, the RWG would often have Gary Weiner of the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program join to participate and offer guidance. Through this process, the RWG arrived at the following vision statement for a Tongue River Water Trail, which in turn created a framework for guiding the overall assessment. We envision a Tongue River Water Trail that:

Offers easy and safe access for a diverse range of non-motorized recreational uses, cultivating a healthy and active community and providing an attractive recreational amenity for local and regional use. Traverses and interprets the mature cottonwood riparian forests and aquatic habitats of a high prairie stream environment. Provides a setting where community members, ranchers, industry, land management agencies, educators and students can actively engage in lifelong learning about natural processes, healthy ecosystem functions and innovative natural resource management. Enhances and provides opportunities for local economic development. Is maintained in partnership among stakeholders to sustain the trail’s multiple community benefits, while honoring its historic uses.

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SECTION 5 community engagement and impact

2014 Online Boater Survey Summary A critical component of public outreach was an online community survey which solicited nearly 150 responses from recreationists familiar with floating stretches of the Tongue River watershed. This helped gather additional local knowledge about the river, and confirmed issues and opportunities relate to the establishment of a water trail.

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SECTION 5 community engagement and impact An internet-based survey utilizing the Survey Monkey platform was conducted between April 13 and June 13 of 2014 to learn more about existing boater use and future interest regarding the proposed water trail. SCLT invited people of all ages to participant, conducting outreach through a variety of avenues including: articles in The Sheridan Press, articles and radio features on Sheridan Media, advertising on Facebook, posting on SCLT’s Facebook page, multiple SCLT newsletter articles, emails to our 1000+ listserv, emails to local recreation clubs, and 3rd Thursday Festival outreach. This outreach resulted in 146 respondents across a wide spectrum of ages, answering 23 questions specific to current and potential waterway recreation. * The full summary of survey responses is provided in Appendix I. Highlights from this survey lend strong support to the development of the Tongue River Water Trail: • • •

Roughly half (49.7%) of the respondents had over 5 years of paddling experience. Roughly 65% percent of respondents identified their typical float time as less than a full day. The majority of respondents were from the City of Sheridan (70%), with multiple other respondents from Dayton, Story, Big Horn, and Ranchester and just 7.6% of responses coming from outside of Sheridan County. The primary recreation use identified by participants was evenly split between canoes (40.4%) and kayaks (39.7%). OR 80% of respondents boated local waterways using

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The Sinclair family deftly navigates a section of Goose Creek.

predominantly canoes and/or kayaks. The most frequently paddled stretch along the proposed water trail was the Acme Townsite to Welch Property area with nearly 60% paddling that stretch with varying consistency. 86% of respondents cited scenery as the best part of the floating experience, with wildlife viewing (64%) and solitude (51%)

• •

close behind. 69% of respondents would use a real-time water conditions website for recreation planning on the waterways. To improve the boating experience, over 50% of respondents agreed that improvements to existing access sites, additional access sites, stream hazard removal, and general floating information


SECTION 5 community engagement and impact (access, length, duration) would greatly improve the overall float experience on the proposed water trail.

Local and Regional Partners

While there are no organized user groups directly connected to the Tongue River watershed at this time, there are a number associated with natural resources, outdoor recreation, and tourism active in the community. Many of these entities could be likely partners for many of the projects to create the necessary infrastructure for the Tongue River Water Trail. These potential partners include: Sheridan County Parks and Recreation Board, City of Sheridan, Town of Dayton, Town of Ranchester, Sheridan County YMCA, Wyoming Game and Fish, Sheridan County Recreation District, Sheridan College Learn Outdoor’s Program, The Nature Conservancy of Wyoming, Sheridan County Conservation District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Sheridan County Weed and Pest, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Trout Unlimited, Goose Creeks Initiative, Joey’s Fly Fishing Foundation, Wyoming DEQ-Abandoned Mine Lands Division, Wyoming DEQ-Water Quality Division, Wyoming State Engineer’s Office, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, Audubon Society, Science Kids, and more. Within Section 6, Strategies and Implementation Schedule, the assessment calls out

many of these entities for specific research partnerships and project engagement potential. SCLT looks forward to working with any of these entities in accomplishing the recommendations laid out in this assessment. For the development of this assessment, SCLT reached out to many of the participants involved with these various groups, primarily through our online boater survey. In addition, planning documents which detail additional feedback from the community, with many supporters from these groups, were examined to determine the interest for creating a Tongue River Water Trail.

Paddlers enjoy a calmer section of the Tongue River.

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SECTION 6 Strategies and implementation schedule A water trail for the Tongue River and associated navigable tributaries is not only feasible, but well-supported by local, regional, and nationwide planning documents. More importantly, there is strong existing and potential boater interest. The larger framework of existing and potential public access sites can be developed to create the necessary infrastructure for a formally recognized water trail that is safe and offers a rewarding experience for paddlers of all abilities, while benefiting the region economically. In general, the following strategy themes and associated narratives are comprehensive of what it will take to create the infrastructure necessary for realizing the complete vision for the TRWT and ultimately pursuing a formal water trail designation.

Strategies - Hazard Mitigation Hazard mitigation is probably the most critical measure to improve the TRWT because there are simply too many life-threatening hazards that boaters currently encounter. These range from historic riprap to annually maintained fences, but are typically man-made. Multiple strategies should be developed to work to remove or otherwise legally mitigate these hazards so that boaters are able to experience increased safety and make additional sections accesible to beginning paddlers.

Strategies - Recreation Amenities and Trail Development Immediately behind hazard mitigation is a need to develop additional access sites or otherwise streamline public access for the purposes of making the TRWT more conducive for varying skill levels and recreation interests. In addition, this includes day-use sites possibly accessed only from the water,

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where boaters can get out, stretch their legs, enjoy a snack or rest, and continue on their way with minimal impacts.

Strategies - Signage, Information, Safety, and Private Property Many people who currently do not recreate on area streams and rivers site a lack of information regarding conditions, hazards, public access sites, shuttle routes, float distances, and float times as reasons for avoiding the existing resources. This assessment has compiled much of that information and a clear opportunity exists now to create a unique and visually attractive brand for the Tongue River Water Trail (TRWT). This includes a logo and consistent design formats so that the TRWT becomes a trusted source of information. Methods to share the information should include uniform signage for the TRWT for access and wayfinding signs along the waterways. Signage could also interpret other culturally relevant themes in the vicinity of the water trail. In addition, a website that consolidates and shares live water conditions, access locations and other critical float information and allows users to add and respond to comments would create a safety forum for anyone interested in floating the trail. This website would be an opportunity to present the TRWT to potential users and should be managed with marketing and promotion in mind. Public property will be identified on any relevant materials, such as launch site kiosks and hard copy or digital water trail maps. These materials will be designed to minimize interaction between private land and water trail users. As work progresses toward achieving a federally-designated water trail, SCLT will work closely with interested landowners to provide appropriate postings and signage along key sections. In addition, SCLT will implement a


SECTION 6 management strategy with private property owners needs in mind, utilizing strong messages to promote respect for privately owned property featured prominently on any official water trail documents meant for distribution to water trail users.

Wayfinding design template. ( Appendix I)

Strategies and implementation schedule

Strategies - Marketing and Promotion

Access site kiosk design template. (Appendix I)

Once the necessary recreational infrastructure is completed (hazards mitigated, needed access sites created etc.) the businesses and communities along the water trail should make a collaborative effort to market the newly-created recreational resource. This could include developing hard-copy recreation maps for the TRWT that also promote best practices, stewardship, and leaveno-trace principles, with a variety of educational content. Marketing could identify and recommend specific TRWT trips, mixing in some interaction with services encountered in communities along the TRWT or in its vicinity. Many communities along recreationally-used waterways create some type of annual festival or event, equal parts conservation, recreation, and fundraising for

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SECTION 6 Strategies and implementation schedule improvement projects, which might be something to further contemplate as the TRWT develops.

Strategies - Community Education and Programming The initial vision of this assessment identified a strong desire to forge lasting and dynamic partnerships with local recreation groups and outdoor educators in order to build a community of water trail stewards. The TRWT cannot thrive if it is solely the effort of SCLT. It will need credible community entities and organizations willing to add value through their respective missions. To this end, we look forward to creating new partnerships specific to the TRWT and urge those in the community to approach us with ideas and strategies that will make the TRWT a community owned and managed resource.

Strategies - Economic Development

In general, there should be community support for local recreational businesses, outfitters and entrepreneurs. This includes businesses like bed and breakfasts, campgrounds, boat rentals, guide services, heritage tours, shuttle services and more. In addition, there could be specific project opportunities to partner with entities like Forward Sheridan or the Wyoming Business Council in the

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Screenshot of SCLT’s recreation map highlighting several existing boater recreation sites. www.sheridanclt.org


SECTION 6 Strategies and implementation schedule creation of new service businesses, or expansion of existing businesses as tied to the local recreation economy. Water trails around the country have added tangible economic benefits to their communities and we want the TRWT to similarly diversify our tourism economy and benefit local businesses.

Implementation Schedule The following priorities and implementation schedule are provided by the Sheridan Community Land Trust for consideration only and do not represent the policy of any public agency or any other private or public organization. They are organized to align with the above strategies, with the goal to provide a high quality and safe experience for local and destination paddlers, while keeping in mind relationships with private landowners and interactions with the regional business community. The implementation component to the TRWT Assessment charts a course for eventual TRWT formal designation. While boater opportunities currently exist within the proposed TRWT, the formal “Water Trail� product and designation will require focused, long-term investments for the next 3+ year period.

Sunrise on the lower Tongue River. Š Tim Doolin Photography

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SECTION 6 Strategies and implementation schedule The implementation of the overall strategic plan will depend on a number of external factors, including the stability and availability of public and private funding sources, consistent leadership, and the enthusiasm and support of regional partners, as well as the local community. In general, all projects included under each “Phase” represent a varying mix of contract work, volunteer contributions, and in-kind participation by local governmental entities and other partners. Funding for these proposed projects is equally varied, with a heavy focus on grant opportunities, private, national, and regional foundations, and individual private support. SCLT has developed an extensive list of vetted granting entities that we think will be interested in supporting the development of the TRWT. Similarly, SCLT has built a solid rapport with many in the community who we hope will be naturally inclined to privately contribute in order to accomplish the vision for a TRWT.

Phase 1: Our goal is to complete a wide variety of projects during this

initial phase to give local communities and potential funders a clear idea of the overall vision of the water trail and the beneficial impact of small-scale projects, while sharing more about the potential benefits associated with a formally-designated water trail.

Phase 2: The goal within this phase will be to add significant value to the water trail by creating additional access sites, as well as developing a network of overnight camping opportunities to create a multi-day route along the proposed water route. Phase 3: The main goal for this phase will be to tighten up the overall branding and quality of the infrastructure related to the proposed water

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trail, and ultimately, to pursue formal water trail designation for appropriate recognition and labeling.

Future: Once formal water trail designation has been attained, there will be consistent annual reviews for the total critical infrastructure needed to safely support and maintain a well-developed water trail which will require a consistent management strategy once in place. In addition, the rivers and streams included in the proposed TRWT will continue to move and change through time, which will routinely require attention to maintain the developed TRWT. Furthermore, throughout every proposed Phase, opportunities within the planning and policy fields may present themselves, and this assessment encourages constant engagement within this arena for identifying innovative ways to add value to the TRWT. River Reach 1: River Miles 0 to 5.24 Tongue River Canyon to Scott Bicentennial Park in Dayton Recommended Implementation Actions

Phase I • Outreach with landowners about the TRWT concept. • Seasonal trash pickup and hazard identification. • Install Water Trail Informational Signage and Hazard Signage. (Approaching take-out, approaching hazard, campsite, etc) Phase II • Install wayfinding signage associated with Canyon Access Point. • Install Kiosk signage associated with Canyon Access Point. • Install wayfinding signage associated with Scott Bicentennial Park Access Point.


SECTION 6 Strategies and implementation schedule • • • • •

Install Kiosk signage associated with Scott Bicentennial Park Access Point. Investigate Cultural Signage opportunities for Scott Park Access Point. Seasonal hazard clearance. Investigate opportunities with landowners along the river for potential day-use sites. Install cultural signage for Scott Park Access Point.

Phase III • Work with town of Dayton to create an integration to Main Street from the Scott Park Access Site. Future • Work with the town of Dayton to create an option for river-accessible camping in the park.

River Reach 2: River Miles 5.24 to 9.15 Scott Bicentennial Park in Dayton to Halfway Lane Recommended Implementation Actions

Phase I • Outreach with landowners about the TRWT concept. • Seasonal trash pickup and hazard identification. • Install Water Trail Informational Signage

and Hazard Signage (Approaching take-out, approaching hazard, campsite, etc). Create and offer boater-friendly fencing match funds to landowners, or signage with portage permissions.

Phase II • Confirm parking and access details with Sheridan County Public Works Department at Halfway Lane. • Install wayfinding signage associated with Halfway Lane Access Point. • Install Kiosk signage associated with Halfway Lane Access Point. • Seasonal trash pickup and hazard identification. Phase III • Investigate opportunities with landowners along the river for potential day-use sites. Future • Research opportunities for cultural signage along this stretch.

River Reach 3: River Miles 9.15 to 13.43 Halfway Lane to Connor Battlefield State Park Recommended Implementation Actions Phase I

An eagle nest overlooks the Tongue River.

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SECTION 6 Strategies and implementation schedule • • • •

Outreach with landowners about the TRWT concept. Seasonal trash pickup and hazard identification. Install Water Trail Informational Signage and Hazard Signage (Approaching take-out, approaching hazard, campsite, etc). Create and offer boater-friendly fencing match funds to landowners, or signage with portage permissions.

Phase II • Investigate opportunities to improve the ease of access at Halfway Lane. • Coordinate early on with State Parks and Historic Sites in Cheyenne. • Install wayfinding signage associated with Connor Battlefield Access Point. • Install Kiosk signage associated with Connor Battlefield Access Point. • Seasonal hazard clearance. • Investigate opportunities with the town of Ranchester for improved connection between Connor Battlefield and the downtown area. Phase III • Investigate opportunities with landowners along the river for potential day-use sites. Future

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Research opportunities to engage with the State for cultural signage at the Connor Battlefield site.

River Reach 4: River Miles 13.43 to 22.83 Connor Battlefield State Park to Kooi Road Recommended Implementation Actions

Phase I • Outreach with landowners about the TRWT concept. • Seasonal trash pickup and hazard identification. • Install Water Trail Informational Signage and Hazard Signage (Approaching take-out, approaching hazard, campsite, etc). • Create and offer boater-friendly fencing match funds to landowners, or signage with portage permissions. Phase II • Investigate opportunities to improve the ease of access at Kooi Road. • Investigate opportunities with the town of Ranchester for and access site using their wastewater treatment property. • Seasonal hazard clearance. Phase III

Investigate opportunities with landowners along the river for potential day-use sites.

Future • Research opportunities for cultural signage along this stretch.

River Reach 5 – River Miles 22.83 to 29.22 Kooi Road to Kleenburn Recreation Area Recommended Implementation Actions

Phase I • Outreach with landowners about the TRWT concept. • Seasonal trash pickup and hazard identification. • Install Water Trail Informational Signage and Hazard Signage (Approaching take-out, approaching hazard, campsite, etc). • Create and offer boater-friendly fencing match funds to landowners, or signage with portage permissions. Phase II • Install wayfinding signage associated with Kleenburn Recreation Area Access Point. • Install Kiosk signage associated with Kleenburn Recreation Area Access Point. • Seasonal trash pickup and hazard


SECTION 6 Strategies and implementation schedule

identification. Investigate opportunities with the County Recreation Board to allow river-accessible camping options.

Phase III • Investigate opportunities with landowners along the river for potential day-use sites. Future • Research opportunities for cultural signage along this stretch.

River Reach 6: River Miles 29.22 to 33.00 Kleenburn Recreation Area to Bighorn Mine Bridge #3 Recommended Implementation Actions

Sunset at Connor Battlefield State Park. © Tim Doolin Photography

Phase I • Outreach with landowners about the TRWT concept. • Seasonal trash pickup and hazard identification. • Install Water Trail Informational Signage and Hazard Signage (Approaching take-out, approaching hazard, campsite, etc). • Create and offer boater-friendly fencing match funds to landowners, or signage with portage permissions. • Investigate streamlined access opportunities

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SECTION 6 Strategies and implementation schedule

with Ambre Energy in the vicinity of Bighorn Mine Bridge #3. Remove or mitigate the hazards of old bridge in the river at Acme power plant structure.

Phase II • Seasonal hazard clearance. • Design and construct Bighorn Mine Bridge #3 Access Point. • Install wayfinding signage associated with Bighorn Mine Bridge #3 Access Point. • Install Kiosk signage associated with Bighorn Mine Bridge #3 Access Point. Phase III • Investigate opportunities with landowners along the river for potential day-use sites. Future • Investigate options for removing and replacing historic riprap of mine tires and car bodies along this stretch. • Examine options for replacing or altering Power Plant diversion for a safer boat passage. • Research opportunities for educational signage along this stretch.

River Reach 7: River Miles 33.00 to 41.67 Upstream view on Goose Creek near the Hwy 339 Bridge.

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SECTION 6 Strategies and implementation schedule Bighorn Mine Bridge #3 to BLM Welch Recreation Area

Recommended Implementation Actions Phase I • Outreach with landowners about the TRWT concept. • Seasonal trash pickup and hazard identification. • Install Water Trail Informational Signage and Hazard Signage (Approaching take-out, approaching hazard, campsite, etc). • Create and offer boater-friendly fencing match funds to landowners, or signage with portage permissions. • Work with BLM to complete a formal recreation plan for the entire Welch Recreation Area property. Phase II • Install wayfinding signage associated with Welch Recreation Area West Access Point. • Install Kiosk signage associated with Welch Recreation Area West Access Point. • Install Water Trail Informational Signage and Hazard Signage (Approach take-out, approaching hazard, campsite, etc). • Seasonal hazard clearance. • Submit a formal proposal for dispersed seasonal camping on the BLM property limited to water trail access.

Phase III • Investigate opportunities with landowners along the river for potential day-use sites. • Work with the BLM to examine opportunities to improve the float safety associated with the diversion dam on the Welch property. Future • Partner with BLM for on-site improvements making for a safer and more enjoyable water trail experience. • Research opportunities for educational signage along this stretch.

River Reach 8: River Miles 41.67 to 64.02 BLM Welch Recreation Area to Otter Road Bridge, Montana Recommended Implementation Actions

Phase I • Outreach with landowners about the TRWT concept. • Seasonal trash pickup and hazard identification. • Install Water Trail Informational Signage and Hazard Signage (Approaching take-out, approaching hazard, campsite, etc). • Create and offer boater-friendly fencing match funds to landowners, or signage with portage permissions. • Investigate opportunities to streamline access

permission and location on Cloud Peak Energy property, which could offer a mid-point during this extremely long float stretch. Phase II • Install wayfinding signage associated with Welch Recreation Area East Access Point. • Install Kiosk signage associated with Welch Recreation Area East Access Point. • Seasonal hazard identification. • Investigate opportunities to work with landowner for removing in-stream metal hazards and riprap. Phase III • Investigate opportunities with the State Land Board and surface lessee for the State 480 acres that begins at River Mile 51.06. Future • Research opportunities for educational signage along this stretch.

River Reach 9: River Miles 64.02 to 73.03 Otter Road Bridge, Montana to Tongue River Reservoir Dam, Montana Recommended Implementation Actions

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SECTION 6 Strategies and implementation schedule Phase I • Outreach with Montana-based entities about the TRWT concept. • Identify a key partner to tackle develop of the TRWT in Montana. • Seasonal trash pickup and hazard identification • Possible installation of Water Trail. • Informational Signage and Hazard Signage (Approaching take-out, approaching hazard, campsite, etc). Phase II • Continue to develop partner opportunities with entities on the Montana side of the Tongue. River, beginning with a portage site at the dam site connecting to the ‘lower’ Tongue River. • Consider a possible documentary highlighting development of TRWT finishing at the Yellowstone River. Phase III and Future • Continue to meet with potential partners including Northern Cheyenne tribe to determine potential opportunities for expanding the Tongue River Water Trail to its confluence with the Yellowstone River near Miles City, Montana. • Research opportunities for educational signage along this stretch.

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LG Creek Reach 1: LG Creek Miles 0 to 3.38 Little Goose Creek – South Park to Little Goose Creek/Big Goose Creek Confluence Recommended Implementation Actions

Phase I • Outreach with landowners about the TRWT concept. • Seasonal trash pickup and hazard identification. • Install Water Trail Informational Signage and Hazard Signage (Approaching take-out, approaching hazard, campsite, etc). • Create and offer boater-friendly fencing match funds to landowners, or signage with portage permissions. • Install a stream flow gauge in the South Park vicinity. Phase II • Install wayfinding signage associated with South Park Access. • Install Kiosk signage associated with South Park Access. • Seasonal hazard clearance. Phase III • Research opportunities for educational signage along this stretch.

Future Participate with any efforts to restore the channelized section of Little Goose Creek, with boater access and water trail integration with the downtown area.

BG Creek Reach 1: BG Creek Miles 0 to 3.88 Big Goose Creek to Big Goose/Little Goose Confluence Recommended Implementation Actions

Phase I • Outreach with landowners about the TRWT concept. • Seasonal trash pickup and hazard identification. • Install Water Trail Informational Signage and Hazard Signage (Approaching take-out, approaching hazard, campsite, etc). • Create and offer boater-friendly fencing match funds to landowners, or signage with portage permissions. • Explore options of installing a stream flow gauge in the Kendrick Park vicinity. • Work with the City of Sheridan to determine best locations for Kendrick Park Access Points. • Investigate access partnership with Westview Senior Center. • Investigate costs related to improving safety of the single diversion structure located at creek


SECTION 6 Strategies and implementation schedule

mile 0.73. Work with the City of Sheridan and the Army Corps of Engineers to identify a portage landing area with associated signage to bypass the major drop structures near creeks’ confluence. Work with the City of Sheridan to determine what existing City property or ROW is best suited for new access upstream from Elk Street vicinity. Explore opportunities and costs related to riprap removal with vicinity landowners.

• Phase II • Install wayfinding signage associated with Kendrick Park Access Points. • Install Kiosk signage associated with Kendrick Park Access Points. • Seasonal hazard clearance. • Improve parking and improve/construct access for the best-suited new access site identified with the City of Sheridan in Phase I. • Work with the City of Sheridan on Cultural Signage associated with new parksite at confluence. • Follow up from investigating costs related to improving safety of the single diversion structure located at creek mile 0.73. • Continued outreach related to riprap removal with vicinity landowners.

A 1957 Chevy serves as riprap along one of the more hazardous sections of Goose Creek.

Phase III • Install wayfinding signage associated with any new access sites • Install Kiosk signage associated with any new access sites Investigate opportunities for increasing the safety of the Lewis Street vicinity drop structures, with a

potential whitewater feature specific for recreation. Future • Construction related to the investigation of the drop structures identified in Phase III. • Research opportunities for educational signage along this stretch.

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SECTION 6 Strategies and implementation schedule Creeks Reach 3: (LG Creek Mile 3.38, BG Creek Mile/3.88) 0 to Creek Mile 13.02 Goose Creek Confluence to Goose Creek/Tongue River Confluence Recommended Implementation Actions

Phase I • Outreach with landowners about the TRWT concept. • Seasonal trash pickup and hazard identification. • Install Water Trail Informational Signage and Hazard Signage (Approaching take-out, approaching hazard, campsite, etc). • Create and offer boater-friendly fencing match funds to landowners, or signage with portage permissions. • Investigate opportunities and costs related to improving safety of the single diversion. structure located at Creek Mile 1.72. • Obtain or streamline options for improved Goose Creek Acme Culvert’s Access permission. • Work with City of Sheridan to determine most suitable location for Thorne Rider Access. • Work with City of Sheridan to determine most suitable location for North Park Access.

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Phase II • Install wayfinding signage associated with North Park/Canfield St. Access Point. • Install Kiosk signage associated with North Park/Canfield St. Access Point. • Seasonal hazard clearance. • Install wayfinding signage associated with Goose Creek Acme Culvert’s Access Point. • Install Kiosk signage associated with Goose Creek Acme Culvert’s Access Point. • Work with City of Sheridan to construct or improve Thorne Rider Access. • Install wayfinding signage associated with Thorne Rider Access Point. • Install Kiosk signage associated with Thorne Rider Access Point. • Install wayfinding signage associated with North Park Access Point. • Install Kiosk signage associated with North Park Access Point. • Work with City of Sheridan to construct or improve North Park Access Point. Phase III • Work with partners, including North Main Association, City of Sheridan and the Wyoming Department of Transportation as Interstate 90 is relocated and the historic Port of Entry becomes a linear park with possible/proposed water trail access site and possible whitewater

feature area. Future • Remove or otherwise re-construct for boatfriendly passage associated with the diversion structure located at Creek Mile 1.72. • Research opportunities for educational signage along this stretch.


SECTION 6 Strategies and implementation schedule

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SECTION 7 References American Canoe Association. (1996). Introduction to Paddling: Canoeing Basics for Lakes and Rivers. Birmingham, Alabama: Menasha Ridge Press. American Canoe Association. (1987). Canoeing and paddling: Instruction Manual. Birmingham, Alabama: Menasha Ridge Press. Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network. http://www.baygateways.net/watertrailtools.cfm City of Sheridan. (August 21, 2009). “South Park” Concept Master Plan: A Community Visioning Process. Retrieved from http://www.sheridanwy.net/departments/public-works/parks National Recreation Trails. http://www.americantrails.org/ee/index.php/nationalrecreationtrails North Main Association. (July 2009). North Main Master Plan. Retrieved from http://northmainassociation.org/master-plan/ Recreation Map. (2014) [Interactive map detailing recreation destinations in Sheridan County]. Recreation Map. Retrieved from http://sheridanclt.org/recreation-map/ Sheridan County. (2008). Sheridan County Comprehensive Plan. Retrieved from http://www.sheridancounty.com/info/pw-plan/complan.php Swenson, A. A. (2000). L.L. Bean Canoeing Handbook. New York: The Lyons Press. Town of Dayton. (n.d.) Town Plan for Dayton, Wyoming. Dayton, Wyoming. Town of Ranchester. (February 2009). Town of Ranchester Downtown Development Plan. Ranchester, Wyoming. U.S. Department of the Interior. (n.d.). America’s Great Outdoors: What We Do: Rivers. Retrieved from http://www.doi.gov/americasgreatoutdoors/whatwedo/rivers/index.cfm Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tongue_River_(Montana)

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SECTION 7 references

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Appendices A. Tongue River Water Trail Extent and Section Key

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appendices B. Section 1 - Tongue River Canyon to Scott Bicentennial Park

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Appendices B. Section 2 - Scott Bicentennial Park to Halfway Lane

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appendices B. Section 3 - Halfway Lane to Connor Battlefield

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Appendices B. Section 4 - Connor Battlefield to Kooi Road

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appendices B. Section 5 - Kooi Road to Kleenburn Recreation Area

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Appendices B. Section 6 - Kleenburn Recreation Area to Bighorn Mine Bridge #3

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appendices B. Section 7 - Bighorn Mine Bridge #3 to BLM Welch Recreation Area

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Appendices B. Section 8 - BLM Welch Recreation Area to Otter Road Bridge

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appendices B. Section 9 - Otter Road Bridge to Tongue River Resevoir Dam

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Appendices B. Section 10 - South Park (Little Goose Creek) and Leopard Street (Big Goose Creek) to Mill Park

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appendices B. Section 11 - Mill Park to Goose Creek/Tongue River Confluence

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Appendices C. Sheridan County Long Range Trails & Bicycle Routes Map Sheridan County, Wyoming Comprehensive Plan

LONG-RANGE TRAILS & BICYCLE ROUTES 83

84

As hC

82

ree k

Ba dg er

Ranchester Loop

SH

CR 98

CR

89

So

ldie

re rC

SH

Cr ee k d

ree k

Ra pi

se C

k

oo Lit tle G

Banner

d.

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Big Horn Ave.

87 t u

Rural Centers

Arvada Loop

Stream/River

Big Horn Loop

Existing Roads and Highways

Clearmont Loop

3 19

§ ¦ ¨ 90

14 t u

Smith Creek Rd

Parkman Loop Ranchester Loop

Future Connection to Foothills (general location)

Story Loop

Inset Map Scale Bar 0

East Sheridan Loop

2007 Sheridan Pathways Master Plan

90

Dayton East Rd

Dayton Loop

Future Waterway Trails

§ ¦ ¨ Dayton

10

20 Miles

FIGURE 7

Future Off-Road Multi-Use Trails

Ranchester Little Goose Creek

Upper Rd.

Page 68

Brundage Ln.

14 t u

53

5

Future On-Road Bicycle Lanes and Routes

Incorporated Places

87 t u

Bird Farm Rd Ranchester-Dayton Corridor

Sheridan County Airport

ek

0

SH

Big

90

Kruse Creek Rd

Loucks St.

d. se R Goo

Cre

SH 194

§ ¨ ¦

Story

87 t u

Big Horn

Campbell County

o rn ya

27 3

19

W

Piney

Story

54 CR

Legend

90

Fort Rd.

Clearmont Loop

Clearmont 14 t u

40

Arvada

Story § ¦ ¨

ek

CR 269

90

16

2 CR

Little Goose Valley

To Gillette CR

t u ut

CR 151

§ ¦ ¨

14

Johnson County

Big Horn County

55

Leiter

61

87 t u

Banner

R

RR

1 CR

eek

Big Horn

SF

CR 64

Cr

CR 87

To Big Horn National Forest

City of Sheridan

BN

3 22

Sheridan Loop

5 SH 33

/

CR 86

East Sheridan Loop

Big Horn Loop

k ee Cr

56

CR

Sheridan County Airport

g Do

Sheridan

1

ie

e os

Wyarno

air Pr

Go

33

Beaver Creek

Big

338

ek

Beckton

57

7

Dayton Loop

eek

15

CR 74

Cr

CR 1121

CR

Ranchester

14 t u

To Big Horn National Forest

14 t u

Acme

CR

er iv

90

14A t u Burgess Junction

Soldier Creek Rd.

2

CR 255

R ue

1 23

er Ri v n or H Big ttle Li

Dayton ng To

§ ¦ ¨

Parkman Loop

CR 116

BIGHORN NATIONAL FOREST

r Cre Soldie

58 12

CR 140

Columbus Creek

76

77

78

79

80

81

CR

5

4 14

CR 140A

MONTANA

85

Cr ee

CR

Slack

86

Parkman

ar

87

88

Cle

89

Powder River

90

CR SH 338 12 3 1

91

647

1.25

2.5

5 Miles

Source: Sheridan County GIS, Sheridan County Tax Assessor U.S. Census Bureau 2000, TIGER data, Clarion Associates, Fehr & Peers November 1, 2008

Sheridan Loop


appendices D. South Park Concept Map

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Appendices E. Sheridan Downtown Riverwalk Concept

Preserving, Protecting and Enhancing the Goose Creeks In keeping with the Downtown Sheridan Association’s mission to preserve and enhance historic downtown Sheridan to ensure future prosperity, the DSA Goose Creeks Committee is committed to its own mission of improving the health and vitality of the Goose creeks and adjacent riparian areas that form the centerpiece of the downtown area. The Goose Creeks Committee recognizes that the downtown sections of the Goose Creeks are a part of a greater watershed for which a broader management approach is necessary. The Goose Creeks Committee therefore strives to work as a partner with and encourage partnerships between community, state and federal organizations to improve and maintain the health and vitality of the greater Goose creeks watersheds. It is the goal of the Goose Creeks Committee to play an active and ongoing role in developing initiatives to achieve the stream-specific outcomes set forth in the Downtown Master Plan, the City of Sheridan Parks & Recreation Master Plan and the South Park Concept Master Plan.

The Evolution of Flood Control

Kendrick Park - Completed 2008 The Kendrick Park Stream Enhancement Project on Big Goose Creek lies within a popular City park in the heart of Sheridan. Supported by funding from the Wyoming Wildlife Natural Resource Trust Fund, Montana-Dakota Utilities, and Trout Unlimited, this project addressed issues of limited access, active bank erosion, and lack of stream diversity. Natural materials such as boulders and vegetation were used to create pools, riffles, more diverse habitat, and public access. Stream stabilization structures were designed to improve the stream as a fishery and establish trout habitat along the creek, allowing the public to enjoy trout fishing within City limits.

When the town of Sheridan was founded at the confluence of Big Goose and Little Goose creeks, the two creeks were meandering streams with gravel beds and active floodplains. As Sheridan grew, damage from natural flooding increased, and in 1963 the US Army Corps of Engineers completed a flood control project to protect properties along the creeks, thereby changing the nature of the creeks. While the channel provides flood control, the creeks no longer adequately transport sediment, nor can they self-maintain the riffles, pools and other features that provide fishing habitat and pleasing aesthetics.

South Park - Completed 2012

In the 1960s, minimizing flood damage was the only goal for such river projects. Today, river projects are expected to take into consideration other goals such as fisheries, self-maintenance, aesthetics, and recreational uses. Rehabilitation of the Goose Creeks through Sheridan will accomplish several objectives: • Maintain current flood capacity • Decrease annual maintenance • Aid in water quality improvement efforts • Improve sediment transport • Increase fisheries habitat components including runs, riffles, glides, feeding lanes, cover, etc. • Enhance aesthetics • Tie to downtown and existing pathways • Provide public access to streams • Provide a public gathering place to enhance commerce and recreation, featuring historical signs, decorative lighting, benches, bike racks, and seasonal access

Natural materials were used to build structures that use the stream’s own flow to direct the channel and reduce bank erosion. Stream stabilization structures were also designed to decrease sediment resulting from eroding banks, thereby improving water quality throughout Little Goose Creek. The stream enhancements also provided public access to the streams within South Park.

a collaborative partnership between

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Excessive sediment deposition, concrete debris and insufficient public access near pedestrian bridge

Looking upstream from pedestrian bridge at cross-vein structure providing increased habitat and public access

View downstream showing active bank erosion

Upstream view along previously eroding bank stabilized to improve water quality

The South Park Pathway and Stream Enhancement Project on Little Goose Creek lies within the natural flood plain immediately prior to the start of the Sheridan flood control channel. This project provided much-needed stream stabilization and additional improvements to enhance recreational use by the public.

Existing concrete channel

North Park - Proposed

Proposed downtown Riverwalk

Visit www.goosecreeks.com to learn more and find out what you can do to help preserve, protect and enhance our goose creeks!

Downtown Riverwalk Proposed

A stream enhancement project along Goose Creek within the North Park area is currently in the design and permitting phase. Nearly a mile of Goose Creek meanders throughout the North Park area and along the newly developed pathway. As with much of Goose Creek within Sheridan, this reach has experienced extensive bank erosion and over widening of the channel, which has in turn impaired water quality and stream function. Similar to the work already completed in both South Park and Kendrick Park, the North Park Project on Goose Creek will utilize natural materials to provide channel stability and increase diversity of the channel. These structures will also provide stream access and pleasing aesthetics throughout the reach during both low and high flow seasons.

The Downtown Riverwalk is envisioned as an oasis in the heart of downtown Sheridan, where residents and visitors can mingle in the shade beside peaceful drops and pools near the confluence of Little Goose and Big Goose Creeks. See the panel at right for a detailed description of the proposed Riverwalk project. Downstream view of active bank erosion along pathway


appendices E. Sheridan Downtown Riverwalk Concept

Sheridan Downtown Riverwalk Concept Downtown Riverwalk - Proposed

The Downtown Riverwalk is envisioned as an oasis in the heart of downtown Sheridan, where residents and visitors can mingle in the shade beside peaceful drops and pools near the confluence of Little Goose and Big Goose Creeks.

Integrating Flood Control with Lifestyle

Existing concrete channel

The DSA Goose Creeks Committee, in cooperation with the City of Sheridan, has started discussions with the US Army Corps of Engineers to discuss options for modifying the concrete chute in downtown Sheridan. The conceptual plan would allow for the abandonment of 1st Street along the northern bank and removal of the concrete chute bed and north wall. The southern wall of the chute would remain in place, as would the bridges. A low-flow stream channel would meander between the bridges, providing pocket parks inside each bend. Sloping banks would provide public access to the pocket parks during low flow. During higher flows, the stream would utilize the parks as a floodplain, and pedestrians would use the paths at street level.

View looking west-southwest from corner of 1st and Gould streets

Ice jam in existing concrete channel, January 2009 Photo courtesy of The Sheridan Press

a collaborative partnership between

Visit www.goosecreeks.com to learn more and find out what you can do to help preserve, protect and enhance our goose creeks!

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Appendices F. North Main Area Master Plan - Port of Entry Design Concept

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appendices G. Inventory Data SCLT relied on nearly 20 volunteers to conduct these float inventories during the 2014 season. These individuals used public access sites to conduct the inventories or obtained permission from landowners prior to launching or landing their craft on private lands. Many of the inventories were accompanied by pictures, which are available in digital format at the SCLT office. 1. Tongue River Canyon to Scott Bicentennial Park in Dayton 2. Overall Float Experience (brief description, considering difficulty/challenge, views, other recreation opportunities, detractions, ease of access etc.): Multiple float trips were logged post run-off, with river flows varying between 200cfs and 300cfs (Monarch station). Easy access is available from the parking area at the USFS Tongue River Canyon Trailhead, with ample parking and vault toilet facilities. Many times people will camp in this vicinity as well. While no completely obstructing hazards were encountered, this is the most technically challenging and oftentimes unpredictable of the entire TRWT and should be paddled only by the most experienced paddlers, ones that have ample whitewater experience. 3. Flatwater/Whitewater Conditions (Describe): No fences were encountered during the inventory floats. 4. Overall Difficulty/Boater Recommendation (check box):   

Beginner Experienced Veteran due to whitewater and flow speeds

5. Level of Existing Use (Evidence of use etc.): This stretch sees some use from the community of paddlers, maybe 20-50 floaters annually? 6. Restoration Opportunities (bank stabilization, bank armor, debris/hazard removal, weed control, native vegetation plantings etc): There are multiple opportunities for improving this stretch of water for floating and fishing, much is shallower riffles and rapids, and a fair amount of bank erosion takes place annually.

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Appendices G. Inventory Data Existing Access and Infrastructure 7. Public Access:   

Yes USFS Tongue River Canyon Trailhead parking/camping area No Unknown

8. Please describe access site (vehicle access, parking, distance to water, ease of launching/bank condition, water depth etc): Easy access with parking for roughly 12 vehicles at the USFS Trailhead. Vault toilets, informal camping areas scattered through the canyon. Easy transition to the water, just a few feet from the parking area, though access locations could easily be improved. Poison ivy in the vicinity. Water near the parking area is faster (as is most of this area) with depths up to 3’. 9. Describe existing facilities at access location (bathrooms, parking lot, signs, shelters etc): As previously stated, vault toilets, parking lot, and informal camping/trailer areas without additional services. Potential Development 10. Potential Access Sites:   

Public None Private None Unknown

11. Potential Day Use Sites: Public Private Description (acreage, topography, vegetation, accessibility, etc.): This is a very fast-moving stretch of water. Outreach to landowners should still be considered, but the 5.24 miles to Dayton can be covered quickly, without a natural need to stop and stretch. 12. Potential Vicinity Recreation Destinations (existing trails, facilities etc): USFS Trailhead at put-in.

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appendices G. Inventory Data Safety and Signage 13. Float Hazards Present (Describe): There are consistent whitewater rapids of class I-III and even IV during run-off. Multiple private bridges that could present real hazards during higher water conditions. In addition, there are several areas where the river splits into smaller braids, all of which could present surprises so caution is required. This is a section of river that should only be attempted by veteran paddlers, and run-off levels (above 500 at Monarch) should be avoided altogether. 14. Floating Season (Describe the best times of year for safe flow and hazard avoidance etc): Best times of year are pre-runoff in early spring, post-run-off in mid to late July, and again in September October when flows rebound. 15. Interpretation and Education This area flows through a riparian burn area, as well as one that has abundant wildlife. 16. Potential site of interest: Private Public Description: None. 17. Notable features of site (plant/animal communities, archeological/historical, natural restoration/process etc): None. 18. Other observations: None. 1. Scott Bicentennial Park in Dayton to Halfway Lane 2. Overall Float Experience (brief description, considering difficulty/challenge, views, other recreation opportunities, detractions, ease of access etc.): We floated on April 11 with the river at 135cfs (Monarch station). Water was still relatively clear pre-runoff. Easy access from the parking area at Scott Bicentennial Park, and immediate fishing opportunities with the recent stream enhancement work through the park. This portion of the river flows through essentially two landowners, Padlock Ranch for the first portion and Pacific Power and Light (leased to the Masters Ranch) for the second portion. With some of the noted hazards, and relatively fast movement, this is a stretch of river to be respected and used by more experienced paddlers.

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Appendices G. Inventory Data The majority of other recreation opportunities in this stretch correspond with the Scott Bicentennial Park which offers a number of facilities. 3. Flatwater/Whitewater Conditions (Describe): A single fence was encountered near the Halfway Lane Bridge take-out. 4. Overall Difficulty/Boater Recommendation (check box):   

Beginner Experienced Veteran

Experienced due to rapids, drops, and fence hazards

5. Level of Existing Use (Evidence of use etc.): Unknown Within the floating community, this is a stretch that many of the more experienced boaters enjoy on an annual basis, primarily those interested in fishing and floating. 6. Restoration Opportunities (bank stabilization, bank armor, debris/hazard removal, weed control, native vegetation plantings etc): Padlock Ranch has done an amazing job enhancing and stabilizing the river as it flows on their property. There is a distinct change as one enters the adjacent PP&L property which has not had the same level of investment made concerning streambank stabilization and enhancement. That said, there was not the surplus of riprap typically noted along the Tongue River. Existing Access and Infrastructure 7. Public Access:   

Yes At Scott Bicentennial Park and via the County Road ROW on Halfway Lane/Bridge No Unknown

8. Please describe access site (vehicle access, parking, distance to water, ease of launching/bank condition, water depth etc): Easy access and ample parking at Scott Park. Halfway Lane has limited room for parking, but 2-4 vehicles can easily be parked to the south of the bridge without

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appendices G. Inventory Data disturbing traffic flow. The Halfway Lane access is a bit more difficult with a short drop down a concrete abutment to the bank and water. There is a fence that constricts a wider and easier access to the river in this location, and the full ROW is possibly encroached upon by the fence. 9. Describe existing facilities at access location (bathrooms, parking lot, signs, shelters etc): As previously stated, Scott Bicentennial park offers excellent services with bathrooms, trash receptacles, parking, signage, shelters, playgrounds, hiking trails etc. Halfway Lane provides nothing more than shoulder parking for vehicles. Potential Development 10. Potential Access Sites:  Public None  Private None  Unknown 11. Potential Day Use Sites: Public Private Description (acreage, topography, vegetation, accessibility, etc.): It would be ideal to develop some type of day-use site with either Padlock Ranch or PP&L to give boaters an opportunity to stretch legs during the float. 12. Potential Vicinity Recreation Destinations (existing trails, facilities etc): Again, outside of the Scott Bicentennial Park features, none. Safety and Signage 13. Float Hazards Present (Describe): There is a single but significant drop near the Padlock Scott Family residence. Rumor has it, Homer Scott wanted to hear the sound of the river from the home, and had a man-made falls/rapids put in for this purpose. The drop can be navigated by more experienced paddlers, but should be scouted and portaged by those uncertain of their abilities. Several strainers also complicated a few runs, but were avoidable. This situation likely changes year to year. One fence was encountered near the Halfway Lane Bridge. The fence was painted green and could present a real hazard to someone without a trained eye to look for fences, or an unsuspecting floater.

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Appendices G. Inventory Data 14. Floating Season (Describe the best times of year for safe flow and hazard avoidance etc): 135 cfs was a fine flow rate for this section. Best times of year are likely pre-runoff in early spring, post-run-off in July, and again in September October when flows rebound. This section should not be floated during runoff by any ability. 15. Interpretation and Education Potential opportunity to partner with the Padlock Ranch with the development of a boater stretch/day-use site that could also interpret the enormous stream work they have completed in recent years. 16. Potential site of interest: Private Public Description: None. 17. Notable features of site (plant/animal communities, archeological/historical, natural restoration/process etc): Restoration of the river and bank stabilization on the Padlock property. 18. Other observations: The boundary between Padlock Ranch and PP&L property now has the first-ever boater friendly fence along the Tongue River. The fence failed during runoff in 2014, but was redesigned and replaced and SCLT will continue to follow its progress. 1. Halfway Lane to Connor Battlefield in Ranchester 2. Overall Float Experience (brief description, considering difficulty/challenge, views, other recreation opportunities, detractions, ease of access etc.): We floated on April 10 with the river at 135cfs (Monarch station). Water was still relatively clear pre-runoff. Somewhat difficult access to the stream from Halfway Lane as earlier described. Riffle/run experience with several larger pools/flatwater stretches max of 100 yards. Tight turns/corners with woody vegetation/debris intermittent along the entire stretch. Roughly 6 trees within the first mile that pose varying levels of hazards depending on abilities. One tree completely blocking the river, 2 fence lines obstructing the river and posing a danger. Spectacular views, excellent fishing and wildlife watching. Few buildings/structures visible from the river, overall bank conditions/grazing healthy.

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appendices G. Inventory Data Some sections of industrial riprap, large tires, car bodies, farm machinery, and concrete. 3. Flatwater/Whitewater Conditions (Describe): Class 1 with limited class 2. 4. Overall Difficulty/Boater Recommendation (check box):   

Beginner Experienced Veteran

Experienced to veteran due to rapids, fences, riprap, and hazards

5. Level of Existing Use (Evidence of use etc.): Unknown but likely fewer than 12 trips/year due to the high number of hazards an less than ideal put-in. 6. Restoration Opportunities (bank stabilization, bank armor, debris/hazard removal, weed control, native vegetation plantings etc): Opportunity for hazard removal, bank stabilization. No Russian Olive viewed, but early spring may have made it difficult. Existing Access and Infrastructure 7. Public Access:   

Yes Halfway Lane/Bridge and Connor Battlefield State Historic Site No Unknown

8. Please describe access site (vehicle access, parking, distance to water, ease of launching/bank condition, water depth etc): Parking at the bridge abutments, current access over abutment, roughly 10 feet vertical with a 2’ ledge to navigate around fencing. Nice, level launch area below bridge. Water depth 1-2 feet at time of float. 9. Describe existing facilities at access location (bathrooms, parking lot, signs, shelters etc):

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Appendices G. Inventory Data Halfway Lane provides nothing more than shoulder parking for vehicles. Connor Battlefield State Historic site provides seasonal restrooms and amenities typically associated with State Park camping. Potential Development 10. Potential Access Sites:  Public None  Private  Unknown PP&L Lands just upstream of the bridge may allow for a more permanent access site. There is also a small home upstream of bridge which may present other options. 11. Potential Day Use Sites: Public Private Description (acreage, topography, vegetation, accessibility, etc.): Entirely private, would be nice to have a mid-way point where boaters could get out, stretch legs etc. 12. Potential Vicinity Recreation Destinations (existing trails, facilities etc): None at this time outside of Connor Battlefield State Historic Site. Safety and Signage 13. Float Hazards Present (Describe): Mapped and labeled. Nothing too intense with the exception of fences and downed tree. A chainsaw post run-off could annually add significantly to the safety of this section, with landowner permission. Fences present real hazards though, this is a stretch to work with landowners on boater-friendly fencing as the water trail moves forward. 14. Floating Season (Describe the best times of year for safe flow and hazard avoidance etc): 135 cfs was a fine flow rate for this section. Best times of year are likely pre-runoff in early spring, post-run-off in July, and again in September October when flows rebound. This section should not be floated during runoff by any ability. 15. Interpretation and Education

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appendices G. Inventory Data None. 16. Potential site of interest: Private Public Description: None. 17. Notable features of site (plant/animal communities, archeological/historical, natural restoration/process etc): Excellent wildlife habitat, great variety of riparian species. 18. Other observations: None. 1. Connor Battlefield in Ranchester to Kleenburn Recreation Area Vicinity 2. Overall Float Experience (brief description, considering difficulty/challenge, views, other recreation opportunities, detractions, ease of access etc.): We floated on May 2nd with the river at 300cfs (Monarch station). We were on the water for approx. 5 hours of easy floating (see description of fences below). There was abundant bird life and good mountain views of high country snow above the green valley. The majority of the land was agricultural and cottonwood galleries. A few homes were right on the river. Access at Connor State Park was excellent (put in below the drop structure). Kooi bridge has steep rocky sides and is tightly fenced. The corrals below the Kleenburn bridge have a good dirt boat ramp. 3. Flatwater/Whitewater Conditions (Describe): Mainly easy water with some riffles and an occasional overhanging tree. Six fences were encountered, with a couple being hazardous. 4. Overall Difficulty/Boater Recommendation (check box):  

Beginner Experienced

Experienced due to fences, especially at flows above 300cfs

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Appendices G. Inventory Data 

Veteran

5. Level of Existing Use (Evidence of use etc.): Unknown 6. Restoration Opportunities (bank stabilization, bank armor, debris/hazard removal, weed control, native vegetation plantings etc): Some bank damage due to livestock and some hazardous metal riprap in places. Existing Access and Infrastructure 7. Public Access:   

Yes At Connor State Park and Kleenburn corrals. No Unknown

8. Please describe access site (vehicle access, parking, distance to water, ease of launching/bank condition, water depth etc): Easy access at Connor State Park and Kleenburn corrals. 9. Describe existing facilities at access location (bathrooms, parking lot, signs, shelters etc): All facilities at Connor State Park. Good parking at Connor and Kleenburn corrals. Potential Development 10. Potential Access Sites:   

Public Private Could be access at Kooi bridge but it is currently steep and tightly fenced. Unknown

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appendices G. Inventory Data 11. Potential Day Use Sites: Public Private Description (acreage, topography, vegetation, accessibility, etc.): Kleenburn ponds recreational area is near take out. 12. Potential Vicinity Recreation Destinations (existing trails, facilities etc): Kleenburn ponds nearby. Safety and Signage 13. Float Hazards Present (Describe): Six fences were encountered, with two being hazardous. A google earth map is attached with locations. Fences nos. 3 and 6 are in quick water and would be very dangerous at higher flows. They are both very tight, 3 strand barb wire. 14. Floating Season (Describe the best times of year for safe flow and hazard avoidance etc): 300 cfs was a good level. However, due to frequent nesting geese and an occasional sand hill crane nest (some nests were right on the waters edge), floating may need to be delayed until after mid-May or after spring runoff. We also saw a nesting bald eagle. 15. Interpretation and Education Provide information on nesting birds and avoid disruption. 16. Potential site of interest: Private Public Description: This river section goes through historic coal mining district. 17. Notable features of site (plant/animal communities, archeological/historical, natural restoration/process etc): Excellent bird area and historic mining area. 18. Other observations: Lots of old car body riprap and heavy agricultural use. Over the course of the day we noted two dead cows and two dead calves (different locations) in the river.

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Appendices G. Inventory Data This stretch of river has extreme meanders. 1. Kleenburn Recreation Area to BLM Welch Recreation Property Legal Access: Kleenburn public, Welch is closest public for take-out Estimated Distance: 2. 6 miles (roughly 10 miles to Welch for take-out) Description: Known hazards in this area include the former power plant bridge, iron work in the river, and the old Acme mule barn (and two barking security dogs/scary compound). Please use caution when floating this stretch. Acme Town Site: Metal dam across river consisting of vertical iron panels, mid-stream panels looked to be pushed over by current. The dam may have cable, rebar and other materials in water. There is a large strainer on river right that takes up 2/3 of river channel. There is no good portage or public access at this location making the hazards very difficult to avoid. 1. Tongue/Goose Confluence to BLM Welch Recreation Area Estimated Distance: 11 miles Description: The most common float on the Tongue River, mostly flat with some minor rapids. Largely undeveloped, high potential for outdoor classroom use along this section. (Note: Calculated Kleenburn to Welch in GIS at 11.66 miles) 2. Overall Float Experience (brief description, considering difficulty/challenge, views, other recreation opportunities, detractions, ease of access etc.): Beautiful trip‌ water was relatively high flow (early spring run-off)- would likely be more challenging in higher flow. Portion between Kleenburn and Goose Confluence was the most hazardous, with the fallen tower at Acme being the most difficult to navigate. There are some minor strainers from fallen trees. Use caution in higher flows due to river-wide strainers. This is a great segment for bird watching. We observed a variety of avian species including an osprey. 3. Flatwater/Whitewater Conditions (Describe): Gently flowing- trip from Kleenburn to Welch took ~3.5 hours under April 22 flow conditions (240 cfs at the USGS Monarch Gauging Station). A few light rapids due to high flow conditions (barely Class I). Class I, moving water, no rapids. Was very easy to avoid diversion dam, which is the most severe known hazard.

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appendices G. Inventory Data 4. Overall Difficulty/Boater Recommendation (check box):   

X Novice (from Tongue/Goose Confluence to Welch). X Experienced (From Kleenburn to Tongue/Goose Confluence) Veteran

5. Level of Existing Use (Evidence of use etc.): Defined trail at portage around diversion dam indicates at least semi-regular boater use. No stopovers possible under current private ownership. 6. Restoration Opportunities (bank stabilization, bank armor, debris/hazard removal, weed control, native vegetation plantings etc): No stopovers possible under current private ownership. Existing Access and Infrastructure 7. Public Access:   

X Yes (Put-in at Kleenburn, take-out at Welch). No Unknown

8. Please describe access site (vehicle access, parking, distance to water, ease of launching/bank condition, water depth etc): A gate-assist on the drop barbed wire gate at Kleenburn would be greatly appreciated, but otherwise the Kleenburn site offers ample parking. Both the put-in and take-out sites (and the diversion dam portage “trail”) might also be sprayed or cleared of any prickly plants so that boaters can inflate and deflate boats without fear of popping. The river bank is steep and in high water a little challenging at the take-out. 9. Describe existing facilities at access location (bathrooms, parking lot, signs, shelters etc): Welch has a portable toilet on-site from April to November currently and there are some signs on site. Parking lots on both sides of river- fencing may be modified

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Appendices G. Inventory Data on south side of river to more easily accommodate boats as they currently have to be slipped over gate. Kleenburn has signs with a map and a small turnaround parking lot. Potential Development 10. Potential Access Sites:  Public Some type of ramp at Welch would be helpful for a take-out along with a lower pipe gate to make it easier to slide boats over and avoid barbed wire.  Private Lock in Goose Creek Culverts on Country Night Club Road for family-friendly boating. Kleenburn put-in is not recommended for families due to portage around fallen tower/rip-rap/scary compound/Rottweilers.  Unknown General Site Description: Improve portage at Welch (diversion dam privately owned, but might be modified for safety), improve take-out to make more boater-friendly. 11. Potential Day Use Sites: Public Private Description (acreage, topography, vegetation, accessibility, etc.): Would Big Horn Coal (Ambre Energy) or Thunder Child consider an easement for a shoreline picnic spot? A small stop-over would be very refreshing. 12. Potential Vicinity Recreation Destinations (existing trails, facilities etc): None. Safety and Signage 13. Float Hazards Present (Describe): A few snags (GPSed- Allison to Download), and many mature cottonwoods that could become snags at any moment. Several fences came down to the water, but no wires were stretched across on our float. 14. Floating Season (Describe the best times of year for safe flow and hazard avoidance etc): A warm day in April/early May before runoff was just perfect! July/early August would seem ideal as well.

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appendices G. Inventory Data 15. Interpretation and Education Lots of spring migrating birds present, evidence of beavers, coal seam fire, former town of Acme. 16. Potential site of interest: Private Public Description: Old Acme site and whatever was in the large concrete barn (coal? livestock?). 17. Notable features of site (plant/animal communities, archeological/historical, natural restoration/process etc): Williams Homestead 18. Other observations: None. 1. BLM Welch Recreation Property to Cloud Peak Energy Property Put-In: Welch Property off Decker Highway, relatively easy but limited space for multiple boats and quick drop-off. Take-out at Cloud Peak Property, 1321 Decker Hwy. Permission required from Cloud Peak Energy well in advance at this time and in person. Somewhat steep, brushy access but a short distance to the water from the staging area. 2. Overall Float Experience (brief description, considering difficulty/challenge, views, other recreation opportunities, detractions, ease of access etc.): Another beautiful section of river, possibly the most novice-friendly of the entire TRWT stretch. The overall float was roughly 6 miles, which was covered in under 3 hours at the 200cfs (Monarch station) flow conditions. The only challenge is a take-out access point. For the purposes of the inventory, we worked with a private landowner in the vicinity, but would prefer to streamline an arrangement with Cloud Peak Energy who owns land throughout this section. Thick stands of cottonwood, wildlife is plentiful and the sound of the highway just to the north is largely non-existent. 3. Flatwater/Whitewater Conditions (Describe): There is a consistent width of roughly 60’, easy slow pace with one small natural rapid structure. Primarily a single river channel, with some submerged trees and logs in the slower pools. 4. Overall Difficulty/Boater Recommendation (check box):

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Appendices G. Inventory Data  Novice  Experienced  Veteran 5. Level of Existing Use (Evidence of use etc.): This stretch seems to see little use, likely due to the nearly public access site being located a very long days paddle downstream in Montana. 6. Restoration Opportunities (bank stabilization, bank armor, debris/hazard removal, weed control, native vegetation plantings etc): Multiple locations where riprap could be removed to mitigate any potential safety issue to boaters. That said, nothing in need of immediate attention was noted. Existing Access and Infrastructure 7. Public Access:   

Yes (Put-in at BLM Welch) No (Take-out on private with advance permission required by Cloud Peak Energy) Unknown

8. Please describe access site (vehicle access, parking, distance to water, ease of launching/bank condition, water depth etc): Relatively easy access on the east side of BLM Welch property. Put-in drops off fairly quick which could present challenges for attempting to launch multiple craft at once. 9. Describe existing facilities at access location (bathrooms, parking lot, signs, shelters etc): Welch has a portable toilet on-site from April to November on the west access point. Potential Development 10. Potential Access Sites:  Public  Private It would be ideal to work with Cloud Peak Energy to identify the most optimal location for a more established public access site, possibly with locked gate etc.

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appendices G. Inventory Data 

Unknown

General Site Description: None. 11. Potential Day Use Sites: Public Private Description (acreage, topography, vegetation, accessibility, etc.): Again, it would ideal to identify opportunities to improve infrastructure and access with Cloud Peak Energy along this stretch. There may be other landowners agreeable, but with current permission granted by Cloud Peak it would seem a logical place to start. 12. Potential Vicinity Recreation Destinations (existing trails, facilities etc): None. Safety and Signage 13. Float Hazards Present (Describe): Multiple minor riffles and one ledge rock structure that is unavoidable but not a navigational concern. Probably good to point out on a map or with some type of signage. 14. Floating Season (Describe the best times of year for safe flow and hazard avoidance etc): Pre-runoff, post-runoff and any other time when there isn’t ice on the river would all be great times to enjoy this beautiful stretch. 15. Interpretation and Education Enormous quantity of wildlife along this stretch, possible Audubon focus or similar survey area. 16. Potential site of interest: Private Public Description: There is some type of cable basket that crosses the river along this stretch that may have a story behind it of interest. 17. Notable features of site (plant/animal communities, archeological/historical, natural restoration/process etc): None. 18. Other observations: This stretch has the potential to be the most family-friendly and user friendly stretch of the water trail if we can just identify and solidify an access agreement with

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Appendices G. Inventory Data a landowner prior to crossing the Montana border. 1. Cloud Peak Energy Property to Tongue River Reservoir 6.5 Mile Shuttle, 16.9 Mile Paddle, 4.5 hour duration at 151 cfs (Monarch) 527cfs (State Line) Light paddling 2. Overall Float Experience (brief description, considering difficulty/challenge, views, other recreation opportunities, detractions, ease of access etc.): This segment maintains a relatively constant width and easy, slow pace with primarily one main channel and a great deal of meandering back and forth on itself. Numerous gravel bars of various sizes and shapes adds interest to the paddle. The topography and scenery is somewhat similar throughout with open views of ranchland and cottonwood grooves along the bank. Towards the middle of the segment is a stretch of low scoria hills and bluffs. Most of this segment offers relaxed, easy paddling with few riffles and even fewer isolated Class 1 rapids. The current access for both put-in and take-out is somewhat difficult and requires permission before going. 3. Flatwater/Whitewater Conditions (Describe): Riffles and a few small, avoidable Class I rapids with a few easy to navigate channels throughout segment. 4. Overall Difficulty/Boater Recommendation (check box):   

Beginner Experienced Veteran

5. Level of Existing Use (Evidence of use etc.): Moderately heavy Agricultural use and Coal Bed Methane development throughout the segment. 6. Restoration Opportunities (bank stabilization, bank armor, debris/hazard removal, weed control, native vegetation plantings etc): At the beginning of the segment several unattractive stabilization attempts have been made using scrap metal, rubble and debris. In a later segment, one landowner used tires from local mining operations to line a long section of the river bank. Cattle are prevalent along most of this segment.

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appendices G. Inventory Data Existing Access and Infrastructure 7. Public Access:   

Yes No (Put-in is private with public access permission required) Unknown

8. Please describe access site (vehicle access, parking, distance to water, ease of launching/bank condition, water depth etc): Put-In: Cloud Peak Property, 1321 Decker Hwy, Parking- Private Property Permission necessary to access Cloud Peak Property and to Park on Property Somewhat difficult- Steep & brushy, short distance to water from staging area on top of bank. Take-Out: Under Decker Coal Bridge Somewhat difficult- Steep, rip rapped bank. Access to park was granted from Doug Elliot who owns land to the right of the bridge otherwise parking on side of road before bridge. Distance to water approx. 75 yards. 9. Describe existing facilities at access location (bathrooms, parking lot, signs, shelters etc): No facilities present Potential Development 10. Potential Access Sites: State Land   

Public Private Unknown

General Site Description: 11. Potential Day Use Sites: Public Private Description (acreage, topography, vegetation, accessibility, etc.): About a third of the way to the take out is a piece of State Land that intersects the river. The north side of the river is part of a small, beautiful peninsula made by

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Appendices G. Inventory Data a tight wrap in the rivers course. Covered in grass with easy low banks it looks ideal for potential, but the area is used heavily by the landowner for cattle. He also stores a large assortment of machinery next door. The rancher’s home is just up river which can be seen thru the trees from one spot on the peninsula (trees were not leafed out yet). There is a pod methane wells and a ravine that’s used as a trash dump just off the north fence of the state land. The South bank of the river begins as a low, sizable, mostly flat bench with a thick band of willow along the water’s edge. Above the bench are scoria hills cut with numerous ravines that offer beautiful views of the surrounding landscape and river. Each side has pros and cons but either are ideal for potential development, especially since this state land happens to fall just about half-way from Welch to Tongue River Reservoir. 12. Potential Vicinity Recreation Destinations (existing trails, facilities etc): Tongue River Reservoir Safety and Signage 13. Float Hazards Present (Describe): There were few natural hazards in this segment and all were avoidable. 14. Floating Season (Describe the best times of year for safe flow and hazard avoidance etc): This section could be floated any season when flow is adequate to make enjoyable. Adequate flow is yet to be determined?? 15. Interpretation and Education Yes 16. Potential site of interest: Private Public Description: 17. Notable features of site (plant/animal communities, archeological/historical, natural restoration/process etc): This segment featured wildlife including a variety of ducks, cranes, herons, eagles, geese, several varieties of turtle, and deer.

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appendices G. Inventory Data 18. Other observations: None. 1. Little Goose Creek South Park to Goose Creek Confluence 2. Overall Float Experience (brief description, considering difficulty/challenge, views, other recreation opportunities, detractions, ease of access etc.): This segment of Little Goose Creek is a fun and relatively quick-moving section of primarily gentle, though constricted water. There are some beautiful sections with thick cottonwood trees through South Park, and then along the City’s Pathway system to the confluence in downtown Sheridan. 3. Flatwater/Whitewater Conditions (Describe): Relatively flat water, with some riffle/run stretches. Only one single drop structure near the put-in in South Park that should be portaged. 4. Overall Difficulty/Boater Recommendation (check box):   

Beginner Experienced Pre-runoff, then summer into fall with lower water levels and slower water Veteran

5. Level of Existing Use (Evidence of use etc.): This area seems to be getting increasing use by boaters, and canoes floating alongside the pathways seem more commonplace now than just 10 years ago even. 6. Restoration Opportunities (bank stabilization, bank armor, debris/hazard removal, weed control, native vegetation plantings etc): South Park has seen extensive restoration and enhancement by the City of Sheridan in recent years. There are opportunities to improve bank stability along upper sections, and the concrete chute near the confluence is the subject of City/Army Corps study. Existing Access and Infrastructure 7. Public Access: 

Yes Excellent!

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Appendices G. Inventory Data  

No Unknown

8. Please describe access site (vehicle access, parking, distance to water, ease of launching/bank condition, water depth etc): South Park southern access is located off of Brundage Lane, with ample parking and an easy 20’-50’ level walk to a staging/put-in area. Easy launch into moving water. 9. Describe existing facilities at access location (bathrooms, parking lot, signs, shelters etc): Pathway Area, signed well, though no amenities on-site. Potential Development 10. Potential Access Sites:    

Public Private Unknown None There is so much great public land and access in the area already.

General Site Description: 11. Potential Day Use Sites: Public Private Description (acreage, topography, vegetation, accessibility, etc.): Existing City Park sites. 12. Potential Vicinity Recreation Destinations (existing trails, facilities etc): Existing City Pathway. Safety and Signage 13. Float Hazards Present (Describe): Hazards present in the form of snags and strainers with a few fences that need to be skirted, but not necessarily portaged. All fences encountered are on the

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appendices G. Inventory Data borders of the South Park property. In faster flows, quick decisions and actions are needed, and this stretch leaves little room for error in places. 14. Floating Season (Describe the best times of year for safe flow and hazard avoidance etc): During times of adequate flow, but not run-off flows. 15. Interpretation and Education Lots of opportunities to interpret themes from city park locations, something for everyone to think about. 16. Potential site of interest: Private Public Description: None Known 17. Notable features of site (plant/animal communities, archeological/historical, natural restoration/process etc): None. 18. Other observations: None. 1. Big Goose Creek Leopard Street to Goose Creek Confluence 2. Overall Float Experience (brief description, considering difficulty/challenge, views, other recreation opportunities, detractions, ease of access etc.): This segment of Big Goose Creek could be so great, but the significant riprap and consistently dangerous strainers really damper the current fun. This is a very natural section of stream, with huge overhead trees, endless wildlife, and much solitude. Once in town, it’s a stretch through the backyards of many homes, arriving at Kendrick Park which provides fun runs and pools with the recent enhancement work. 3. Flatwater/Whitewater Conditions (Describe): Relatively flat water, though there are several small 1’-2’ drops in the Kendrick Park vicinity. Two drop structures to navigate that should typically be portaged. 4. Overall Difficulty/Boater Recommendation (check box):

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Appendices G. Inventory Data   

Beginner Experienced Pre-runoff, then summer into fall with lower water levels and slower water Veteran

5. Level of Existing Use (Evidence of use etc.): Some use, but not much on the upper portion. Once in town, it does seem to get a lot of tube floaters and kayakers. 6. Restoration Opportunities (bank stabilization, bank armor, debris/hazard removal, weed control, native vegetation plantings etc): Kendrick Park has seen an enormous amount of restoration and enhancement. The drop structures near the confluence need attention, and could lend themselves to recreation as a whitewater park of sorts. Upstream from Kendrick could benefit from bank stabilization, and the upper portion is in critical need of riprap removal, it is easily one of the more hazardous stretches with riprap on the entire proposed TWRT. Existing Access and Infrastructure 7. Public Access:   

Yes Again, great! No Unknown

8. Please describe access site (vehicle access, parking, distance to water, ease of launching/bank condition, water depth etc): Leopard Street has parking for several vehicles (informal). The short walk to water is worn in by other boaters. The bank is brushy, which can make launching difficult, especially with the swift current. Many of the other potential access sites are nothing more than publicly-owned, and would need attention and clearing to make boater friendly. 9. Describe existing facilities at access location (bathrooms, parking lot, signs, shelters etc): None at the Leopard put-in, Kendrick has excellent facilities and would make a logical place to focus floaters along this section of the TRWT. Potential Development 10. Potential Access Sites:

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appendices G. Inventory Data   

Public Many public ROWs exist and need to be investigated with the City Private Unknown

General Site Description: 11. Potential Day Use Sites: Public Private Description (acreage, topography, vegetation, accessibility, etc.): Existing City Park sites. 12. Potential Vicinity Recreation Destinations (existing trails, facilities etc): Existing City Pathway. Safety and Signage 13. Float Hazards Present (Describe): Again, this stretch has some of the most significant hazards of the entire proposed TRWT. Hazards present include all variety of riprap, strainers and large trees completely obstructing the entire river channel, irrigation diversion structures/dams, and the multiple drop structures at the confluence of Goose Creek. This is a stream stretch that needs much attention on the first mile or so to make it appropriate for most paddling abilities. Once into town limits, it’s a wonderful float opportunity that can still be improved. 14. Floating Season (Describe the best times of year for safe flow and hazard avoidance etc): During times of adequate and low flows, but absolutely not run-off flows. 15. Interpretation and Education Lots of opportunities to interpret themes from city park locations, something for everyone to think about. 16. Potential site of interest: Private Public Description: None Known 17. Notable features of site (plant/animal communities, archeological/historical, natural restoration/process etc):

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Appendices G. Inventory Data None. 18. Other observations: None. 1. Goose Creek Confluence to North Park 2. Overall Float Experience (brief description, considering difficulty/challenge, views, other recreation opportunities, detractions, ease of access etc.): From the confluence to North Park, Goose creek is located within an Army Corps of Engineer containment levee, and the result makes for a mostly predictable float experience. 3. Flatwater/Whitewater Conditions (Describe): Relatively flat water with a few riffle-runs. There is a single drop structure located near North Park that needs to be portaged. 4. Overall Difficulty/Boater Recommendation (check box):   

Beginner Pre-runoff, summer into fall with lower water levels and slower water Experienced Veteran

5. Level of Existing Use (Evidence of use etc.): Many sections of this stretch attract tubers through the summer, with some canoe and kayak use. 6. Restoration Opportunities (bank stabilization, bank armor, debris/hazard removal, weed control, native vegetation plantings etc): With the Army Corp levee, probably not many opportunities with this stretch. Existing Access and Infrastructure 7. Public Access:

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appendices G. Inventory Data  Yes Majority of this section is along the City pathway  No  Unknown 8. Please describe access site (vehicle access, parking, distance to water, ease of launching/bank condition, water depth etc): Access at Mill Park is OK, though parking is somewhat distant and not ideal. The bank is relatively steep, water is 1’-3’ and calm for put-in. 9. Describe existing facilities at access location (bathrooms, parking lot, signs, shelters etc): None, as Mill Park was under construction during this inventory float. Potential Development 10. Potential Access Sites:   

Public Private Unknown

General Site Description: 11. Potential Day Use Sites: Public Private Description (acreage, topography, vegetation, accessibility, etc.): Existing City Park sites. 12. Potential Vicinity Recreation Destinations (existing trails, facilities etc): Existing City Pathway. Safety and Signage 13. Float Hazards Present (Describe): The only hazard worth noting is a irrigation drop structure near the North Park access.

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Appendices G. Inventory Data 14. Floating Season (Describe the best times of year for safe flow and hazard avoidance etc): During times of adequate and low flows. 15. Interpretation and Education Unknown. 16. Potential site of interest: Private Public Description: None Known 17. Notable features of site (plant/animal communities, archeological/historical, natural restoration/process etc): None. 18. Other observations: None. 1. Goose Creek North Park to Highway 339 4.6 Mile Shuttle, 7.7 Mile Paddle, 2 hour duration at ~320 cfs (Monarch) with light paddling 2. Overall Float Experience (brief description, considering difficulty/challenge, views, other recreation opportunities, detractions, ease of access etc.): This segment of Goose Creek is a mess. Going from Industrial to Residential to Agriculture the water level view scape consists primarily of man-made structures and stabilization attempts using any and all varieties of rubbish. Very few areas appear natural with nearly all observable surfaces negatively disturbed in one way or another. Access-Easy In from low grass bench- North Park Access Area, Canfield Street, North Sheridan Moderately Easy Out on the left bank just under the Hwy 339 Bridge. Paddlock Ranch Difficulty-

Areas of riffling exists. Mostly 1 main path with small braided channels clogged with debris appearing on the sides.

3. Flatwater/Whitewater Conditions (Describe):

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appendices G. Inventory Data 1st Portion of Segment- Faster water with riffles and hazards from downed trees. Rest of Segment- Presents a combination of faster areas where flow is necked down and slower sections where river opens up. 4. Overall Difficulty/Boater Recommendation (check box):   x

Beginner Experienced Veteran

5. Level of Existing Use (Evidence of use etc.): The level of use is intensive throughout this segment from the industrial to the residential to the agricultural. 6. Restoration Opportunities (bank stabilization, bank armor, debris/hazard removal, weed control, native vegetation plantings etc): There are few places that wouldn’t benefit from a complete overhaul. The amount of stabilization efforts using waste materials is overwhelming. Cattle appear to have free range along most of the banks in the last half of the segment. Existing Access and Infrastructure 7. Public Access:   

Yes - put-in No - private take-out Unknown

8. Please describe access site (vehicle access, parking, distance to water, ease of launching/bank condition, water depth etc): Parking is available but tight with trailer. Parking along left fence avoids blocking landowner’s driveway in the small provided parking lot. Carry boats approx. 100 yards to a nice staging area on the grassy, low benches at the water’s edge. Easy launch into somewhat shallow, moving water. 9. Describe existing facilities at access location (bathrooms, parking lot, signs, shelters etc):

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Appendices G. Inventory Data Pathway Area, signed well. Amenities just up street in restaurants, gas stations & retail stores. Potential Development 10. Potential Access Sites:  x 

Public Private Unknown

General Site Description: 11. Potential Day Use Sites: Public Private Description (acreage, topography, vegetation, accessibility, etc.): KOA Campground Property- Potential as a marketing option for KOA & SCLT. Rice & Sons Property- Potential as alternative put-in to avoid the mess of the first half of this segment. Several possibilities- Off Higby Road or possibly off Wild Hollow Road. 12. Potential Vicinity Recreation Destinations (existing trails, facilities etc): North Park Pathway System Safety and Signage 13. Float Hazards Present (Describe): Hazards present in the form of snags, strainers and log jams. No fences encountered. Can be difficult to see if not paying attention and may be tough to maneuver in flows greater than 340 cfs. See Map and Photos. 14. Floating Season (Describe the best times of year for safe flow and hazard avoidance etc): Aside from the natural hazards and the debris, this section could be floated any season when flow is adequate. Adequate flow is yet to be determined?? 15. Interpretation and Education This segment could be a poster child for river restoration, should anyone care to take it on. Also could be used as an educational opportunity of what not to do and

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appendices G. Inventory Data how poorly our rivers are treated. 16. Potential site of interest: Private Public Description: None Known 17. Notable features of site (plant/animal communities, archeological/historical, natural restoration/process etc): None. 18. Other observations: None. 1. Highway 339 to Goose Creek Culverts and Tongue River Confluence 2. Overall Float Experience (brief description, considering difficulty/challenge, views, other recreation opportunities, detractions, ease of access etc.): This is a fun section to float for a wide variety of ages. This is a private access put-in site and advance permission is required by the landowner. The take-out is private as well, but currently access is granted by the landowner with an indemnification form. While there are a number of minor hazards, this is an excellent short float for a wide range of paddlers. 3. Flatwater/Whitewater Conditions (Describe): Moderate water flow with riffles and routine gradual descent. 4. Overall Difficulty/Boater Recommendation (check box): x x 

Beginner Experienced Veteran

5. Level of Existing Use (Evidence of use etc.): Not much use along this stretch due to private put-in site.

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Appendices G. Inventory Data 6. Restoration Opportunities (bank stabilization, bank armor, debris/hazard removal, weed control, native vegetation plantings etc): Definitely a few areas that could benefit from bank stabilization efforts as well as a T-post and I-beams that could be removed to eliminate hazard potential. Existing Access and Infrastructure 7. Public Access:   

Yes Take-out private with permission form No Put-in private w/o any formal permission process Unknown

8. Please describe access site (vehicle access, parking, distance to water, ease of launching/bank condition, water depth etc): Private agricultural field with a gate for entry. Room for parking and vehicle turn-around in pasture. Somewhat steep bank with a small ledge at the waters edge for fairly easy entry. 9. Describe existing facilities at access location (bathrooms, parking lot, signs, shelters etc): None. Potential Development 10. Potential Access Sites:   

Public Private Put-in could potentially be streamlined with landowners permission. Unknown

General Site Description: 11. Potential Day Use Sites: Public Private Description (acreage, topography, vegetation, accessibility, etc.): Platchett Pit is along this stretch and would make for a wonderful day-use site on existing gravel or sand bars. This section is very close to town and roads, but

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appendices G. Inventory Data remarkably solitary in nature. 12. Potential Vicinity Recreation Destinations (existing trails, facilities etc): None. Safety and Signage 13. Float Hazards Present (Describe): Hazards present in the form of fencing components, old mining debris, and a few snags in the river. 14. Floating Season (Describe the best times of year for safe flow and hazard avoidance etc): Aside from the natural hazards and the debris, this section could be floated any season when flow is adequate. 15. Interpretation and Education To be researched. 16. Potential site of interest: Private Public Description: None Known 17. Notable features of site (plant/animal communities, archeological/historical, natural restoration/process etc): None. 18. Other observations:

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Appendices H. Sheridan County Access Legal Questions and Answers Thursday, November 6, 2014 9:11 AM

Thursday, November 6, 2014 10:50 AM

Subject: County Road / Stream Intersec6ons  Date: Friday, September 26, 2014 2:09 PM  From: Lynn Smith <lsmith@sheridancounty.com>  To: Colin Betzler <director@sheridanclt.org>  Cc: Ken Muller <kmuller@sheridancounty.com>, "MaK Redle (mredle@sheridancounty.com)"  <mredle@sheridancounty.com>   

Subject: County Right‐of‐Way Easement Clarifica<on  Date: Friday, May 30, 2014 4:24 PM  From: Colin Betzler <director@sheridanclt.org>  To: Lynn Smith <lsmith@sheridancounty.com>  Cc: Terry Cram <tcram@sheridancounty.com>, Ken Muller <kmuller@sheridancounty.com>, "Weiner, Gary"  <gary_weiner@nps.gov>   

Hi Lynn,    I’m wriRng you aSer making an iniRal inquiry on this subject to Mark Reid, Ken Muller, and  Commissioner Cram.    SCLT has been working with the NaRonal Park Service Rivers/Trails/ConservaRon Assistance  Program (Gary Weiner CC’d) to complete a Water Trail Assessment, starRng with stretches  idenRfied for Water Trail consideraRon in the county’s 2008 Comprehensive Plan.  The basic  idea is to guide future investment in our floatable creeks/rivers so that recreaRonists can enjoy  a safe experience while having a clear idea of expectaRons in regards to difficulty and logisRcs.   To‐date, we have inventoried exisRng condiRons on roughly 70 navigable miles of the Tongue  River and Goose Creek systems.      As part of the assessment, we are idenRfying a number of recreaRon‐related aeributes,  including exisRng legal access sites for put‐in/take‐out and parking.    We are requesRng guidance from the County on how to correctly classify access where county  roads intersect the Tongue River.  From the iniRal research we’ve completed, it sounds like  these are classified as “right of way easements” without specific language on their use to gain  access to public water.  We’ve also looked at the Day v. Armstrong case which appears to  suggest that recreaRonists might have rights of ingress/ egress over private property as  necessary to reach usable waterways, regardless of public rights of way etc.    Thoughts?      The following county road/Tongue River intersecRons are of parRcular interest in regards to  this request for clarificaRon: Halfway CR 71, Kooi CR 93, Slater Creek CR 1239 (unconfirmed  intersecRon with Tongue River), and Kleenburn CR 106.    We hope to wrap up the assessment by the end of summer.     Thanks for your Rme on this,  Colin    Page 1 of 2

Page 106

Hi Colin,  I am wriRng in response to your email dated May 30, 2014, in which you asked for  guidance regarding legal access for put‐in / take‐out and parking where county  roads intersect the Tongue River.  Generally, the point where a county road crosses  a stream can be used as an access point for the stream as long as there is no  restricRon on the use / scope / character of the county road.      With regard to the specific roads menRoned in your email, and which are sRll  classified as county roads (CR #71 (Halfway Lane / Bingham Road), CR #93 (Kooi  Road), & CR #1239 (Higby North / Slater Creek Lane)), there are no restricRons on  their use.  Thus, accessing the Tongue River at the point of intersecRon with these  county roads is not prohibited.  However, physical access to the Tongue River at  these points may be problemaRc where the road has a steep drop off, soa  shoulder, etc.  Also, parking will need to be addressed by Public Works /  Engineering  / BOCC on a case by case basis as issues arise.        Finally, I want to clarify that this is only an opinion of the County AKorney’s Office  and it does not have the force of law.  Should landowners, or other enRty with  legal standing, challenge the legality of access the courts would determine the  access allowed at these intersecRons.     I am sorry about the delay in responding to your request.  You were very paRent  and it was appreciated.  Feel free to contact me with any addiRonal quesRons or if  you need further informaRon.  Thanks,  LYNN      

Page 1 of 1


appendices I. Wyoming Stream Access Case Law Excerpt – Summary of Armstrong v Day Day v. Armstrong, 362 P.2d 137 (Wyo. 1961) Nos. 2961, 2966. Supreme Court of Wyoming. Plaintiff in March, 1958, sought judgment declaring his rights and those of the *139 public, under applicable provisions of the Federal Constitution, the State Constitution, the laws of Wyoming, and judicial decisions, to go upon the channel, between its high water marks, and to float upon the waters of the North Platte River where it flows upon and across defendants’ lands. Defendants denied plaintiff’s and the public’s right to either use the channel or to float upon the waters of the river as they crossed their lands, but joined in asking a declaratory judgment. During the course of the action, the Thirty-Fifth State Legislature enacted Ch. 205, S.L. of Wyoming, 1959, §§ 41-527, 41-528, W.S. 1957 (1959 Supp.), the first section of which provides as follows: “§ 41-527. Floating persons and property by boat, canoe or raft on streams. — Persons and their property may only float by boat, canoe or raft for any lawful purpose down that part of any stream in the State of Wyoming where the records of the state engineer for the ten years preceding such floating show that part of the stream to have had an average flow of water for the month of July exceeding 1,000 cubic feet per second, and it shall be unlawful to obstruct or prevent such use of such stream, except only so far as may be necessary for the protection of installations now existing or hereinafter ordered constructed by authority of the state board of control in furtherance of the beneficial uses of water; and providing further, that nothing herein shall be construed as preventing such fencing by those invested with property rights and the enjoyment thereof as shall not interfere with such floating. It shall be unlawful for any person floating any stream to go upon, shoot over or into, except with the permission of the owner of such property, or damage or litter property on either side of the waters of such stream. In enforcing this act [§§ 41-527, 41-528], the records of the state engineer shall be conclusive in any trial in any court of the State of Wyoming in determining the flow of any stream. (Laws 1959, ch. 205, § 1.)” After the passage of this legislation, the intervening parties filed their motion for summary judgment. This was denied by the court which granted the intervenors an exception. Thereafter the matter being submitted on stipulation of facts and arguments as to applicable law, the court found there was a justiciable controversy and a class action for a declaratory determination of the legal rights, duties and obligations of the parties; found generally for the plaintiff and intervenors and against the defendants; then declared: “* * * that the Plaintiff, and all others similarly situated as a class and the Intervenors, have the public rights and privilege of using the bed, channel and water of the North Platte River as it flows through the lands of the Defendants for the following purposes, and that the Defendants shall not fence or use said bed and channel, or any part thereof, so as to interfere with any of the following public purposes to-wit: “(a) The right to fish from a boat, or while wading or walking, so long as those exercising the right stay in and upon the river bed or well-defined channel, and have

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Appendices H. Wyoming Stream Access Case Law Excerpt – Summary of Armstrong v Day the proper license and permission of the State of Wyoming; “(b) The right to walk for any lawful purpose in and upon said channel or bed; “(c) The right to boat and float on the water in and upon said channel; *140 “(d) The right to hunt in and upon said bed and channel when hunting is permitted by the State and within the licensed authority given by the State. “It is, further ordered that said public rights of the Plaintiff, and others similarly situated, shall not embrace the right to camp within and upon said bed and channel or use the same for recreation other than enumerated above. “It is, further, ordered, adjudged and decreed that any part or parts of Chapter 205 of the Session Laws of Wyoming, 1959, which limit or prohibit the exercise by the Plaintiff of the rights above mentioned is unconstitutional and, therefore, void and of no effect upon the public rights enumerated herein.” In conclusion, while we recognize the legislative right to regulate within constitutional limits the floating, as well as other uses of public waters, until such time as regulations are promulgated we hold: That the portion of the river in dispute is nonnavigable; that its riparian owners have title to the bed and channel of the river, but that this title is subject to an easement for a right of way of the river’s waters in their natural channel through, over and across defendants’ lands; that the waters of the river are the property of the State and are held by it in trust for the equal use and benefit of the public; that the waters of the river may be used by the public for floating usable craft therein or thereon and for transporting in such usable craft persons or property; that as an incident to the full enjoyment and use of the State’s easement for its waters over and across the lands held in private ownership, persons so floating in usable craft may, when necessary, disembark and walk, or wade upon submerged lands in order to pull, push, or carry craft over or across shallows, riffles, rapids or obstructions; that while so floating in usable craft, the public may fish or hunt or do any and all other things which are not otherwise made unlawful, but that the State is without power to authorize the violation of any property rights of riparian or other owners except as incident to the full exercise of easement to which property may be subject; that the waters of the river, if capable thereof, may also be used for transporting logs, ties, timber and other material when permitted by State law; that riparian owners of lands bordering upon or through which the river flows may not in any manner obstruct the flow of the river’s waters so as to interfere with or prevent the free passage of any craft used commercially or for recreation or for floating ties, logs, or timber; that Ch. 205, S.L. of Wyoming, 1959, now §§ 41-527, 41-528, W.S. 1957 (1959 Supp.), is unconstitutional as being vague, uncertain, ambiguous and subjecting to its penalty the violation of provisions of the Act which are neither made unlawful nor prohibited; and that the judgment appealed from must be reversed insofar as it permits unrestricted walking or wading in or upon the bed or channel of the river and that the judgment of the lower court be vacated in this respect.

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appendices None.

I. Montana Stream Access Law

TITLE 23. PARKS, RECREATION, SPORTS, AND GAMBLING 
CHAPTER 2. RECREATION 23-2-301. Definitions. For purposes of this part, the following definitions apply: 
 (1) “Barrier” means an artificial obstruction located in or over a water body, restricting passage on or through the water, that totally or effectively obstructs the recreational use of the surface water at the time of use. A barrier may include but is not limited to a bridge or fence or any other artificial obstacle to the natural flow of water. 
 (2) “Class I waters” means surface waters, other than lakes, that: 
 (a) lie within the officially recorded federal government survey meander lines of the waters; 
 (b) flow over lands that have been judicially determined to be owned by the state by reason of application of the federal navigability test for state streambed ownership; 
 (c) are or have been capable of supporting the following commercial activities: log floating, transportation of furs and skins, shipping, commercial guiding using multiperson watercraft, public transportation, or the transportation of merchandise, as these activities have been defined by published judicial opinion as of April 19, 1985; or 
 (d) are or have been capable of supporting commercial activity within the meaning of the federal navigability test for state streambed ownership. 
 (3) “Class II waters” means all surface waters that are not class I waters, except lakes. 
 (4) “Commission” means the fish and wildlife commission provided for in 2-15-3402. 
 (5) “Department” means the department of fish, wildlife, and parks provided for in 2-15-3401. 
 (6) “Diverted away from a natural water body” means a diversion of surface water through a constructed water conveyance system, including but not limited to: 
 (a) an irrigation or drainage canal or ditch; 
 (b) an industrial, municipal, or domestic water system, excluding the lake, stream, or reservoir from which the system obtains water; 
 (c) a flood control channel; or 
 (d) a hydropower inlet and discharge facility. 
 (7) “Lake” means a body of water where the surface water is retained by either natural or artificial means and the natural flow of water is substantially impeded. 
 (8) “Occupied dwelling” means a building used for a human dwelling at least once a year. 
 (9) “Ordinary high-water mark” means the line that water impresses on land by covering it for sufficient periods to cause physical characteristics that distinguish the area below the line from the area above it. Characteristics of the area below the line include, when appropriate, but are not limited to deprivation of the soil of substantially all terrestrial vegetation and destruction of its agricultural vegetative value. A flood plain adjacent to surface waters is not considered to lie within the surface waters’ high-water marks. 
 (10) “Recreational use” means with respect to surface waters: fishing, hunting, swimming, floating in small craft or other flotation devices, boating in motorized craft unless otherwise prohibited or regulated by law, or craft propelled by oar or paddle, other water-related pleasure activities, and related unavoidable or incidental uses. 
 (11) “Supervisors” means the board of supervisors of a soil conservation district, the directors of a grazing district, or the board of county commissioners if a request pursuant to 23-2-311(3)(b) is not within the boundaries of a conservation district or if the request is refused by the board of supervisors of a soil conservation district or the directors of a grazing district. 
 (12) “Surface water” means, for the purpose of determining the public’s access for recreational use, a natural water body, its bed, and its banks up to the ordinary high-water mark. 23-2-301. Definitions. For purposes of this part, the following definitions apply: 
 (1) “Barrier” means an artificial obstruction located in or over a water body, restricting passage on or through the water, that totally or effectively obstructs the recreational use of the surface water at the time of use. A barrier may include

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Appendices I. Montana Stream Access Law but is not limited to a bridge or fence or any other artificial obstacle to the natural flow of water. 
 (2) “Class I waters” means surface waters, other than lakes, that: 
 (a) lie within the officially recorded federal government survey meander lines of the waters; 
 (b) flow over lands that have been judicially determined to be owned by the state by reason of application of the federal navigability test for state streambed ownership; 
 (c) are or have been capable of supporting the following commercial activities: log floating, transportation of furs and skins, shipping, commercial guiding using multiperson watercraft, public transportation, or the transportation of merchandise, as these activities have been defined by published judicial opinion as of April 19, 1985; or 
 (d) are or have been capable of supporting commercial activity within the meaning of the federal navigability test for state streambed ownership. 
 (3) “Class II waters” means all surface waters that are not class I waters, except lakes. 
 (4) “Commission” means the fish and wildlife commission provided for in 2-15-3402. 
 (5) “Department” means the department of fish, wildlife, and parks provided for in 2-15-3401. 
 (6) “Diverted away from a natural water body” means a diversion of surface water through a constructed water conveyance system, including but not limited to: 
 (a) an irrigation or drainage canal or ditch; 
 (b) an industrial, municipal, or domestic water system, excluding the lake, stream, or reservoir from which the system obtains water; 
 (c) a flood control channel; or 
 (d) a hydropower inlet and discharge facility. 
 (7) “Lake” means a body of water where the surface water is retained by either natural or artificial means and the natural flow of water is substantially impeded. 
 (8) “Occupied dwelling” means a building used for a human dwelling at least once a year. 
 (9) “Ordinary high-water mark” means the line that water impresses on land by covering it for sufficient periods to cause physical characteristics that distinguish the area below the line from the area above it. Characteristics of the area below the line include, when appropriate, but are not limited to deprivation of the soil of substantially all terrestrial vegetation and destruction of its agricultural vegetative value. A flood plain adjacent to surface waters is not considered to lie within the surface waters’ high-water marks. 
 (10) “Recreational use” means with respect to surface waters: fishing, hunting, swimming, floating in small craft or other flotation devices, boating in motorized craft unless otherwise prohibited or regulated by law, or craft propelled by oar or paddle, other water-related pleasure activities, and related unavoidable or incidental uses. 
 (11) “Supervisors” means the board of supervisors of a soil conservation district, the directors of a grazing district, or the board of county commissioners if a request pursuant to 23-2-311(3)(b) is not within the boundaries of a conservation district or if the request is refused by the board of supervisors of a soil conservation district or the directors of a grazing district. 
 (12) “Surface water” means, for the purpose of determining the public’s access for recreational use, a natural water body, its bed, and its banks up to the ordinary high-water mark. 23-2-309. Land title unaffected. The provisions of this part and the recreational uses permitted by 23-2-302 do not affect the title or ownership of the surface waters, the beds, and the banks of any navigable or nonnavigable waters or the portage routes within this state. 23-2-310. Lakes. Nothing contained in this part addresses the recreational use of surface waters of lakes. 23-2-311. Right to portage -- establishment of portage route. (1) A member of the public making recreational use of surface waters may, above the ordinary highwater mark, portage around barriers in the least intrusive manner possible, avoiding damage to the landowner’s land and violation of the landowner’s rights. 


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appendices

I. Montana Stream Access Law (2) A landowner may create barriers across streams for purposes of land or water management or to establish land ownership as otherwise provided by law. If a landowner erects a structure that does not interfere with the public’s use of the surface waters, the public may not go above the ordinary high-water mark to portage around the structure. 
 (3) (a) A portage route around or over a barrier may be established to avoid damage to the landowner’s land and violation of the landowner’s rights, as well as to provide a reasonable and safe route for the recreational user of the surface waters. 
 (b) A portage route may be established when either a landowner or a member of the recreating public submits a request to the supervisors that a route be established. 
 (c) Within 45 days of the receipt of a request, the supervisors shall, in consultation with the landowner and a representative of the department, examine and investigate the barrier and the adjoining land to determine a reasonable and safe portage route. 
 (d) Within 45 days of the examination of the site, the supervisors shall make a written finding of the most appropriate portage route. 
 (e) The cost of establishing the portage route around artificial barriers must be borne by the involved landowner, except for the construction of notification signs of the route, which is the responsibility of the department. The cost of establishing a portage route around artificial barriers not owned by the landowner on whose land the portage route will be placed must be borne by the department. 
 (f) Once the route is established, the department has the exclusive responsibility to maintain the portage route at reasonable times agreeable to the landowner. The department shall post notices on the stream of the existence of the portage route and the public’s obligation to use it as the exclusive means around a barrier. 
 (g) If either the landowner or the recreationist disagrees with the route described in subsection (3)(e), the person may petition the district court to name a three-member arbitration panel. The panel must consist of an affected landowner, a member of an affected recreational group, and a member selected by the two other members of the arbitration panel. The arbitration panel may accept, reject, or modify the supervisors’ finding under subsection (3)(d). 
 (h) The determination of the arbitration panel is binding upon the landowner and upon all parties that use the water for which the portage is provided. Costs of the arbitration panel, computed as for jurors’ fees under 3-15-201, must be borne by the contesting party or parties. All other parties shall bear their own costs. 
 (i) The determination of the arbitration panel may be appealed within 30 days to the district court. 
 (j) Once a portage route is established, the public shall use the portage route as the exclusive means to portage around or over the barrier. 
 (4) This part does not address the issue of natural barriers or portage around the barriers, and this part does not make the portage lawful or unlawful. 23-2-312. Access to surface waters by public bridge or county road right-of-way. (1) A person may gain access to surface waters for recreational use by using: 
 (a) a public bridge, its right-of-way, and its abutments; and 
 (b) a county road right-of-way. 
 (2) When accessing surface waters pursuant to subsection (1), a person shall stay within the road or bridge right-of-way. Absent definition in an easement or deed to the contrary, the width of a bridge right-of-way is the same width as the right-of-way of the road to which the bridge is attached. 
 (3) The provisions in 7-14-2134, 23-2-313, and this section related to public access to surface waters for recreational use neither create nor extinguish any right related to county roads established by prescriptive use that exist on April 13, 2009. 
 (4) For purposes of determining liability, a person accessing surface waters for recreational use pursuant to this section is owed no duty by a landowner or an agent or tenant of that landowner other than for an act or omission that constitutes willful or wanton misconduct.

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Appendices I. Montana Stream Access Law 
 23-2-313. Fencing for livestock control and public passage -- negotiation -- costs. (1) At county road bridges for which public access is authorized pursuant to 23-2-312, each fence attached to or abutting a county road bridge edge, guardrail, or abutment for livestock control or for property management pursuant to 7-14-2134(4) must provide for public passage to surface waters for recreational use pursuant to this section. 
 (2) (a) If a dispute arises regarding public passage pursuant to subsection (1), the department, pursuant to the department’s policy in 87-1-229 to work with private land managers to resolve and reduce user conflicts, shall negotiate with the affected landowner regarding the characteristics of an access feature of a legal fence for public passage and livestock control or property management. Examples of an access feature of a legal fence that provides public passage and livestock control or property management may include: 
 (i) a stile; 
 (ii) a gate; 
 (iii) a roller; 
 (iv) a walkover; 
 (v) a wooden rail fence that provides for passage; or 
 (vi) any other method designed for public passage and livestock control or property management. 
 (b) One access feature, as described in subsection (2)(a), on each side of the stream is sufficient. When practicable, one access feature must be located on the downstream bridge edge, guardrail, or abutment. The department may waive these provisions when one access feature is sufficient. 
 (c) If the landowner and the department cannot reach agreement within 60 days after the department’s initial contact with the landowner for negotiation, the department shall provide the landowner with options for methods to provide public passage while controlling livestock or managing property. If the landowner does not choose one of the method options within 30 days after the options are offered, the department shall choose and then may install one of the method options. 
 (3) The department, in cooperation with other interested parties, shall provide the materials, installation, and maintenance of any fence modifications necessary to provide public passage as required by this section. 23-2-321. Restriction on liability of landowner and supervisor. (1) A person who makes recreational use of surface waters flowing over or through land in the possession or under the control of another, pursuant to 23-2-302, or land while portaging around or over barriers or while portaging or using portage routes, pursuant to 23-2-311, is owed no duty by a landowner, the landowner’s agent, or the landowner’s tenant other than that provided in subsection (2). 
 (2) A landowner, the landowner’s agent, or tenant is liable to a person making recreational use of waters or land described in subsection (1) only for an act or omission that constitutes willful or wanton misconduct. 
 (3) A supervisor or any member of the arbitration panel who participates in a decision regarding the placement of a portage route is not liable to a person who is injured or whose property is damaged because of placement or use of the portage route except for an act or omission that constitutes willful and wanton misconduct. 23-2-322. Prescriptive easement not acquired by recreational use of surface waters. (1) A prescriptive easement is a right to use the property of another that is acquired by open, exclusive, notorious, hostile, adverse, continuous, and uninterrupted use for a period of 5 years. 
 (2) A prescriptive easement cannot be acquired through: 
 (a) recreational use of surface waters, including: 
 (i) the streambeds underlying them; 
 (ii) the banks up to the ordinary high-water mark; or 
 (iii) any portage over and around barriers; or 
 (b) the entering or crossing of private property to reach surface waters.

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appendices J. Survey Data What is your average group paddling size? (people, not boats)

What is your preferred method for floating local streams and rivers? (check all that apply)

2.1%

2.1%

45.0% 40.0% 35.0% 30.0%

1-2 3-6 7-10 More than 10

43.8%

25.0% 20.0% 52.1%

15.0% 10.0% 5.0% 0.0% Other

Which of the following rivers or streams in the area do you paddle?

Annually (generally 1x/year)

Big Goose Creek City Limits

Tongue River - Decker Road/Welch to MT Border

Tongue River - Ranchester to Acme

Tongue River - Canyon to Dayton

Occasionally (once every few years)

100.0% 90.0% 80.0% 70.0% 60.0% 50.0% 40.0% 30.0% 20.0% 10.0% 0.0% Other (please specify)

Frequently (at least 2x/year)

Swimming opportunities

90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0

What do you like best about your experience floating the Tongue River and/or Big/ Little Goose Creeks? (check all that apply)

Solitude

Inner-tube

Ease of access

Raft

Fishing

Kayak

Scenery

Canoe

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Appendices J. Survey Data What improvements would you like to see in your float experience on the Tongue River and/or Big/Little Goose Creeks? 60.0% 50.0% 40.0% 30.0% 20.0% 10.0% 0.0%

How important is it to have access to land-based day use sites while floating the Tongue River and/or Big/Little Goose Creeks?

16.0%

Real-time float trip conditions allowing for post-trip input/

Improved bank stability

Improved Water quality

Additional linkages to land-based recreation

Signage for recreational boaters

Access to facilities (bathrooms)

Improvements to existing access sites

37.5%

If you selected "very important" or "somewhat important" to the previous question, what activities and/or facilities would you like to have available? (Check all that apply)

Very Important Somewhat Important Not important

46.5%

How important is it to have opportunities to camp while floating the Tongue River and/or Big/Little Goose Creeks?

16.7%

80.0% 70.0% 60.0% 50.0% 40.0% 30.0% 20.0% 10.0% 0.0%

40.3%

Very important Somewhat important Not very important

43.1% Hiking

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Picnicking

Birdwatching

Shade trees Rain shelters Restrooms Road access


appendices J. Survey Data If a real-time float-dedicated website was available for trip planning and monitoring paddling conditions on the Tongue River and Big/Little Goose Creeks, would you use it ?

What facilities would you like to see available at a camping site? (Check all that apply)

90.0% 80.0% 70.0% 60.0% 50.0% 40.0% 30.0% 20.0% 10.0% 0.0%

24.6% Yes No Maybe

6.3% 69.0% Restroom

Shade trees Rain Shelter

Campfire ring/grate

Picnic table

Access to road

Improved land/launch site

How much do you typically spend on each paddle/float trip on the Tongue River and/ or Big/Little Goose Creeks? Consider expenses such as gas, food and drink, maps and equipment.

How many years of paddling/floating experience do you have?

6.3%

17.5%

15.2%

25.9% Less than $20 $20-$50 $50-$100 More than $100

Less than 1 year 1-5 years More than 5 years

49.7% 35.2%

50.3%

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Appendices J. Survey Data Would you describe yourself as a (n):

21.4%

Last year, how many floating/paddling trips did you take within 20 miles of where you live?

6.9%

21.4% Avid Paddler Recreation Paddler Novice Paddler

25.5%

0-3 4-10 More than 10

67.6% 57.2%

Last year, how many paddling trips did you take more than 20 miles from where you live?

On your average paddle/float outing, how long is your typical trip length? 1.4%

0.7%

15.3%

12.4%

25.5% 62.1%

Less than half-day Less than full-day 1-2 days 3-4 days More than 4 days

0-1 2-4 More than 4

64.6%

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18.1%


appendices

J. Survey Data

What is your gender?

Where do you live? Big Horn

2.8%

2.1%

7.6%

1.4%

9.7%

Clearmont Dayton

7.6%

Sheridan

42.4%

Story

57.6%

Female Male

Ranchester

69.0%

Other location in Sheridan County Outside of Sheridan County

Age Class 0.7% 11.9%

7.0% 9.8%

17.5%

12.6%

11.2% 29.4%

Under 18 18-25 26-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 70+

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Appendices J. Survey Data

Sheridan County Water Trail Assessment What segments would you like to see additional access points for? (Please be specific) answered question skipped question

42 104

42 104

Number Response Date Response Text 1 Jun 2, 2014 2:59 PM Hal way between canyon and dayton somewhere 2 Jun 2, 2014 2:59 PM Hal way between canyon and dayton somewhere 3 Jun 2, 2014 2:10 PM I don't know 4 Jun 1, 2014 7:00 AM Getting out of the water at Decker is challenging. Improvement there would be nice. 5 May 30, 2014 10:17 PM N/A 6 May 30, 2014 3:46 AM Emerson park 7 May 29, 2014 5:39 PM None 8 May 29, 2014 2:58 AM Kendrick park 9 May 23, 2014 10:26 PM Welsh to tongue river res. 10 May 23, 2014 9:49 PM Big Goose From out Loucks to Kendrick. I would also like to see the river underneath Lewis Bridge to be floatable/safe. 11 May 16, 2014 8:54 PM I'm commenting here because there's no place else to let you know we usually go from Halfway lane to points downstream and the access there is ok. We rarely go from Dayton due to all the fences.. 12 May 16, 2014 1:23 AM Goose creek city limits 13 May 15, 2014 11:24 PM More access points between Acme and bridge takeout on Decker Road. 14 May 8, 2014 3:51 PM None 15 May 7, 2014 2:41 AM It would be great to have a bike path nearby so we could ride along the river too! We could then ride with our tubes along the river an put in and play! Children would have access to biking by the river too! 16 May 6, 2014 6:51 PM none 17 May 6, 2014 4:22 PM None 18 May 2, 2014 8:36 PM Goose Creek to Montana Border. Numerous times I have trespassed just to get a boat out of the water. Would be better if that wasn't part of the experience. There is a point where old Decker highway is very close to the river upstream from Thunder Child (at house with lots of old junk in field). This could be a good access point. 19 May 1, 2014 4:11 AM The area through town from Kendrick Park to the KOA. It's very dangerous with lots of old stream stabilization trash. 20 Apr 30, 2014 8:02 PM Goose Creek at Acme avoiding rip rap at input

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appendices J. Survey Data 21 Apr 30, 2014 5:52 PM All segments listed in question 3. Also, I would like to see the Powder River added to the list of options in Sheridan County. 22 Apr 29, 2014 11:54 PM None. 23 Apr 29, 2014 7:25 PM Between Decker Road and reservoir 24 Apr 29, 2014 5:38 PM I generally want to know where the access points are for good floats. Also along the Tongue, good access points that wont upset land owners. 25 Apr 29, 2014 3:47 AM It would be nice if an alternative access could be developed to make floating the Tongue to Welch easier. The float thru the Power Plant near the Acme is hazardous due to debris in the river and the Access near the culverts on Goose Creek is less than ideal being on a steep, rip rapped bank with swift current and no place to stage boats. There are several ideal possible locations just downstream from the culverts on Goose Creek that could be considered. I'll provide SCLT with more infromation on these alternatives later. Another access point that might be considered for a shorter float experience on the Acme to Welch segment would be the Kewitt Bridge. I'll share more info on this also with SCLT later. 26 Apr 29, 2014 2:07 AM Dayton to Ranchester 27 Apr 28, 2014 11:48 PM Access close to or within Sheridan city limits for day use. 28 Apr 27, 2014 2:09 PM big & little goose outside of sheridan, thru Sheridan, and back outside of sheridan 29 Apr 25, 2014 3:13 PM All 30 Apr 25, 2014 2:18 PM It would be nice to have public access/stopovers on average every 4-5 river miles or within 1.5 hours float time. 31 Apr 25, 2014 12:06 AM canyon to acme 32 Apr 24, 2014 9:07 PM on Tongue between Acme and decker road, it's a very long float, esp. if wind blowing 33 Apr 24, 2014 1:35 PM Goose Creek 34 Apr 24, 2014 12:26 PM Upper little goose 35 Apr 24, 2014 12:11 PM Big Goose Creek upstream of Kendrick park, Big Goose Creek in Beckton 36 Apr 24, 2014 4:08 AM handicapped areas 37 Apr 24, 2014 3:07 AM monarch, between ranchester & acme 38 Apr 16, 2014 10:10 PM Access to Goose Creek at Acme is difficult. 39 Apr 16, 2014 3:27 PM Decker bridge to TR Res. is pretty long. A take-out / put-in between the bridge and res. would be nice. Also, the culvert put-in on the Acme Tongue is bad. Provide a put-in on the Kleenburn Rec. Area and remove diversion dam and conveyer support at old power plant. 40 Apr 15, 2014 11:49 PM Big Goose and Little Goose Creeks upstream of City Limits ARE very limited for public access and floating capabilities due to land owners having a multitude of fencing across the water. 41 Apr 15, 2014 9:09 PM Dayton to Acme vicinity. Main stem of Goose Creek. 42 Apr 15, 2014 7:52 PM Tongue River from Ranchester to State line. Big Goose from T-T down to city limits, all of Little Goose

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Appendices J. Survey Data

Sheridan County Water Trail Assessment Would you consider floating segments of the Tongue or Big/Little Goose Creeks that you currently do not, if they were improved in some way? Please be specific. answered question skipped question

64 82

64 82

Number Response Date Response Text 1 Jun 2, 2014 2:59 PM Yes. 2 Jun 2, 2014 2:59 PM Yes. 3 Jun 2, 2014 2:10 PM Yes 4 Jun 2, 2014 1:34 AM Yes- want more info about good places to float!! 5 Jun 1, 2014 2:31 PM Possibly. 6 Jun 1, 2014 7:00 AM Water quality in the tongue river. Please please please. Also, all of the old cars in the river should be removed. I fell out of a canoe and had to get 22 stitches in my leg because I cut it on one of the cars. 7 May 30, 2014 10:17 PM N/A 8 May 30, 2014 3:46 AM No 9 May 30, 2014 12:41 AM Yes -- I have avoided routes within town limits because of past problems others have had with obstructions, avoiding bridges, etc. I don't get out of town much at all, and would love something easier to get to. Information on which improvements have been done or are planned and where would be very helpful. 10 May 29, 2014 6:26 PM Yes. 11 May 29, 2014 5:39 PM If more facilities were available (ie restrooms) I would be more likely to float all. 12 May 29, 2014 2:58 AM Family friendly access 13 May 24, 2014 3:32 AM Access 14 May 24, 2014 2:33 AM Definitely - they areas are dirty or trashy sometimes. 15 May 23, 2014 10:26 PM Sure, all of them. However, flow rates after July in most years would not allow even a canoe or inner tube to float 16 May 23, 2014 10:08 PM Yes. If I knew more about access and safety (for kids) 17 May 23, 2014 9:49 PM Yes. Sorry not very specific. :) 18 May 16, 2014 8:54 PM Would like to see fence removal that is across the river as well as the very hazardous fencing that has fallen into the river. Also, there are some pretty nasty car bodies that one of our party ended up having 18plus stitches after falling into the river and running into one.

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appendices J. Survey Data 19 May 16, 2014 1:23 AM Yes, I just don't know where to put in or take out. 20 May 15, 2014 11:24 PM Yes 21 May 15, 2014 8:27 PM Springtime floating Big Goose from the canyon through Beckton to the park 22 May 8, 2014 3:52 PM Yes 23 May 8, 2014 3:51 PM Cleaner 24 May 8, 2014 3:50 PM yes i would a lot more if there was no concrete or barbed wire blocking our path 25 May 7, 2014 11:56 AM If there were clearly marked access points with gentle slopes for easy access. Not sure of the legality of some access points at this time. 26 May 7, 2014 2:41 AM It would be fun to have some ripples or a wave or two to practice some kayak skills with on the river. These would also attract boaters who are a little more intent on challenge. Missoula has a wave right on their river downtown and it is a busy place for kayakers! 27 May 6, 2014 6:51 PM no 28 May 6, 2014 4:22 PM No. We like it the way it is 29 May 6, 2014 10:15 AM I would just like to see more bank stabilization 30 May 5, 2014 10:58 PM One of my biggest concerns with floating Big Goose and Little Goose is the high E. coli counts that have been reported in recent years. 31 May 5, 2014 9:20 PM Mostly just information about what is floatable and not blocked by fencing, etc. 32 May 2, 2014 8:36 PM There are a huge number of dangerous fences and trees hanging over Little Goose River starting in Big Horn and going toward Sheridan. I tried to canoe this once during spring runoff and nearly died. Much safer and slower and more free flowing floating once you get into Sheridan. There are a few obstacles like diversion dams on Tongue River that could be removed. 33 May 1, 2014 4:11 AM Yes, take away the fences and other obstacles. We need a kayak park near the Lewis Street bridge 34 Apr 30, 2014 8:56 PM Yes! If I had more information about access points and general information about float lengths/time/access locations 35 Apr 30, 2014 8:02 PM Yes, with removal of abandoned infrastructure hazards, fences and diversions, and better access. 36 Apr 30, 2014 5:52 PM Yes.u I would be interested in floating all the segments in question 3 except those segments in the city limits of Sheridan. 37 Apr 29, 2014 11:54 PM None. 38 Apr 29, 2014 7:25 PM Yes. I don't go to those areas, mostly because I am not familiar with access or conditions. So if I had that info, I might go there. 39 Apr 29, 2014 5:38 PM Of course. Interested in floating all of them. Flow is important, so removal of sweepers and debris would be nice. 40 Apr 29, 2014 2:43 PM WATER QUALITY ON THE LITTLE GOOSE!!!! 41 Apr 29, 2014 12:26 PM Yes, removal of stream hazards (fences) 42 Apr 29, 2014 3:47 AM I think Big Goose would be a fun and enjoyable float if the hazards from trees on the upper portion of the river could be cleaned up.

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Appendices J. Survey Data 43 44

Apr 29, 2014 2:07 AM better access where you felt like you weren't trespassingâ&#x20AC;Ś remove barbed wire Apr 28, 2014 11:48 PM "Removal of fencing across the Tongue River from Dayton to Acme.

Removal of hazards on Big/Little Goose to improve safety" 45 Apr 25, 2014 7:48 PM I believe that additional access would help tremendously and have that information on a website which be be easily available. 46 Apr 25, 2014 3:13 PM Yes. Established access points with day use and/or camping areas would make floating area rivers much more enjoyable. Children don't want to be in the boat the entire trip; they want (need) to get out and play every hour or two. 47 Apr 25, 2014 2:39 PM Yes, Need a river guide for the area that shows the current access for ingress and egress. I would float more if I knew the where the various points are. Also need flow sensors that one could look at online to assess if the conditions are good for floating a canoe,kayak or raft 48 Apr 25, 2014 2:18 PM I haven't floated many segments, mostly because I don't know what to expect (i.e. will there be barbed wire fences, how long it will take, etc.) 49 Apr 25, 2014 1:39 AM Yes. Various locations 50 Apr 25, 2014 12:06 AM if I could access mmore of it, I would love to go more often 51 Apr 24, 2014 9:36 PM Yes. Too many fences are over the creeks from the canyon down to Acme. It would be great if we could find an alternative way for people to fence that does not go in or over the Tongue River or Goose Creeks. 52 Apr 24, 2014 9:07 PM yes between Dayton & Ranchester and Ranchester down to Acme if better access 53 Apr 24, 2014 4:24 PM Yes, but need to re do the lewis street creek boulder situation, and make a Kayak park at confluence. 54 Apr 24, 2014 1:35 PM I don't know the drainages well enough to be specific, but additional access points seem important. 55 Apr 24, 2014 12:26 PM absolutely, you dont know where there will be fences crossing water ways and/or diversions/spillways. if you dont have someone to go with that knows the water, its a scary proposition to put in on any of our local rivers 56 Apr 24, 2014 12:02 PM access and know that there are no obstructions 57 Apr 24, 2014 11:32 AM Yes for variety in local trips 58 Apr 24, 2014 3:07 AM removal of fences, portages around dams 59 Apr 16, 2014 10:10 PM I would like to be able to kayak the entire stretch of Big Goose from west of Sheridan to Acme if there weren't so many hazzards. 60 Apr 16, 2014 3:27 PM I'll continue to float Tongue despite old power plant, but it would be a longer and more enjoyable trip if improved. 61 Apr 16, 2014 1:13 AM Goose Creeks and the Tongue would be have a number of stretches that I do not float because I am concerned about man-made and/or natural hazards. I am also concerned that I won't be able to take out if needed without trespassing. 62 Apr 15, 2014 11:49 PM Yes, but as mentioned in question #6. I have attempted to float and/or access Little Goose Creek at Woodland Park Road and Big Horn City area, but was thwarted by fence. The same can be said of Big Goose Creek near Beckton. 63 Apr 15, 2014 9:09 PM Yes, unknown hazards, unknown public access status. 64 Apr 15, 2014 7:52 PM Yes. Better access and ease of launch at existing access points.

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appendices L. Signage Types and Details

Welcome to the Tongue River Water Trail ×

Tongue River Water Trail Access Sites Lat cc cc cc Long cc cc cc

× South Park × × × × × × ×

From From Coffeen Avenue, head west on Brundage Lane 0.4 mi. Turn north into SouthPark parking area. Boater access immediately east of parking area.

×

¯

×

SOUTH PARK BOATER LAUNCH

×

× ×

×

×

×

Boater Access Sites

Tongue River Water Trail. It describes safety information and has a map of access points nearby.

In-stream Hazards

×

Tongue River WaterTrail

× !

kiosks at each access point along the

the whole TRWT with directions to

× ×

×

Ranchester

!

This sign template will be used for

Wyoming Game and Fish

Dayton

Bighorn National Forest BLM Welch Recreation Area

×

State Trust Lands

× × × ×

×

× × × × × × ×

Sheridan

0

3.5

7

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Miles

× × ×

SAFETY INFORMATION SUPPORTING PRINCIPLES FOR responsible use & enjoyment of the Tongue River Valley 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Obey all rules and regulations. Respect private property. Only use public lands and permitted access points. Be considerate of others encountered on the water. Plan ahead and prepare accordingly. Dispose of waste properly by packing it out. Respect wildlife. Leave what you find.

Paddling Safety and Best Practices Always wear a properly fitted personal flotation device. 2. Never go boating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. 3. Never stand up in a canoe or kayak, and avoid weight shifts that may cause your craft to capsize. 4. Be able to effectively steer and propel your boat. 5. Be aware of changing river currents and unmarked hazards. 6. Avoid paddling alone. 7. Pay attention to signs and safety warnings. 8. Never secure anyone to the watercraft. 9. Know how to right and re-enter your watercraft in the event of capsize. 1.

10. Research current flow conditions before your trip. 11. Be comfortable in the water, out of your boat. 12. Bring appropriate safety, rescue, and navigational aids, warm layers, and more than adequate food and water. 13. Always give someone your float itinerary. 14.Beyond safety, paddlers should act responsibly on and off the water. Poor behavior by a few can negatively impact other paddlers through increased regulation, access restrictions, conflicts with other user groups, and damage to the environment.

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Appendices L. Signage Types and Details

SOUTH PARK BOATER LAUNCH

This sign template will be used for vehicular wayfinding from public roadways to nearby access points along the TRWT. A variation of this sign

NEXT ACcESS SITES

template will also be used along the waterways for floaters to anticipate downstream linkages

Sheltered Acres Park Boater Launch – 0.89 mi Washington Park Boater Launch – 1.95 mi Mill Park Boater Launch – 3.38 mi•

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and take-out points.


appendices N. Canoeing and Floating Safety Boaters, paddlers, tubers, and floaters need to know how to understand river hydraulics to read currents to anticipate downriver hazards. If something looks hazardous, either pull to the side of the river to check it out, get on the bank and walk ahead to scout out the potential hazard, or portage around. If there other water trail users around you might watch someone else go downstream before trying something that looks uncertain. In Wyoming, paddlers are legally entitled to portage around any dangerous obstacles (Day v. Armstrong), whether it is a man-made or natural obstacle. This allows for a paddler to pull to the shore upstream from the hazard, and use private property to reasonably bypass the hazard. Standing waves describes what happens when fast currents meet slower currents. Water trail users should know how to read these so that standing waves caused by currents are not confused with backcurlers caused by rocks just below the surface. Sweepers refer to fallen trees, overhanging branches, or logs wedged between rocks that can present a significant hazard. These are especially prevalent in narrower sections of the water trail or during run-off. Most reaches of the water trail are not â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;technicalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; paddling waters, however, there are places along most stretches that could be challenging and dangerous to beginners. Rapids, or whitewater conditions are frequent on the upper Tongue and Goose Creeks, but increasingly rare as the water trail descends towards Montana. Water depth in the water trail can vary from just inches to more than 10 feet within just a few yards. Deep water normally flows much slower than shallow water and does not pose much threat to paddlers unless coupled with dangerous underwater obstructions, which can and do occur along the water trail. Shallow water normally flows much faster than deep water and can pose a threat when there is debris, rocks or other obstacles. Snags are trees or branches that protrude into or over the river or have fallen into the river. The locations of snags are unpredictable, as they can show up quickly and just as quickly be moved downstream, especially during run-off. Submerged snags are more of a problem under low water conditions, while overhanging branches/trees are usually more of a problem during run-off conditions. These higher flows tend to erode the banks more quickly, causing trees to topple into the river and form a barrier to downstream movement. The best practice for snags is to approach them slowly to find a way either through or around them. If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re with a group, watch how those in front navigate past snags. The most serious snags should be avoided and portaged around. In short, the floatability of the water trail in general cannot be easily assessed by checking available river stage information, since each reach has unique flow, bank conditions, and snag potential characteristics.

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sheridanclt.org P.O. Box 7185 Sheridan, WY 82801 director@sheridanclt.org 307.673.4702

Tongue River Water Trail Assessment  
Tongue River Water Trail Assessment  
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