What We’re Doing
Transforming an abandoned rail line into a spectacular trail
Bolster rural economies and create safe outdoors spaces in communities that need it most
Thirty miles north of Yellowstone National Park, the quaint town of Emigrant sits nestled between stunning mountain ranges, including its namesake peak, and the majestic Yellowstone River. Though the town is rich with breathtaking views worthy of a magazine cover, Emigrant lacks even the most basic parks and trails. It’s not uncommon to see a parent pushing a stroller down the highway as a way to get outside or connect to local establishments. With no formal trails or pedestrian sidewalks in the area, residents lack safe passage options, especially during the summer months when tourists flood the town’s parking lots. The busy highway is often the only commuting option.
Emigrant is a tourist hub to Yellowstone National Park, and as more national parks experience a record-breaking number of visitors, how can these gateway communities tap into their own assets—and stay vibrant in the face of natural disasters that shut them down—to bolster their economy, expand health benefits, and provide safe connectivity for people? Emigrant’s solution: remake its abandoned rail line into a dynamic trail.
The Emigrant community invited Trust for Public Land to work together on the Yellowstone Heritage Trail—creating a safe space to experience nature. Transforming old rail lines to a green trail would lift the economy with new job opportunities, increase tourism, and contribute to the Great American Rail-Trail, a flagship initiative from our friends at Rails to Trails to create a multiuse trail coast to coast. We’re currently working to create a 3-mile stretch of that rail corridor in Emigrant. With your help, we can unlock this community’s potential to build a well-loved and well-used trail for visitors and residents alike.