Status Report: Black Hills Trail Fund

Earlier this year (2021) Black Hills Trails announced the Black Hills Trail Fund. We have been overwhelmed by the generosity and support from the Sturgis community thus far.

First, let’s address a few of the common questions we keep hearing about the fund:

Is it only for Sturgis? The funds currently being raised for the Black Hills Trail Fund are dedicated to the maintenance of the Sturgis Trail System. They are intended to help maintain and enhance Sturgis-area trails in perpetuity. So why the Black Hills Trail Fund, and not the Sturgis Trail Fund? Because we’re thinking big! After proving the success of the endowment model in Sturgis we hope to add additional funds under the Black Hills Trail Fund name to support trails in Spearfish, Rapid City, Hill City, and beyond.

The long-term goal of the fund in Sturgis is $250,000, is that really enough? That depends on how you define “enough”! With $250,000 in the fund, it will cover all of the regular expenses incurred by the volunteers and the organization during a normal year. It won’t fund the construction of miles of new trail, but it WILL cover all the essentials and ensure Sturgis-area volunteers are able to get out and do trail maintenance each and every year, instead of hosting fundraisers.

What’s with this “match”? We have enlisted the help of the Black Hills Area Community Foundation (BHACF) to manage the Trail Fund. For new funds, they match the first $80,000 at 4:1. What that really means is, if we are able to generate $80,000 for the fund in the first year, they will add $20,000 and turn it into $100,000.

How we have done so far:

Our eventual goal for the fund is $250k, but this year we are pushing hard toward that $80,000 figure to maximize our match with the BHACF. Thanks to significant contributions by the Keith Smit Memorial, Monument Health, Black Hills Energy, the Worth Family, Acme Bicycles, and numerous individuals who have purchased trail markers we have already reached $50,000.

As we enter the giving season we are very thankful for how far we have come thanks to the generosity of every individual and business who has contributed dollars, labor, and kind words.

What follows is a collection of photos of the build and placement of the first bench recognizing a major donor to the Trail Fund, Monument Health. Several additional benches are scheduled to follow in 2022, along with the signage purchased by individuals. More details about the trail fund can be found on the Black Hills Trail Fund page.

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