In 2013 a rough but energetic group of volunteers had assembled behind the idea of bringing a 50-mile stacked loop trail system to the Sturgis community. Many of those in a leadership position at the time had a hard time knowing how much rope should be extended to this new group called Black Hills Trails.
The key to progress, first on the BLM with the 7th Cavalry Trail System, then with the Forest Service and the greater Sturgis Trail System, proved to be the City of Sturgis supporting the project. The City of Sturgis ultimately lent support to this new organization of volunteers on the recommendation of the City Park Board. In large part, this first supportive push came thanks to long-time Park Board member Keith Smit. There were a few pivotal moments early on that had they gone differently may have resulted in the Sturgis Trail System not existing at all. While we owe the system we have created as a community to every volunteer and supporter who has contributed, we especially owe it to Keith.
In March of 2021, Keith passed away. You can read more about his life of service here: https://www.kinkadefunerals.com/obituary/keith-smit. A memorial has been established for Black Hills Trails. We knew building the trail system would only be half of what was required, that just as difficult as building the system would be keeping the trail system maintained to a high standard for the years and decades to come. For the last several years Black Hills Trails has been planning the creation of an endowment to ensure the long-term maintenance of the Sturgis Trail System. Once again we have Keith to thank for helping to make the hard parts of this giant project happen.
Keith Smit’s memorial is the nest egg that will grow and be added to creating an endowed fund to ensure volunteers will be able to maintain the Sturgis Trail System in perpetuity.
The volunteers and donors that created the Sturgis Trail System, officially designated Trail 78, over the last eight years have created an investment in the community totaling more than $650,000 in combined donations and volunteer labor. This investment will be preserved thanks to Keith and his family, Monument Health, and hopefully more contributions to come. Each dollar contributed to the fund can maintain one foot of trail in perpetuity. Over the next several years it is our hope that we can establish a fund that will maintain every single foot of trail put on the ground in the Sturgis area, this will require a fund approaching $250,000.
As part of fundraising toward this end, we have created several opportunities for individuals, families, or businesses to make their mark on the Sturgis Trail System. We have the option of placing several benches at scenic locations throughout the system, to memorialize a family member or to show support by a business. We have also created the opportunity for individuals to get involved and leave their own small mark on the trail system. By making a $200 contribution, and thereby funding 200′ of maintenance forever, your name will be placed on a piece of the permanent signage that will be going up around the trail system.
Download a PDF of all the pages below by clicking here or individual pages by using the links below.