The Yellowstone Shortline Trail (YST) Committee is elated to announce a $750,000 donation from the Dr. Ezekiel R. and Edna Wattis Dumke Foundation. The YST Committee, energized by a generous 2-to-1 challenge grant pledged by the Foundation and with the Yellowstone Historic Center as fiscal sponsor, began collecting donations for the project in early 2020. Thanks to incredible enthusiasm from the local community and beyond, the YST project was able to meet and exceed the $375,000 necessary to secure the total amount pledged by the Foundation.
To date, over 300 individuals and businesses have donated to the project, assisting in reaching the phase one goal of $1.25 million. These funds will enable the project to break ground in the spring of 2021, transforming a 9-mile section of railroad bed into a world-class, hiking-biking trail following the historic route of the Oregon Short Line Railroad through Custer Gallatin National Forest southwest of West Yellowstone, MT. The $1.25 million raised will support a 10-foot-wide, compact-gravel trail complete with bridges, benches, pavilions, and interpretive signage.
“Over two decades ago, on a weekly ladies bike ride, we shared the idea of revitalizing this abandoned railroad corridor with Andrea Manship (Dumke) while precariously carrying our bikes across the log spanning the river,” says Melissa Alder, Project Manager for YST. “The Dr. Ezekiel R. and Edna Wattis Dumke Foundation’s shared belief in this vision and their generous matching grant gave our community the confidence to turn our dream into a reality.”
The phase two goal aims to raise an additional $3 million. Donations in phase two will be used to pave the trail following ADA guidelines and to fund the Shortline Legacy, which supports long-term maintenance and care of the trail.
To learn more about the Yellowstone Shortline Trail and make a contribution, visit: www.yellowstoneshortlinetrail.org. All donors donating an amount at or above $100 will receive recognition along the trail. The Yellowstone Historic Center is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, so all or part of your donation may be tax deductible.