After so much hard work by volunteers and the Laramie community, we're happy to help announce the opening of the Pilot Hill Recreation Area Sunday, September 20 on a limited basis as trails and signage are created. We are so proud to have been a part of making this project a reality. Visit pilothill.org for more details on the open trails, and an excellent video of the area.
[Press Release, Sept. 18] — The Albany County community is invited to enjoy the Pilot Hill Recreation Area on a limited basis starting Sunday, September 20. The property will be open to non-motorized use along the two-track road that meets the eastern side of the Schoolyard Section, and which runs up the foothills to the eastern boundary of the Pilot Hill property. The road was used as a route during the Pilot Hill Community Access Days last fall.
The public is encouraged to access the property from the east end of Willet Drive, the north end of Boulder Drive or from the corner of 45th and Crow streets. Recreationists should respect all private property as they park their vehicles and make their way to the parcel.
From the eastern side of the Pilot Hill Recreation Area, public access is available from a walk-through gate at the north end of US Forest Service Road 703. There is currently no access into the recreation area from the Forest Roads 703.C, 703.F., or 703.G. which lead to the Wildlife Habitat Management Area portion of the property. We encourage recreationists to check the pilothill.org website for additional information on the areas that are now open, and to watch for progress the property over the coming months.
“We appreciate everyone’s support in respecting these restrictions and working with us as we partner with the U.S. Forest Service, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and surrounding private property owners to allow for additional access to the Pilot Hill area,” said Commissioner Terri Jones, Pilot Hill Committee member.
Pilot Hill Inc. is still completing fencing and signage along the recreation corridor and within the Wildlife Habitat Management Area and is finalizing agreements with partnering property owners. Jones said all stakeholders are collaborating to continue opening the property further in the coming months.
“We are working to get as much of the property open as quickly as we can this fall so that Laramie residents and visitors can enjoy Pilot Hill before the snow flies,” she said.
A land swap to acquire the 4,344-acre Pilot Hill parcel was completed in late August, activating a lease agreement between the state of Wyoming and Albany County. In November 2019, the University of Wyoming formalized its partnership in the Pilot Hill Project with the purchase of 1,233 acres of the parcel. In addition, a Recreation and Public Purpose Lease application is being considered by the BLM. All of the property will be managed jointly by the Pilot Hill, Inc nonprofit to provide an uninterrupted experience for visitors.
Since 2018, citizens, businesses and other organizations have donated more than $1 million for infrastructure and access development. A land-use plan has been developed and construction of the first trails is expected to begin this fall.
Recreational opportunities will include non-motorized trails for hikers, cyclists and equestrians that connect the city of Laramie to the Medicine Bow National Forest to the east. A portion of the property will be maintained with a primary focus on preserving critical habitat for elk, mule deer and pronghorn.
A community-wide celebration and grand opening for Pilot Hill is planned for summer 2021.