GPT Photo of the Week

The burrowing owl is native to the Great Plains as well as other areas.  It operates during the day and sometimes runs to catch its prey.

Its habitat in many areas is threatened by development.

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GPT Photo of the Week

The Black Footed Ferret (BFF) is your Best Friend Forever, but they’re endangered. Here’s one way to help:  http://www.prairiewildlife.org/top5gs.html

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GPT – Photo of the Week

Which way to go?  This is near the towns of, well, Bison and Buffalo, South Dakota.  The trail runs through Buffalo.  By the way, the proper scientific term is the American Bison, but the word buffalo has a long history in our culture, so I think it’s fine to use it to describe our majestic official National Mammal. 

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GPT – Photo of the Week

One of my favorite spots along the trail.  This is deep in the badlands on the Bison Trail between Toadstool Geologic Park and Hudson-Meng Bison Bonebed, Nebraska.

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GPT Photo of the Week

This week’s photo is from Colorado.  This is from deep in the badlands canyons of Paint Mines Interpretive Park northeast of Colorado Springs.

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Announcing the GPTA Founder’s Club

I know.  I know.  I know what you’re thinking and you’re not wrong.  Fundraising is as popular as a blizzard in April.  I get it. That said, GPTA is actually excited to launch our first real fundraising campaign.  Why? Because we’re optimistic that if we can do all we’ve done so far on just a shoestring budget, think what we’ll be able to do with some additional funds!

Here’s a brief history of our accomplishments in the first five years of the organization:

2012 – Formed a 501c3 Nonprofit

2013 – Helped build new trail at Pawnee National Grassland

2014 – Trail scouting and initial routing is completed

2015 – 100 mile test hike in Nebraska and South Dakota

2016 – First GPT thru hike completed by Luke Jordan (aka Strider)

That’s a lot to be proud of in just a short period of time.  The Great Plains Trail has gone from an idea to something that is real and tangible!

However, there is so much more work that needs to be done in order for the trail to remain viable.  The current route is mostly on roads, but we have identified many areas where we could change that percentage significantly.  The bottom line is: We will not be able to add more trail miles with our current resources.  I think it’s safe to say that Strider’s hike inspired us all.  In the years and generations to come, with your help, there will be more stories like Strider’s along the Great Plains Trail.  Here are our top priorities for 2018:

  1. Building new trail in Oglala National Grassland, Nebraska
  2. Holding one or more trail events with group hikes and campouts
  3. Improving and adding more features and details to the map
  4.  Developing a professional marketing strategy for the trail
  5. Attending national and local conferences and events to further our professional network
  6. Forming partnerships with other professional organizations along the trail

Given all of that, I think we have a unique opportunity for people to get involved in the next phase of this trail.  For the remainder of 2017, you have the opportunity to become a permanent part of the organization by joining our Founder’s Club.  In 100 years or more, when people like Strider are out there hiking the Great Plains Trail, they’ll think to themselves, “I wonder how this trail got started?” When they search the history of the trail, your name will appear as one of the Founders!

Here is more information, and please see our website or our Fundly Page to donate:

1. Join our Founder’s Club: For the remainder of 2017 only, we are launching our first fundraising drive.  While we have accomplished much in our first five years, there is much more to be done.  Significant trail building projects and events await, but we need your help.  By donating $1,000 or more, you will become a member of our Founder’s Club.  This is a unique opportunity to be a part of the history of the organization.  You will receive a lifetime membership, you will have a mile of trail named in your honor ($2,000 would earn two miles of named trail, and so on), your name will be on a permanent monument (TBD) along the trail, and you’ll also receive a GPT Daypack, a GPT Hat, and a GPT Mug.  Please contact us if you need more information on this once in a lifetime opportunity.

2. Make a Donation: If you can’t quite swing joining the Founders’ Club, we still need your support.  Any amount you can give will be greatly appreciated, but we do have some special categories for the remainder of 2017 only.

$500-$999 Pronghorn Level – GPT Daypack, GPT Hat, and GPT Mug

$250-$499 Swift Fox Level – GPT Hat and GPT Mug

$100-$249 Black Footed Ferret Level – GPT Hat OR GPT Mug

$50-$99 Burrowing Owl Level – GPT Sticker

$5-$49 Valued Donor – Tax deductible

To make a donation, click the “Donate” button on the home page of the website.  We are a non-profit 501c3 organization and your donation is tax deductible. Note:  If you don’t want PayPal to take a cut, you can send us a check directly to Great Plains Trail Alliance 313 Sherman Street, Longmont, CO 80501

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GPT Photo of the week: Pawnee Buttes

Northeast Colorado contains some interesting features in the Pawnee National Grassland.  They are generally referred to as the Pawnee Buttes and they rise 200-300 feet about the surrounding country.  There’s a nice trail leading to them, and they are really cool places to explore.

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