Trail time has arrived

Bob Bonnar, NLJ Publisher

Submitted photo

Organizers hope the scenic vistas of the Flying V Trails will encourage more Weston County residents to take up mountain biking and other forms of outdoor recreation.


In March, Gov. Mark Gordon signed a bill that created a $6 million outdoor recreation trust fund, and over the past two years, the state has also set aside more than $25 million in federal stimulus and state tourism dollars to fund outdoor recreation projects.


But work to enhance outdoor recreation opportunities in Weston County has already been underway for a decade, and some of that work is going to be showcased for the public on Saturday.


A group in Weston County anticipated the growth in outdoor recreation several years ago, and this weekend they are extending an open invitation to join them in celebrating one of Weston County’s newest treasures, while also honoring the visionary who saw the potential recreational and economic benefits that could come from the area’s rugged trails and spectacular vistas.


The third annual Cave Man Fun Run — held in memory of “Cave Man Forester” Bill Kohlbrand — will take place at the Flying V Trails on May 20. It will be held in conjunction with a Flying V Trails Day to show off 10 miles of trails and “two-track” that are accessible to new and beginning riders, adaptive riders and even strollers. This most recent area trails project was completed this past fall. 


“Bill Kohlbrand and I started these trails almost nine years ago, so it is a re-opening, and we are inviting the community to come out and see these trails,” said Jeremy Dedic, one of the driving forces behind Bent Sprockets, a local club committed to “getting people outside by promoting, maintaining, and building new trails,” according to the organization’s website.


A year ago, the Bent Sprockets Club received a grant from the Wyoming Outdoor Recreation Office to widen the trails at the Flying V, and by last fall several of the trails had been expanded to a width of 40 inches to make them more accessible for new and beginning riders. The newly widened trails also make it possible for adaptive riders on hand-crank or power-assist bikes — or other adaptive equipment — to experience the scenic and challenging terrain.


Saturday’s event begins with the Fun Run at 8 a.m., which will offer three different distances — a 5K, 10K and 20K. A free lunch is being served beginning at 11:30 a.m., and a variety of bike and hiking tours will be offered to showcase the different features of the trail that afternoon.


“We just want people to come out and see the trails. We will have maps, and we have new trail junction signs up around the Flying V,” said Caleb Carter, another organizer of the trail showcase. “We’re going to lead bike tours if people want to do that, but you can also go out and choose your own adventure. I think we’ve got a nice mix of trails out there, and people can find whatever they’re looking for.”


All three of the annual Cave Man Fun Runs have been held to honor former state forester Bill Kohlbrand, a pioneer of Weston County’s fledgling outdoor recreation movement. According to Dedic, the “Cave Man Forester” was approached over a decade ago about the development of trails on a portion of state land near the Wyoming Honor Conservation Camp north of Newcastle. Kohlbrand would end up being instrumental in the layout of what became known as the Serenity Trail, another outdoor recreation gem, and that sparked his excitement for a trail system for mountain bikes in Weston County.


“He always thought we had just as good of topography as anywhere to ride,” Dedic said. “That was the start of the Flying V trail system. Bill worked with others to get that project started, and what it is growing into today. He wanted everyone to access the forest, to have the enjoyment and love for the forest he had. He was a staunch advocate for active forest management, and part of that was getting folks outside.”


“The Flying V trail system is the perfect place to honor Bill’s vision and to enjoy a day on the trails. While our main goal was to get people outside and to show off our wonderful trails, any proceeds from the race will go to help continue trail work for our community and improve local access to our natural areas,” explains the group’s website,


While the main purpose of the event is to encourage people to get out and enjoy the scenery and outdoor recreation opportunities available in Weston County, serious outdoor enthusiasts will be testing themselves against the new trails in the three different races that are being offered in the morning.


The more experienced runners will be challenged by a 10K course that offers approximately 1,000 feet of elevation gain, and the 2,000 feet of climb on the 20K course will be a true test. Carter appeared on the News Letter Journal’s Top of Main Podcast this past weekend and said the 5K course will offer a more reasonable task that even novice runners should be able to complete.


“It’s not very common for a lot of the bigger trail races to have a shorter distance like a 5K. We’re going to mark the 5K course really well. It will probably be over-marked,” Carter said, noting that the course is being set up specifically to make it accessible for people who aren’t “big runners.” They also wanted to create a course that kids could tackle.


“We are open for people to come out and walk our courses as well,” he said. “Even if you don’t want to run it, come out and walk it.”


Part of the improvements at the Flying V Trails include an expanded parking lot, and parking for participants will be allowed at the Flying V Trails parking lot this year. Overflow parking will be across the highway at the Flying V Cambria Inn parking lot. Signs and volunteers will also be present to help direct traffic.


To learn more about the event, go to and listen to the most recent episode of the Top of Main Podcast. You can also visit the Bent Sprockets website at, or check out their Facebook page.

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