BACI Success Story: Red Lodge, MT

Red Lodge, MT

Red Lodge, MT, is located in south-central Montana and has a population of 2,237. Red Lodge is known for it’s great downtown and outdoor recreation, the Beartooth Highway, and as a gateway community to Yellowstone National Park. In 2015 and 2016, Red Lodge sent a multi-sector team to the Montana Building Active Communities Initiative (BACI) Action Institute. The Red Lodge BACI team included an elected official, city planner, public health practitioner and directors of the Red Lodge Chamber of Commerce.

The Red Lodge team identified several community goals in their BACI action plans: 1. Focus on active transportation by raising awareness and educating the community about the need for safer walking and bicycling opportunities; 2. Adopt an active transportation plan (ATP); 3. Create a larger team focused on improving walking and bicycling opportunities in Red Lodge and 4. Develop a wayfinding plan. The Red Lodge BACI team has accomplished these goals and many more!
Red Lodge was awarded the Community Development Block Grant, Red Lodge Parks Board and BACI mini-grant to help develop the active transportation plan (ATP) in October of 2015. As part of their community engagement plan for the ATP, in December of 2015, Red Lodge hosted an American Trails webinar presented by Mark Fenton that drew over 50 community members! In December of 2016, Red Lodge adopted their first active transportation plan and increased their team from five to ten members to help with implementation and other projects. With support from local schools, the new ATP Steering Committee is helping make kids active and healthy with a new Walking School Bus program. This program has made it safer for kids to walk to school in Red Lodge.
In June of 2017, the Chamber of Commerce and ATP Steering Committee helped create the first Red Lodge Wayfinding Plan that includes walk/bike friendly signage. Wayfinding refers to information systems that guide people through a physical environment and enhance their understanding and experience of the space. Additionally, a sidewalk inventory was created that lists the condition of all sidewalks in Red Lodge. This project was completed with volunteer labor and will be valuable in determining future capital expenses.

Next steps for Red Lodge include continuing to produce an annual report laying out ATP accomplishments, fully implementing their Wayfinding Plan and partnering with other community organizations as needed. Additionally, Red Lodge plans to make a compelling case to the MT Department of Transportation (MDT) to build a multi-use path to connect the downtown to health clinics, long term care facilities and several businesses.

“The BACI conference inspired the group of attendees to come home and get right to work. The tools provided by the speakers and the networking opportunities with other communities were incredibly helpful for achieving our goals. It is rewarding to see the ideas of the group become reality!”
-Jean Atherly, Tobacco Prevention Specialist, Beartooth Billings Clinic

The great progress of Red Lodge towards a safer environment for transportation shows commitment to the health of their community. The Montana BACI Institute works to create and enhance community environments so that people of all ages, abilities and income levels can safely walk, bike or take public transportation to places they need to go.
Read more about Montana BACI here!