Fishing, Hiking, Team Sports: Sheridan Has it All

By Leanne Libby on April 28, 2011 at 6:34 pm EST

Sheridan is a slice of paradise, with plenty of room for nature-lovers to enjoy their favorite activities in an unspoiled environment.

Ranked third on Outdoor Life magazine’s 2008 list of towns for those who love the outdoors, Sheridan provides spectacular options.

Roger Miller, owner of the Fly Shop of the Big Horns, has lived in the area for 30 years.

“There is great rock climbing here and beautiful canyons to go into,” Miller says. “We have more than 200 lakes and reservoirs, most which you have to hike to, so they aren’t going to be crowded. We like to say that you won’t be bothered by anyone except those in your own party.”

According to Miller, September is prime hunting season while April through November is ideal for fishing.

“The hunting is as good as it gets,” he says. “Deer and elk are the big things here.”

Miller’s shop offers guided bird hunting and fishing trips on private lands. Its catch-and-release program has anglers of all ages and skill levels matching wits with the snow-fed waters brimming with trout. With several hundred lakes and streams, Millers says, walk-in fly-fishing opportunities are abundant.

Outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds will find plenty of wildlife to watch, including elk, moose, deer and the ever-present antelope.

“Even if you just want to go nature-walking, do photography, snowmobile or take one of the several hundred miles of trails here, there is something for everyone,” Miller says. “You can enjoy nature while sitting and reading a book.”

When they’re not in the wild, outdoor recreation lovers may choose from a full range of organized sports, courtesy of the Sheridan Recreation District.

From team sports for youth and adults to activities including kayaking lessons, fly-tying and dog training, the district keeps residents moving.

“The idea is to try something new,” says SRD director Richard Wright. A $4.5 million, 32,000-square-foot multipurpose building is being planned to aid in that goal, backed by a loan from state and local funds. The department hopes to break ground in spring 2009 and expects the facility to help bring in $50,000 to $60,000 a year in fees.

From these fees, children will benefit. During the summer months, the SRD takes a group of underprivileged children on three fishing trips.

“We’re trying to get those kids interested in lifetime outdoor activities,” Wright says. “Those slots usually fill quickly.”

The junior golf program is one of the state’s best, he adds, with 80 children led by a certified golf professional.

The district frequently partners with the YMCA to co-sponsor youth sports leagues like basketball. The department also helps the junior high school with intramurals.

Older residents enjoy the district’s pickleball, a sport similar to tennis and badminton.

City support is strong, Wright says. It underwrites youth programs and offers matching funds for other initiatives, such as the city’s Pathways program, which provides paved trails to encourage walking. Local foundations have also been generous. In return, the district keeps residents fit and fosters economic development by holding tournaments that draw out-of-area visitors.

“It makes for a healthier, active community,” Wright says.

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