In 2000, a group was formed calling themselves the “Friends of the High Plains Arboretum.” It operated as a sub-committee of the non-profit Friends of the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens. This group was composed of diverse members of the region and community including: Cheyenne Botanic Gardens, the Laramie County Conservation District, the Cheyenne Urban Forestry Division, State of Wyoming Forestry Division, University of Wyoming, Colorado State University, folks from the local and regional green industry, historians and other interested community members. They were also joined by employees of the USDA/ARS High Plains Grasslands Research Station.
In October of 2003, the Friends of the High Plain Arboretum secured funding and a master plan was developed for the High Plains Arboretum. This plan guides all development of the Arboretum towards the goal of a quality public arboretum. The Arboretum is operated under the direction of the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens in association with the Cheyenne Urban Forestry Division, Cheyenne Parks and Recreation and the Friends of the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens.
This master plan designed by noted landscape architect, Herb Schaal, received an award from the Colorado Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects.