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Idaho Trails Association Taps Youth, Planes
Friday, March 22, 2019


The Idaho Trails Association will have its first ever Youth Trail Projects this summer, thanks in part to a grant by the Wood River Women’s Foundation.

And it will have its first fly-in projects where volunteers will be flown to some of the most remote and scenic parts of the Frank Church Wilderness to help clear hiking trails.

If that’s not enough, the non-profit organization will conduct at least 45 projects this year—up from the one trail project it started with in 2010.

Idaho Trails Association (ITA) was organized to provide volunteer labor on Idaho’s many trails in face of cutbacks to the U.S. Forest Service.

Idaho has more than 10,000 miles of non-motorized hiking on trails on public lands.

“These trails are a valuable resource and take visitors to some of the most beautiful parts of Idaho,” said Jeff Halligan. “Unfortunately, funding for the care and upkeep of these trails is far short of what is needed to keep most of them open and usable.”

The first year 13 volunteers, including a few from out of state, worked on 2.5 miles of trail near McCall. In 2018 ITA utilized 262 volunteers on 33 projects.

Volunteers contributed 7,600 hours removing downed logs, fixing water bars, cutting back brush and repairing trail treads last year.

This year’s projects include 13 week-long work “vacations.” ITA will use horse packers to haul in camp gear food “and a really good cook” for some of the trips. It will also fly volunteers into some of the most remote parks of the Frank Church Wilderness. The only charge volunteers will incur for any week-long trip, is a $50 donation to the organization.

There will be 14 Youth Trail Projects this year, taking students into remote areas for trail work and education. The projects have been made possible, in part, by grants from the Eood River Women’s Foundation and the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation in Boise.

Projects begin March 17 on Sheep Creek, a lower elevation trail system, which requires catching a jetboat at Vinegar Creek at the end of the Salmon River road east of Riggins. Others include Purjue Canyon in the Owyhee Mountains, the Kootenai River Walk Trails east of Bonners Ferry and the Mickinnick Trail near Sandpoint.

Projects closer to home include the Middle Fork Salmon near Loon Creek, Alice Lake and  the Little Wood River near Mormon Hill in the Pioneer Mountains, an area that burned last summer.

To see a complete list of projects, visit www.IdahoTrailsAssociation.org. More projects will be added as summer progresses.

In addition to manual labor, the 501© charitable organization welcomes financial donations to help pay for tools, food and other costs of doing the work.

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