Thursday, April 2, 2020
Learn How You Can Save the Trails
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Trail builders pause on a trip into the White Clouds a few years ago.
 
Wednesday, January 22, 2020
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

Want a way to give back to the trails you tread throughout the summer?

Perhaps you’d like to pitch in and help rebuild one of the many trails that have been neglected over the years.

The Idaho Trails Association was formed to refurbish popular trails that the Forest Service hasn’t been able to get to due to budget limitations. And representatives are holding a meet and greet from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23, at the Sawtooth Brewery and Tap Room, 110 N. River St., in Hailey.

Representatives will be on hand to acquaint people with the program and discuss some of the projects planned for this upcoming summer.

One of the projects includes a fully supported trip to Toxaway Lake the week of July 12 through 18. Idaho Trails Association will have mules pack in the camp and gear; food will be provided, as well.

Workers will hike into Toxaway Lake on July 12, spend the next few days rebuilding the trail over the pass to Alice Lake, and then hike out July 18.

ITA will also have two-, four- or five-day backpacking projects in the Cecil Andrus-Boulder White Clouds Wilderness, likely in late July or August. These will be self-supported backpack trips. Crews will carry their own gear and move camp as they clear the trails, camping at a new spot every night.

Two Idaho women created Idaho Trails Association in 2010 after they realized how badly many of Idaho’s trails had disintegrated due to Forest Service budget cuts. The Boise-based hiking advocacy group has worked on projects in the Chamberlain Basin of the White Clouds, atop Trail Creek Summit and in the Sawtooth Wilderness where workers rerouted the Alice Lake trail. The trail had gotten so bad outfitters had stopped using it. ITA has also organized projects in the Boise and Payette national forests, in Hells Canyon and Idaho’s panhandle.

“I spent my career with the Forest Service working on trails,” said Jeff Halligan, a retired Forest Service employee. “When I moved to McCall, I had 800 miles of trails and 22 trail workers plus horse packers. The district combined to pick up another 700 miles. Now they have five to six people to take care of 1,500 miles of trails.”

The volunteer crews are open to young children, as long as their parents are along.

For more information, visit www.idahotrailsassociation.org.

 

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