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Eckles Creek Trail Work Party Debrief

Our second trail work party of 2015 was another great success. We had 15 Rock star volunteers come help maintain trail in the Hell’s Canyon National Recreation area.  We partnered with the Payette National Forest Service to work on trail #223 Eckles Creek trail in Hell’s Canyon.

We did some heavy trail pad repair and restoration and major pruning. We installed one new water bar and cleared out 3 existing water bars. The total mileage we maintained to standard was 1.37 miles. The Payette Forest Service was very pleased to have eager volunteers to help them maintain this trail and they were very happy with the quality of trail maintenance that are amazing volunteers performed. After all the work was done we all relaxed and enjoyed an AMAZING dinner, raffle, camaraderie, and campfire! Thank you to all our volunteers and our partners for making this a success! Nice work!

 

We highly recommend exploring Hells’ Canyon and the Eckles Creek Trail. Hell’s Canyon is the deepest canyon in North America and Eckles creek trail is a very diverse and a unique trail worth exploring!  The drive to the trail is approximately 140 miles and 2.5 hours one way from Boise.

Driving directions: 1) From Boise, drive West on I-84 to Exit 3, which is the Hwy. 95/Fruitland Exit.  About 41 miles from Boise/Meridian. 2)  Go North (Right) on Hwy. 95, through Fruitland, Payette, Weiser, and Midvale, to Cambridge—about 48 miles. 3) At Cambridge, turn West (Left) onto Hwy. 71.  This is the Chevron Statin Canyon Corner (makes a good potty break). 4) Go West and then North on Hwy 71 to Brownlee Dam, cross over into Oregon below Brownlee Dam, about 29 miles. 5)  Once on the Oregon side of the Snake River, continue north for about 11 miles to the Copperfield Campground Road Junction which is just about 1/2 mile below/down river from the Oxbow Dam. Turn Right at this junction and continue past Copperfield Campground and cross the Snake River back onto the Idaho side of the Snake River. 6) Once on the Idaho side, continue north for about 6 miles and Hells Canyon Campground will be on the West side of the road.  Continue north approximately 6-7 miles down river from Hells Canyon Campground to Eckles Creek Trail Head.

Our next trail work party is on National Trail Day June 6th. If you are interested in volunteering please sign up here: National Trails Day – Trail Work party. This work party is almost full, so please don’t hesitate to sign up. The spots are going fast! We hope to see you there!

Volunteer Appreciation Party!


2015volunteer app party
Join us for our Volunteer Appreciation Party on Saturday April 18th, 2015, to say thanks to all of our amazing Volunteers, Land Managers and sponsors who work so hard to make the Idaho Trails Association a success!

Where: Older Timer’s Shelter at Ann Morrison park in Boise, Idaho!

When: Saturday April 18th from 5:00 to 8:30!

We will have food from In the Wild Chef and beer from Sockeye brewery. We will give a debrief on last year’s accomplishments and a review of all the exciting projects and new things going on this year! We have great raffle prizes ranging from a half day raft trip on the Payette river from Cascade Raft & Kayak, a starter climbing pass for two from Urban Ascent, Rideout  technology Firefly bike grips, REI backpacks, a Jansport Heritage Telluride Backpack, prizes from Cascade Outfitters, Shu’s Idaho Running company, and many more great prizes. We will have an original one of a kind Canvas print by Ed Cannady on Auction….don’t miss out on this rare opportunity! All proceeds will go to help us maintain Idaho’s hiking trails!

Come and see old friends and meet new ones!  You don’t need to have participated in a work party in the past, just come and enjoy the camaraderie!

 

2014 Project Accomplishments and Summary for the Idaho Trails Association

ITA Logo Small

ITA’sMission

Idaho Trails Association promotes the continued enjoyment of Idaho’s hiking trails.

The Idaho Trails Association (ITA) is a non-profit organization.

ITA’s Purpose:

To facilitate the active enjoyment of Idaho’s public lands and hiking trails, the Idaho Trails Association brings together citizens and develops partnerships to foster:

  • Care-taking of Idaho’s hiking trails through stewardship projects, including trail construction and maintenance.
  • Development of traditional trails maintenance skills.
  • Understanding and appreciation, through education of Idaho’s unique trail resources.
  • Preservation, protection and access to Idaho’s hiking trails through outreach and advocacy.

In 2014 Idaho Trails Association completed seven projects on the National Forest and BLM system lands in Idaho.  Our Agency sponsors were the Boise BLM-Bruneau Field Office, Payette, Boise, Sawtooth and Panhandle National Forests.  Four of these projects were within designated Wilderness, and involved both trail work and stewardship activities and three were on high use non-motorized trails.

The projects ranged from five volunteers in more remote and logistically challenging areas to fifty volunteers on the work days that were closer to large population bases.

  • Number of volunteers- 139
  • Volunteer field hours- 1,660
  • Monetary value- $36,520
  • Miles of trail cleared-40.5
  • Miles of trail reconstructed-4
  • Miles of new construction-2
  • Logs cut from trail- 125
  • Water bars cleaned- 350
  • Puncheon constructed- 18 feet
  • Bridge construction- 1 @18 feet
  • Fence Removal- 1.6 miles
  • Human Waste Removal- “Piles”                                                                                            
  • Wilderness Campsite Naturalization-11

 Project Highlights:  

 The Panhandle NF provided the Grouse Mountain Trail project where the ITA crew constructed an eighteen foot long bridge, three hundred feet of newly constructed trail for the bridge approaches, eighteen feet of puncheon and removal of four large boulders from the trail tread. This project was funded through REI and ITA fund raising activities and membership.

The Sawtooth NF, Alice-Toxaway project was a highlight of the season.  Six ITA volunteers spent five days in the Sawtooth Wilderness clearing over thirty miles of trail on one of the most popular loops in the Wilderness.  The ITA crew also worked on cleaning camps and naturalizing overused sites. This week long session was funded through a grant from the Sawtooth Society.

Toxaway
ALICe LAke

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Boise BLM Bruneau Field Office has been a great partner to work with in the Owyhee Canyonlands and Wilderness areas.  They have provided early and late season opportunities for volunteers to get out and help. We have removed wire fence, decommissioned roads and built new trail along with reconstructing existing trails in amazing country is always a big draw for volunteers.  Roberson Trail in the Owyhee Wilderness has become an annual event on National Trails Day for ITA.  This project brings in large numbers of volunteers who work at multiple projects to help with the stewardship of this area.  This Owyhee project was been funded through grants from REI.

Roberson trail2Roberson trail

 Roberson Trail Owyhee Wilderness          Photos courtesy of Bryan Dufosse                     

 

 The Hum Lake Trail on the Payette NF was the inaugural ITA project in 2010.  We continued to work on this trail as an overnight project working to help reopen the North Fork of Lick Creek trail.  We have added day work parties to this trail as it has become a very popular volunteer opportunity.  This project is funded by REI and the USFS and volunteer pack support from BD Recreation Consultants.

Hum lake sumitDuck lake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The National Public Lands Day brought out over 50 volunteers to do stewardship work in and outside the Owyhee Wilderness.  During this project in the Owyhee Canyonlands the skills of future trail bosses were discovered.  This young man was part of a “Toddler Brigade” who helped remove baseball sized rocks from the trail tread.  He and 6 other youth were supervised by two parents who instructed the brigade in how to remove rocks without hurting or throwing them at anyone.  The brigade was a success!  It was hard to get past the group at the end of the day as everyone had to hear and see what a great job they did, and they did do a great job!

Future trail boss

Future Trail Boss

The Future:                                                                                                                 

The classic one day work party:  As ITA grows we are getting more requests from the agencies for single day work parties to work on trails close to population hubs.  These work parties have been funded by REI and the land management agencies, however future funding opportunities need to be pursued.

 Large volunteer projects provide challenges because of the need to ensure ITA has enough qualified crew leads to manage the volunteers are available.  Recruiting other passionate crew leaders will be important for future expansion and success.

ITA prides itself in teaching safety and completing the best quality trail work while also working towards creating supporters and stewards of our public lands. We may not knock out a project as fast as a contractor or force account crew, but the quality should be the same, and the potential of creating lifelong supporters of public lands is great.  This goal is important for future partner relationships.

 

Our Message:

ITA is a hiking, trail advocacy and stewardship group. We formed to provide the voice for hikers throughout the state.  Our role is to get work done and to develop strong stewards of the land who are informed and educated enough to provide support to land management agencies and continuing this goal is important.

ITA is proud to teach and promote traditional skills while accomplishing trail work.  We feel it is a needed and necessary way to safely engage the public into volunteer stewardship to help our public lands.  ITA promotes these traditional skills to provide the training and understanding that work can be accomplished safely and efficiently in this manner.

ITA has a goal to safely engage the public in stewardship activities, by doing this we hope to build a more accepting and supportive public who will enjoy recreating and participating in the future of our public lands.

 Our Thanks:

 To REI, Sawtooth Society, Agency Partners, volunteers, members, contributors, Board of Directors and Advisory Board for their time, energy, leadership and monetary contributions.

 

Alice-Toxaway Crown Jewels

This was our second year helping maintain the Alice-Toxaway Loop in the Sawtooth Wilderness. We worked for a week with some guidace from the USFS and were able to cut out 24 downed logs and carry out work  on 247 water bars, either cleaning them out or installing new ones. In total, we were able to maintain roughly 22 miles of trail, including the Alice-Toxaway Loop and several trails that branch off the loop. A big thank you to our volunteers who committed a total of 273 hours and REI Boise for funding this project! Read on to hear about our 2013 Alice-Toxaway project from project leader Josh Wheeler.

Group Photo

This last July was my second trip to the Sawtooths with ITA and it was again, amazing. The heat was a bit stifling at times but the views make up for any momentary discomfort! We camped at the far side of Toxaway Lake, close enough to take a dip after a hard days work, but removed from the trail to have time to relax and enjoy a good meal. This year, like last, we had the great pleasure of spending the week with one of Mystic Saddles outfitters, Randy, who prepared and cooked every meal. Amazing!

Working the crosscut

The highlight for me each year has been the new relationships. I’m a people person and enjoy being able to talk, share stories, and swing a pulaski together. I was able to bring my son this year and show him how amazing the wilderness is, but also how we can’t take it for granted. I hope through this to teach him that it’s equally important to give back to the trails after spending many years using them.

Teaching tomorrow's leaders the value of our wild places

I have a whole new respect for the work that goes into maintaining our trail systems here in Idaho. And I believe ITA has and will continue to have an important role in keeping several of our Idaho trails maintained and beautiful, and I’m glad to be playing a small role in that.

Josh Wheeler, Boise

Sawtooths, what a view!