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2014 Project Accomplishments and Summary for the Idaho Trails Association

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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.

 

2015 Work Parties

We have lots of great volunteer projects coming up! To sign up early for one of these projects email intern@idahotrailsassociation.org. In the email make sure to reference the project(s) you want to sign up for. After you sign-up, an ITA representative will be in touch. Thank you for your interest in volunteering with the ITA!

ITA2015_map2

Great news friends we have finalized dates for some of our 2015 projects!

To sign up early for a project email intern@idahotrailsassociation.org. In the email make sure to reference the project(s) you want to sign up for. After you sign-up, an ITA representative will be in touch.

In the future we will post a separate sign-up page for each project that will have more specific details about the project. Stay tuned for more projects, updates, and further information. Thank you for your interest in volunteering with the ITA and we look forward to seeing you on the trails!

Projects Dates

2015

Agencies Locations &

Logistics

Notes & Contacts
Oolite Interpretive Trail

 

January 24th BLM Owyhee Wilderness

 

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

1 day

 

 

 

 

Eccles Creek

Hells Canyon

 

 

March 28th Forest Service Payette NF

Difficulty: Moderate

 

1 day

 

 

ITA project lead:

Wally Kimball

National Trails Day June 6th Bureau of Land Management Owyhee Wilderness

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

1 day

 

 

 

East Fork of Lake Fork Creek June 27th Forest Service McCall RD

Payette NF

Difficulty: Easy

1day

6 volunteers

 

ITA Project Lead: Jeff Halligan

(Crew lead Training Opportunity)

Black Lee Creek

(Box Lake Trail)

 

June 28th Forest Service McCall RD

Payette NF

Difficulty:

Strenuous

1 day

6 volunteers

ITA Project Lead:  Jeff Halligan

(Crew Lead Training Opportunity)

N. Fork Lick Creek

 

July 4th

 

Forest Service Krassel RD

Payette NF

Difficulty:  moderate

2 miles -1 day

 

ITA project lead: Jeff Halligan

 

Alice-Toxaway Loop

From Toxaway side Possible 4 person backpack crew to meet up with Toxaway crew after working the Petit to Alice trail and Alice Lake.

 

 

July 19th -25th Forest Service SNRA

Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous

 

30+ miles

7 days

10 volunteers

 

 

 

 

 

Hum Lake

 

July 25th & 26th Forest Service Krassel RD

Payette NF

Difficulty:  moderate

 

2 days

6-8 volunteers

ITA project lead: Jeff Halligan

 

Livingston Mill-Castle Divide Trail

The non-motorized section between WA Basin and Little Boulder Creek as well as satellite trails including Chamberlain Lakes, Washington Lake, and Chamberlain Creek trails.

 

Aug 9th – 15th Forest Service Sawtooth NF-SNRA

Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous

 

16 miles

6 days

12 volunteers max

 

 

 

ITA project lead:

Wally Kimball

Celebrate 50 years of making memories with the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation with free ski and snowshoe day!

Saturday, January 10th is a great opportunity to ski or snowshoe your local state park for free. The park entrance fees will be waived and some parks will have free use of equipment. The activities being offered differ from park-to-park some of the activities being offered are free skiing and snowshoeing lessons, gear demos, guided tours, and presentations. There is even an opportunity to find out what yurting is all about. Visit the Idaho Parks and Recreation Calendar for details on each State Parks activities.

Find the park in your neck of the woods and go explore it!

1BeaverCreekSummitshoers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo credit: Idaho Parks & Recreation.

First 2015 Project of the year! Oolite Interpretive Trail, Owyhees!

Ready to start the 2015 trail season with a Dig?  January 24th we will be partnering with

the Bruneau Field Office of the BLM to work on the Oolite Interpretive Trail in the Owyhees.  Oolite Trail Project

Project Details:

Shoofly Oolite interpretive site trail:  This is an interesting area to stop along the Owyhee Uplands Backcountry Byway to take a short hike.  We would maintain and widen the 0.5 miles of trail from parking area to the Oolite mineral deposit cliffs where kids and adults explore the small arches, rare plants, and tiny fossils.  We also need to beautify the parking area by removing some wire fencing and constructing a more people inviting wood hiker maze at trailhead.

When:

January 24, 2015.  Meet at 9am at the Boise BLM parking lot (3948 S Development Ave., Boise, ID 83705) to carpool or 10:15 at the Shoofly Oolite Site.   Return to Boise by 3pm or end of project about 2pm.

Where:

This is about an hour and a half drive from Boise.  It is South of Mountain Home and Grandview, Idaho on the Mud Flat Road.  From Boise take the Simco Exit and drive to highway 167 and on to Grandview.  Then turn east on Highway 78 to the Mud Flat Turnoff where you will turn south and drive to the Shoofly-Oolite Trailhead, just past the Shoofly Cutoff road.

Update: The ITA/BLM will be providing hot dogs, buns and condiments for lunch. We will also have drinking water available, but bring your favorite drink or snacks if you would like something additional or different.

Please sign up here:

Thank you project volunteers! We currently have 30 total signed up for this project and we appreciate the interest and enthusiasm. However, this is all we can accommodate on this project, so we have closed the signups.

Thanks for your interest and please keep watching for future ITA Projects!

 

 

Marble Creek Trail Project – Reopening a Dissapearing Trail

ITA partnered with the Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation to knock out the Marble Creek Trail Project.   Six volunteers worked through 100-degree heat until 6 or 7 at night.   With the leadership of Leo Hennesey, they built and reconstructed crib walls, cut out 190 trees, cleaned 6 waterbars, and dismantled 3 fire rings.  A total of 6 miles of trail were reconstructed and maintained.

The trail segment tackled by this volunteer crew includes a segment of the Idaho Centennial Trail, which is a north-south route, spanning the State of Idaho from Nevada to the Canadian Border.  This critical segment of the trail was beginning to disappear from the lack of maintenance.  In fact, this was the first time in 25 years that this segment of trail has been fully maintained.  Thanks to this volunteer crew, this critical segment of the Idaho Centennial Trail is now in good shape and ready for eager hikers.

Gant Ridge Trail Project – Back From the Bighorn Crags

Hitch 6 was a partnership between the Idaho Trails Association and the Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation. Three SCA interns were enthusiastic to work on the Gant Ridge trail in the Bighorn Crags.  We camped at Cathedral Lake, an oligotrophic body of water created from the last glacial recession. It was lovely. We fell asleep to a trickling melody played by the small creek near camp each night and awoke to sunlight filtering through Englemann spruce every morning.

After oatmeal and coffee, we hiked out to the worksite and tool cache, stretched, and began working. The trail certainly needed our help. In some areas, the trail was indiscernible from the rest of the forest.  In others, switchbacks had completely washed out. In eight days of leonine effort, we were able to repair 1,630 feet of tread, realign 115 feet, create 9 drainage structures, clean 2 water bars, and place 6 stepping stones. Safe to say the trip was a success, but much more work is needed on the Gant Ridge Trail.

Written by an SCA Intern

Wewukiye Construction, Round Two

“You are part of a legacy,” said Mark Bingman to the group of volunteers as we gathered for the Wewukiye (Wa-woo-kia) Trail Project.  Mark is the North Zone Recreation Manager for the Boise National Forest, where there are few non-motorized trails. The Cascade Ranger District is leading the charge to construct a new 16-mile hiking and mountain biking trail that will connect Warm Lake, Stolle Meadows, Vulcan Hot Springs and other landmarks.

The naming of the trail was part of a community process.  The name was selected during a “name-the-trail” contest that was held for the local 4th grade students. Kyle Sellers chose the name ‘Wewukiye,” meaning elk in the Nez Perce tribal language.

This is the second year that the Idaho Trails Association has organized volunteers to help construct the new trail. Last year ITA volunteers helped build two miles of new trail.  This year our volunteers helped construct another 1.25 miles.  Five volunteers contributed a combined 85 hours of service to the project. Volunteers bonded through trail work, lounged in local hot springs, enjoyed peaceful afternoons and took in the views at North Shore Lodge on Warm Lake.

We would like to thank all of our volunteers for their hard work.  We would also like to thank the Boise National Forest for their leadership and the Boise REI store for their financial support of the project.

Hum Lake Trail Work Debrief

Four eager volunteers turned out to perform maintenance work on the Hum Lake Trail from August 17th through 19th on the Payette National Forest.  The Hum Lake Trail is a very popular backpacking trail outside of McCall, which ascends over a small pass from Duck Lake.

The group headed out with two crosscut saws, two Pulaskis, a hand saw and a Peavey.  Before getting down to business, a safety training was given to the volunteers, which included practicing how to safely cut two logs with a crosscut saw.  After the safety training, the volunteers cut out 35 trees blocking the trail.  The volunteers used their tools with skill to clear the way for trail users.

Volunteers also had the opportunity to learn how to use other trail maintenance tools.  For example, they learned to use the Peavey, which is a tool that works like a lever to push, roll or slide a fallen tree away from the trail.  This tool was extremely helpful when the group worked together to remove a 30-inch diameter tree.  The large tree had fallen across a switchback, and two long sections had to be moved.

All-in-all, the group cleared about four miles of trail. Many trees had to be cut 2-3 times in order to be completely cleared from the trail. In just two and a half days, the volunteers collectively contributed 40 hours of trail maintenance! On Sunday, after finishing the last 9 trees, they hiked to a summit that provides a beautiful overlook above Hum Lake

Nice work!


 

 

West Fork Camas Creek Project – Finish Strong!

Several volunteers and groups came together to make the West Fork Camas Creek Project a great success. The Selway Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation financially supported this venture, allowing the Backcountry Horsemen to pack in horses and food for our trip. The Student Conservation Association joined in to see that we met our trail maintenance goals and objectives.

Magdaline, one of the SCA interns learned several positive lessons while working in the wilderness. As she proclaimed, “The first lesson is that backpacking with tools is really hard. The second lesson is that the Backcountry Horsemen sure know how to cook. The last lesson is that if you are going to be doing stream crossings during work you should definitely have a spare pair of shoes.”

Trail work may be hard, but Magdaline reminded us that trail work is very rewarding work. “Despite sore feet and being more tired that I have ever been in my entire life, this was probably my favorite hitch so far. We got to see some amazing parts of the Frank Church.”

During their 8 days in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, volunteers cleared 9 miles of trail, reconstructed 1 mile of trail, and cut out 21 trees. Thank you to all of our partners, SBFC, SCA, and BCH for helping to make this project a great time and a wonderful success.