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Trail Blaze: The Blog of Idaho Trails Association

Volunteer Spotlight: Cindy Walker

If you’re lucky, you’ve had the pleasure of being on an ITA trip with Cindy! This year, she took volunteering as an ITA cook to a new level and planned out the meals for many of our trips. Thank you for taking on this new responsibility and keeping our crews fed, Cindy! Could you share […]

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ITA looking for Trail Projects Director

After six years leading and organizing trail projects across Idaho, Clay Jacobson is leaving ITA for new adventures, including hiking the Continental Divide Trail next summer. We will miss Clay and wish him the very best! ITA is now advertising for a Trail Projects Director. This person will oversee the planning, coordination, logistics, and successful […]

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Volunteer Spotlight: John Platt

John is an ITA crew leader and board member. He retired to the McCall area after living much of his adult life in Boise. His professional career includes working in outdoor sports stores, teaching outdoor sports, and technical writing for a large bicycle manufacturer. His outdoor influences came from growing up in the Forest Service, earning […]

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Fires, Heat, and Drought: Stay Safe and Prevent Wildfires!

​The West is in the grip of a particularly hot, dry summer and a historically severe fire season. We all can do our part to be sure we and our loved ones enjoy our trails while taking precautions to keep ourselves safe and our forests green. Going hiking or camping this weekend? Stage 1 and 2 fire restrictions are […]

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Bagging peaks and goals

Check out part 1 and part 2 of Alexis’s journey! On Sunday, June 6, I finished my personal challenge to summit all four of Boise’s Grand Slam peaks in one day. I started at Heinen at 5:20 a.m. and finished Kepros at 6:51 p.m. for a total time of 13 hours and 31 minutes over […]

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Q&A: Completing the Grand Slam, hiking with kids, must-haves for hikers, staying fit with constraints, and more!

Training is coming along. We’re only a couple weeks away from my attempt at the single day Grand Slam challenge. I’m keeping an eye on weather, as it appears that this cloudy, rainy front will be passing soon and we’ll be expecting some sunny days. Ordinarily I’d be excited about this, but bright, uninhibited sunshine […]

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A Home Run Challenge: My attempt at becoming the first woman to complete the Boise Grand Slam in one day

Completing the 35.7 miles with 11,493 vertical feet elevation gain that is the Boise Grand Slam is no small feat in itself.  Especially, Heinen. Blessed, Heinen.  For those unfamiliar, the Grand Slam is made up four hikes in the nearby Boise area. All are gnarly in their own right. Completing them carries some street cred among […]

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Make your voice heard for Rapid River

As an organization that cares about Idaho’s wild places, we want to let you know about an opportunity to speak up for a special area of Idaho.  The Payette National Forest is seeking comment on a travel management plan for Rapid River, which includes the Rapid River Wild and Scenic River corridor that is popular with […]

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ITA seeking bookkeeping services

ITA is planning to transition our bookkeeping activities to a professional outsourced service or volunteer resource over the next 3-6 months.   Since ITA’s inception, we have leveraged an ITA volunteer to perform these tasks that will allow us to support our continued growth and complexity. We are seeking services from a local accounting firm or certified […]

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A message from our new Executive Director!

Dear Idaho trail users and friends, Happy New Year! Here’s to remembering the challenges of 2020 but looking with hope to 2021 and time in our beautiful Idaho backcountry, accessed of course by Idaho’s extensive network of public land trails! As I begin my tenure with Idaho Trails Association, I am struck by the positive, […]

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ITA expanding Women-Only Projects in 2021

It takes a lot of work to keep some of our treasured trails open. Some would say that trail maintenance is “men’s work,” but that simply isn’t true. Over the years, the number of women out there working crosscuts and swinging Pulaskis has continued to grow. The skills needed for this kind of work don’t […]

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Watch our 2020 Trail Work Season Recap video!

We had an awesome 2020 season of trail work! Thanks to all of our volunteers that gave so much to make Idaho’s trails better for everyone. Dear ITA friends, 2020 presented many new challenges this year. A big thank you to our volunteers who helped us navigate this unpredictable and ever-changing season! While we did have […]

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A Message from our Executive Director

Dear Idaho trail users and friends, Our membership drive is underway and goes through the end of the year! We need YOUR help to preserve and maintain vulnerable trails in Idaho’s backcountry. Trails take us to our state’s most beautiful places, providing access to unique landscapes and Wilderness areas. Unfortunately, decades of inadequate funding for maintenance have […]

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Our 2020 Membership Drive has begun!

Join us November 1- December 31 for our membership drive!  When you renew or become a member of Idaho Trails Association, you are joining an organization and community that cares about Idaho’s wild places. Not only do we need volunteers to make our projects succeed, but also members to financially support the hard work of […]

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10 Awesome Hikes- Board/Staff Picks

This blog is part of our series honoring ITA’s 10-year anniversary! There is one thing that all of the members of our board and staff have in common- a passion for trails! Here are 10 hikes hand-picked just for you. Kane Lake Trail (#66) in the Pioneer Mountains east of Ketchum Kane Lake is a […]

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10 Backpacking Tips for Beginners

This blog is part of our series honoring ITA’s 10-year anniversary! By John Plat, ITA Advisory Board member John Platt has been backpacking for over 50 years, mostly in Idaho. He is a climber, backcountry skier, an Eagle Scout, and a volunteer with Valley County Search and Rescue.  He has backpacked and camped in wild country […]

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Top 10 Trail Tools

This blog is part of our series honoring ITA’s 10-year anniversary! By Jeff Halligan, ITA Executive Director It’s important to have the right tool for the job. These ten items will have any trail cleared in no time! Crosscut saw- This has been the backbone of trail work for a couple hundred years.  The vintage saws (that […]

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Top 10 Essential Backpacking Items

By Clay Jacobson, ITA Trails Program Director Whether you are going out on an ITA project or planning your own backpacking trip, these items can help make your time in the backcountry a little more enjoyable! Hand Sanitizer – In the post-pandemic world, we have become increasingly familiar with the benefits of clean hands. These […]

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Discovering Old Trails: ITA volunteers survey historic Three Blaze Trail

Earlier this summer, ITA, in partnership with the Payette National Forest Heritage Program, helped complete a survey of the historic Three Blaze Trail in the Frank Church- River of No Return Wilderness. The Three Blaze Trail was built in 1902 during the Gold Rush days to connect the mining town of Dixie, Idaho with the […]

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ITA Seeking Executive Director

Idaho Trails Association is seeking a full-time Executive Director. The chosen candidate will lead ITA into its second decade of promoting the conservation and enjoyment of Idaho’s backcountry on foot. Working collaboratively with the Board of Directors and ITA staff, this position will focus on seven main responsibilities: strategic vision and plan implementation, fund development, […]

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Executive Director Jeff Halligan announces his retirement

Dear friends of Idaho Trails Association,  After six years as Executive Director of ITA, Jeff Halligan will be retiring at the end of this year. Jeff has been involved in ITA from the start and has helped lead us through periods of rapid growth and great achievements. We are so grateful for the leadership and compassion […]

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New Motorized Partnerships

Here at ITA we love Idaho’s trails. We also appreciate that there are many types of trail users, and different forms of recreation to enjoy. At times, there has been some conflict between the Motorized and Non-motorized trail users as these groups struggle to fund and maintain trails with limited resources. We were recently contacted […]

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Celebrate National Trails Day on June 6

Anyone who submits a report to ITA’s new trail reporter anytime from Saturday to the end of the day Monday the 8th will be entered into a drawing for a Gossamer Bumster lumbar pack. Our trail reporter is a simple survey that you fill out after your hike about trail conditions you encounter. These reports […]

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Is that a grizzly bear or a chipmunk walking around the tent?

Some friends ask me why someone who has no kids of their own would work so hard to provide opportunities to get someone else’s kids outside and into the backcountry. Well, it started when I was young. My parents liked to camp and visit the mountains and national parks during my childhood in the 60s.  I […]

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10 year Anniversary shirts and cups are here!

We have new shirts and cups to celebrate our 10 year anniversary! Every donor who gives $100 or more to our Idaho Gives campaign will have the choice of one of these goodies. Give today!

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Idaho Gives is here!

Do you remember going on outdoor trips when you were young? Do you have fond memories of making s’mores around a campfire, learning how to pitch a tent, and using a crosscut saw to clear trails? Okay, probably not that last one. But maybe you remember hiking as a kid! Outdoor experiences from childhood have shaped […]

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ITA Response to COVID-19

The health and safety of our staff, members, family and community are our number one priority.   In response to the worldwide Covid-19 outbreak and the concern it poses to everyone’s health and well-being, our entire staff will be implementing best practices which will still allow us to do our jobs safely and help keep our […]

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Featured Projects

With so many great projects on the schedule, it’s hard to even know where to start! Here are a few that we are especially excited about: April 26 – May 2 • North Central Idaho • Gospel Hump Wilderness • Sheep Creek Jet Boat TripJet boat from Vinegar Creek Boat Ramp, outside of Riggins, to Sheep Creek in […]

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Our 2020 Project Schedule is Live!

We’re so excited to announce that our project schedule is open to members to sign up! There are so many great maintenance and monitoring trips this year and we can’t wait to get out on the trail with you. We have projects from one to seven days and ranging from easy to difficult. Our Members-Only sign-up period will be until April 1 when it […]

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Social Media Etiquette in the Outdoors

On January 29th, as part of the ITA Trail Master Presentation Series, board member Pam Bond and Leave No Trace Ambassador Evan Worthington discussed the potential impacts, good and bad, of sharing our outdoor experiences through social media like Facebook and Instagram.  Those who attended had varying opinions about how outdoor enthusiasts should share their […]

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Join Us For the 2020 Trail Master Series!

We are getting ready to kick off our third season of the ITA Trail Master Presentation series. We thought it would be a great idea to start offering a recurring presentation on something related to hiking, outdoor skills, etc. over the long winter months to keep our members, and the general public, engaged with ITA […]

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Nearly 8,000 hours of service in 2019!

Since ITA’s start in 2010, the number of projects, volunteers, and supporters has grown every year. 2019 was no exception! Two hundred and seventy-seven volunteers contributed 7,996 hours of service and completed a total of 37 trail projects across the state. 2019 Totals: Miles of trail cleared- 189.5 Week-long Projects – 13 Multi-day Projects – […]

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Crew Leader Spotlight: John McCarthy

John McCarthy

Going from freezing morning temperatures to an 80-degree bluebird afternoon is just part of the fun and excitement of an Idaho Trails Association project. In early June, our ITA crew started the day at Meyers Cove with a thick layer of frost on our tents. By afternoon we’d hiked 16 miles down Camas Creek to […]

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Preserving Traditional Tools and Skills

This week, we would like to highlight why ITA chooses to use traditional tools and skills for our work. We are fortunate enough to have our work take place in the wilderness. But what does wilderness really mean? Wilderness can be a general term used to describe a tract or region of land that is relatively undisturbed by […]

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Giving Tuesday

Amidst the rush of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, join us on December 3rd for Giving Tuesday, a global day of giving. Giving Tuesday is your chance to support the community organizations that contribute to your way of life. For the outdoor enthusiast there are plenty of ways to support your favorite recreation areas, including […]

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Women Only Weekends- WOW!

This week we highlight our Women Only Weekends (WOW) and it’s official! WOW has become an official Idaho Trails Association program called ‘Women in the Wild’. This program was unintentionally created last season when ITA partnered with the Boise Bold Betties Chapter for an all-ladies trail maintenance weekend. It was such a success, we decided […]

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First Season for ITA’s Youth Program

This week, we would like to highlight a new ITA initiative. As we know, one of the big pushes nationwide is to get America’s youth outside and away from the electronics and sedentary lifestyles. ITA has answered that call by starting our Youth Program for 14 to 18 year olds. With this program, we aim to get our youth into the backcountry to […]

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Message from our Executive Director, Jeff Halligan

Why Become a Member of Idaho Trails Association? As the snow starts to blanket the high country, we’re planning ITA’s trail projects for 2020. I have to say we had a great season in 2019. We had a record number of volunteers provide time and energy to get the work done, we had a record number […]

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Sheep Creek in the Gospel Hump Wilderness 2020!

It’s going to be 2020 soon! We are in the process of putting together our 2020 projects and it looks like we are going to have some doozies! Have you ever wanted to jetboat up the Salmon River and spend a week in the Gospel Hump? We are working on that opportunity for you! Camp […]

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Kirkwood Trail Bridge 2020

Don’t have a week? We are going to rebuild the bridge at Kirkwood Ranch in Hell’s Canyon! We are planning a weekend in Hell’s canyon at the Kirkwood ranch rebuilding a trail bridge. The plan will be to jetboat up to the ranch from Pittsburg landing and spend 2 days working on the bridge. We […]

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