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Volunteer Spotlight: Thom Klein

Thomkleinphoto2The Idaho Centennial Trail takes hikers 900 miles through some of Idaho’s most beautiful places. With the current rise in popularity of long distance hiking, it is high time that the ICT gets the recognition it deserves as one of America’s most rugged and remote hikes. But an increase in hikers means an increased need for stewardship, education, and awareness.

The Idaho Trails Association has teamed up with local partners to help improve trail conditions for future hikers. Coordinating with our long time backcountry allies, the Selway Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation, and Forest Service trail crews, over 50 miles of the ICT were cleared in 2016. Stewards of the trail cut hundreds of logs, cleared water bars and improved drainage, addressed some hiker hazards, and opened up trails that have been choked up for decades.

It is with great pride that we return to areas of Idaho that have long since been overlooked, and where we are at risk of losing access to our wild places. We hope the growth of the Idaho Centennial Trail will create more interest and investment in our public lands, and lead the way for Idaho’s next generation of outdoor adventurers.

Thom Klein is an ITA volunteer from Eastern Idaho who has made it his goal to hike the entire length of the ICT in sections. He has helped us coordinate presentations at Idaho State University, so we were happy to help him with a ride out of the Frank Church as he bagged his last miles of the season. Congratulations Thom on a spectacular season of hiking and thank you for your contributions to the Idaho Trails Association.

 

Volunteer Spotlight: Thom Klein, Pocatello


 

This past summer, I took a notion to hike at least part of the Idaho Centennial Trail—the gorgeous but neglected south-to-north route through Idaho’s wildlands. Yet I have to admit to being a bit of a wuss: the idea of solo-hiking (and especially solo-sleeping) is not something I relish. So I persuaded various friends to come along for 3-4 day sections, beginning with the Owyhee Desert and working northwards into the Sawtooths and the central mountains. (See the article by Mike Stubbs in Idaho MagazineThomkleinphoto1 for a description of one of those hikes.)

However, I was having trouble getting companions for the section into the Frank Church Wilderness, until Clay Jacobson, from the Idaho Trails Association, suggested that I hike in along the Middle Fork to meet a trail crew sponsored by the ITA and SBFCF, which was going to be working its way down Marble Creek, a notoriously difficult and overgrown portion of the ICT. I could meet up with the trail crew—however far they had gotten—and hitch a ride out.

I enjoyed my walk first along Marsh Creek and then the Middle Fork, and had plenty of rafters at least for visual company. After two days, I found myself at the outlet of Marble Creek, and managed to score a large serving of steak fajitas from the party of boaters camped there.

The next day, Marble Creek trail started out fairly clear. Occasionally, trail and creek would squeeze into a narrow gully, and then I had to push through undergrowth as I sang loudly to scare off any large animals. After the old Mitchell homestead, though, I began to see how Marble had gotten its reputation: with lots of deadfall and thick regrowth at creek crossings, it was easy to lose the trail. Thomkleinphoto3At one point, I found myself waste-deep in a beaver pond; at another, I had to cross a steep, unstable slide area with a 200-foot drop to the creek bottom.

At last, late in the afternoon, I began to see signs of recent trail work and then came upon an immense log-jam which was obviously in the process of being cleared, with tools and helmets laid on one side. The contrast in the quality of the trail was like night and day, and I hurried ahead. I kept rounding corners and expecting to find the crew’s encampment (it was another four miles), but at last I spotted the tethered mules and shed a few grateful tears as I pulled in, just in time for a hot supper—and cold beer, of course.

This trip was the highpoint of my hiking this summer, and I am immensely grateful for the ITA’s work in the backcountry, keeping these beautiful places accessible for those who don’t mind enduring some blisters—and maybe a brief meeting with a black bear.

 

We invite you to join us in 2017 as we continue to make a positive impact in the Idaho backcountry. New trail work projects will be announced in the spring, but you can get involved right now by becoming an ITA member at whatever level is right for you. We appreciate all our members and could not do our important work without you. Thank you!

Join Idaho Trails Association During Our 7th Annual Membership Drive

Become a Steward of Idaho’s Trails

Join ITA During Our 7th Annual Membership Drive

Dear Idaho Backcountry and Wilderness Trail Lovers:

Idaho’s network of backcountry trails leads hikers to and through some of our state’s most beautiful, hidden places. As one of the state’s fastest growing volunteer-driven organizations dedicated to clearing backcountry trails, Idaho Trails Association needs YOU to help us restore and maintain this invaluable legacy. That’s why, from November 15th to December 31st, we’re kicking off our 7th annual membership drive to get more people like you—and your friends and families—involved in preserving our state’s vast trail system.

In the coming year, our goal is to increase trail work projects by 40 percent. This means that, not only will we be returning to some of Idaho’s most popular hiking destinations, but we will be expanding our reach into new areas as well. In 2017, our weekend and weeklong ‘work vacations’ will include the Seven Devils and Gospel Hump Wilderness Areas–some of Idaho’s most rugged and pristine outdoor playgrounds. Wherever we work, ITA’s mission is to promote the continued enjoyment of Idaho’s hiking trails thru:

  • Stewardship projects on Idaho’s great hiking trails, including trail construction and maintenance
  • Development of traditional trails maintenance skills using hand tools
  • Education, understanding, and appreciation of Idaho’s unique trail resources
  • Preservation, protection and access to Idaho’s hiking trails through outreach and advocacy

The Idaho Trails Association started in 2010. In our first year, we conducted two trail maintenance projects with volunteers contributing about 200 hours of their time working on the trails.  Fast forward to 2016, and 200 volunteers contributed almost 4,000 hours to complete 17 projects, including five weeklong ‘work vacations.’ These projects are rich with Idaho heritage, featuring mule trains, traditional tools, and backcountry cooking. From 2015 to 2016 alone, the value of ITA’s volunteer labor to land managers climbed from $48,000 to over $128,000!

Whether you want to get out on the trails or provide material support, we ask you to join, renew your membership, give a membership to someone you know cares about the backcountry—or give us a donation! Just go to www.IdahoTrailsAssociation.org for more information. No matter where you live in Idaho—or in the U.S. for that matter—you can do your part to help preserve our wild lands.

Thanks very much,
Jeff Halligan, ITA Executive Director

 

2016 National Public Lands Day – Trail Work Party

Boise Bureau of Land Management, Idaho Trails Association, and REI invite you to join us for some camping, projects, and activities for this year’s National Public Lands Day out in the Owyhee Canyonlands.

Date: September 17th, 2016. Join us the evening of September 16th to campout or the morning of September 17th.  Breakfast & registration starts at 9am, projects are from 10am-12pm, and lunch from 12pm-1pm.

Site Location: Poison Creek Recreation Site is about 20 miles southeast of Grand View, Idaho.  The drive from Boise takes about one hour and 15 minutes.  From town of Grand View, head east for two miles on Highway 78 to access the Mud Flat Road.  The last 5 miles of the drive is a gravel road.  Poison Creek Recreation Site is the eastern gateway to three Owyhee Canyonlands Wilderness Areas and for driving the Owyhee Uplands Backcountry Byway (aka Mud Flat Road).  Poison Creek Recreation Site is a staging area for backcountry adventure, but this shady oasis needs some TLC.

Projects:  Projects at this site include replacing pole fence, planting native plants, and trail work. Woodsy the owl

Activities: Guest speaker, owls of the Owyhee’s. Make a bird house in celebration of Woodsy Owls 45th birthday.

BLM will provide:  Breakfast and lunch on September 17th and a National Public Lands Day 2016 shirt and an REI volunteer shirt.  Youth receive Woodsy Owl stickers, coloring books, and patches.

Please bring and wear shoes, long pants, sunglasses, and gloves so we can work safely.

For more information: Please contact info@idahotrailsassociation.org or Dave Draheim @ Boise BLM (208)384-3358 or ddraheim@blm.gov.

2016 NPLD

Sign up here:

 

 

 

Hum Lake trail work party debrief

On July 2nd, 2016 ten volunteers donated 80 hours of volunteer time to clear the Hum Lake trail on the Krassel Ranger District of the Payette National Forest. We were met with clear blue skies, temperatures in the 60s and an empty Trailhead.  We started off with introductions and a safety meeting to discuss the day’s events and proper and safe tool use. We ended up taking 2 crosscuts as we had 4 certified sawyers, pulaskis, shovels, loppers and the infamous Peavey.  Hum lake 4

We split into 3 teams, 2 saw teams and the waterbar/brushers that did an amazing job of working on the drainage and cutting those bushes back.  Overall we cleaned 47 waterbars, brushed 600 feet and cut 22 trees from the trail.  We were able to have our ceremonial snowball toss at the Hum Lake pass, there is still a nice cornice slowly melting away.  It was a great day that ended with light rain, cookies and drinks back at the trailhead.  Thanks to the awesome crew that came out for this work party!

Hum lake 1Hum lake 2     Hum lake 3

2016 Cleanup of the Beehive Lakes Trail #279.

On June 25, volunteers with the Idaho Trails Association (ITA) completed maintenance work on the Beehive Lakes Trail in the Sandpoint District of the Idaho Panhandle National Forest. Fourteen ITA members and friends brushed out 4 ½ miles of trail, re-built or re-opened 43 water diversion ditches, and cut out 5 fallen trees that had blocked the trail.Beehive 2016 - 1

One of the trees we removed measured 36” to 39” in diameter, the largest ITA has done in our 6 year history of helping to keep Idaho’s hiking trails open for the public. In all, our volunteers spent about 130 person hours doing this work. The popular Beehive Lake trail is 4 ½ miles long and gains about 2,000’ of elevation before it ends at a beautiful alpine lake that sits just below the Selkirk Mountain crest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beehive 2016-3

English Point Trail Work Party Debrief

Our first trail work party of 2016 was another great success.

On Friday, April 29, eight volunteers helped the Idaho Trails Association (ITA) do maintenance work on the English Point Trail #80 in the Idaho Panhandle National Forest. The group cleaned out water bars, cut back brush, cleaned sod off of a raised walkway, and did other “spring cleaning” chores.

The English Point trail system includes easy loops through forest terrain on the west side of Hayden Lake. The ITA volunteers maintained about 2 ½ miles of this popular trail, making it more enjoyable for the hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders who come here.

The Forest Service had a crew go in ahead of our ITA volunteers to cut out the many large trees that had come down early last winter in a big storm. Our volunteers were then able to use hand tools to complete the re-opening of the trail. Our work was completed in one day with no injuries or other issues.

We recommend having fun and exploring the English Point trail system!

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We have lots of great other trail work parties and vacations coming up this year and we hope join us for one or all of them! Sign up here: ITA Work Projects

 

Thank you to our Sponsors and partners!

 

Mattingly Creek Trail Work Vacation (Full)

Mattingly Creek Weeklong in the Sawtooth Wilderness!!

Project Description

Sunday, July 24th – Saturday, July 30th.

Maximum number of volunteers 5

This is a strenuous week long work party that will be backpacking from the Alturas Lake Trailhead to the city of Atlanta!  This work party will carry all of their food, gear and tools along the Mattingly Creek trail #034 and maintain the trail along the way.  Primitive camping, wilderness, scenery, and good work will be the highlights of this trip!  There is only room for 5 volunteers so sign up early for this special trip! 

The work party will meet Sunday evening at Alturas Lake to camp before leaving Monday morning for Mattingly Creek trail.  Hiking while clearing and improving the trail will give you a chance to seek out remote campsites and get a real Wilderness experience.  Shuttle back to Alturas Lake from Atlanta will be Saturday morning July 30th.

This trip is generously sponsored by The National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance!

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Please review our Volunteer Manual. If you have any questions please email them to info@idahotrailsassociation.org.

Sign Up

This Trail Work Vacation is full, to be put on a wait list please email intern@idahotrailsassociation.org.  Thank you for your interest in volunteering with us & we  hope you will sign up for one of our other great projects! 

Marble Creek Trail Work Vacation (Full, wait list available)

Marble Creek, August, 28th- Sept. 3rdMore Crosscut

Project Description:

Marble Creek is in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness.

Spend a week in one of the remotest places in the lower 48.  ITA is partnering with the Selway Bitterroot/Frank Church Foundation to clear 13 miles of Marble Creek off the Middle Fork of the Salmon River.  If you ever wanted to spend a week crosscutting logs from a trail this is the project! 

Supplies will be packed in by stock to the camp at Cottonwood Creek where we will spend our time opening a critical section of the 1000 mile long Idaho ICT Trail signCentennial Trail.  Meals will be provided. 

Maximum number of volunteers: 6 

Please review our Volunteer Manual. If you have any questions please email them to info@idahotrailsassociation.org.

This Trail Work Vacation is full, to be put on a wait list please email intern@idahotrailsassociation.org.  Thank you for your interest in volunteering with us & we  hope you will sign up for one of our other great projects! 

Alice-Toxaway Trail Work Vacation (Full, wait List available)

 
  • Where: Sawtooth National Recreation Area
  • When: Sunday-Saturday, July 17th-23rd.
  • Elevation: 7,000′-9,280′ range
  • Location: Tin Cup Trailhead
  • Level of Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous
  • Accepting: 8 volunteers

Project Description

Alice-Toxaway July, 17th-23rd

Spend seven days in the beautiful Sawtooth Wilderness working on the Alice-Toxaway trail nestled amongst the 10,000 foot peaks of the Sawtooth Range.  Your gear will be packed into a base camp by Mule train.  We will meet at the Tin Cup Trailhead at Pettit Lake on Sunday July 17th to hike into camp at Toxaway Lake.  We will hike in on Sunday July 17 to our base camp at Toxaway Lake.  Monday we will start working on the trails around Toxaway Lake and to the trailhead at Tin Cup.  We will teach you how to clean waterbars, how to cut logs from the trail with Crosscut saws, cut brush back and how to rebuild trail tread. We will also be working on removing rocks and repairing rocky sections of the trail and creek crossings.  Meals will be provided and cooked by ITA Chefs. 

Maximum number of volunteers 8.

This is one of the most scenic trail projects in the nation, sign up early as only eight spaces are available!

Please review our Volunteer Manual. If you have any questions please email them to info@idahotrailsassociation.org.

Sign Up

Please fill out the form below if you are interested in participating on this project.

Because this is a week long supported project, ITA requires a $50 per person refundable deposit to secure your spot. This will help us ensure that everyone who registers is well-intentioned and we will not have to bear the costs of last-minute cancellations. By submitting this registration, you agree to donate the deposit if you cancel with less than 2 weeks notice.

After completing the sign-up information on this page,  you will be redirected to a secure site to make your deposit with PayPal or Credit Card. An ITA representative will get back to you with more information.

This Trail Work Vacation is full, to be put on a wait list please email intern@idahotrailsassociation.org.

Thank you for your interest in volunteering with us & we  hope you will sign up for one of our other great projects! 

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Ants Basin Trail Work Vacation (Full)

Project Descriptionidahomagic-61

Ants Basin, August 7th-13th

Ants Basin.  Seven days in the White Clouds Wilderness! We will hike into the base camp in the upper meadows of Warm Springs Creek on Sunday August 7th.  This project is focusing on the trails in Ants Basin/Born Lakes and Warm Springs Creek.  We will be camping at the upper meadows in Warm Springs Creek and doing day hikes to improve the trails in the area.  Meals are provided and cooked by ITA volunteer chefs.  This project is currently full.

If you have questions please contact info@idahotrailsassociation.org.

This Trail Work Vacation is full.  Thank you for your interest in volunteering with us & we  hope you will sign up for one of our other great projects!

Photos Courtesy of Peter Lovera.

 

Hum Lake Trail Work Party – July 2nd (Full, wait list available)

Projects details:

July 2nd, 2016 Hum Lake Trail, Payette National Forest, McCall, Idaho

Work details: Join us for a day high in mountains above McCall clearing the trail between Duck and Hum Lakes.  We will meet at the Duck Lake Trailhead at Lick Creek Summit at 9am Saturday, July 2nd.  We will hike up to Hum Lake junction and start clearing the trail to Hum Lake with crosscut saws.  Our goal is to make it the 2 miles over the pass and down to Hum Lake.  This is a strenuous hike at high elevation, but well worth the effort!  Snacks and drinks will be provided at the end of the work day, but be sure to bring a daypack, jacket, gloves and your lunch and water!

Let’s have fun and be safe.  This project is difficult physically as we will be at higher elevation and climbing over a high pass in the time we will be working (9am-3pm) and the hiking distance (6 miles round trip) involved.

Volunteers needed: 10 volunteers. If your plans change and you cannot make it. Please notify us & attempt to fill the project with another volunteer.

When/Where: We will meet at the Duck Lake Trailhead at Lick Creek Summit at 9am.  We will have our safety meeting, sign in and then head up the trail.  We should be back to the trailhead by 4pm.

 What to bring: All volunteers should bring their own small pack with lunch, snacks, sunscreen, and water.  Volunteers should have hiking boots, leather work gloves, and eye protection (sunglasses or safety glasses).  ITA will provide the crosscut saws for the project.

This Trail Work Vacation is full, to be put on a wait list please email intern@idahotrailsassociation.org.  Thank you for your interest in volunteering with us & we  hope you will sign up for one of our other great projects!

 

English Point Trail Work Party

Project: Idaho Trails Association spring cleanup project on English Point trail near Hayden Lake.

Date and time: Friday, April 29th starting at 8:00 am, ending by 4:00 pm.

Where: We will meet at 8:00 am at the trailhead on English Point Road just off of East Lancaster Road. Volunteers can show up any time during the day.

Description: The Idaho Trails Association is looking for volunteers to help do maintenance work on Friday, April, 29th on the English Point Trail #80 in the Idaho Panhandle National Forest . We will be cleaning out water bars, cutting back brush, cleaning mud off bridges, and doing other “spring cleaning” chores.

The English Point trail system includes easy loops thru forest terrain on the west side of Hayden Lake. The Idaho Trails Association will be doing the maintenance work to help make this popular trail more enjoyable for the hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders who come here.

Volunteers will use hand tools provided by the Association to do light work. Everyone should bring work gloves, sturdy shoes, lunch, and water.We will meet at 8:00 am at the trailhead on English Point Road about 3.7 miles east of US 95 on East Lancaster Road.

Please sign up here:

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Hum Lake Trail Work Party – July 16th-17th (Full, wait List Available)

Projects details:

Packing into Hum Lake

Packing into Hum Lake 2015

July 16/17th, 2016 Hum Lake Trail, Payette National Forest, McCall, Idaho

Work details: Join us for an overnight work party high in mountains above McCall clearing the trail above Hum Lake.  We will meet at the Duck Lake Trailhead at Lick Creek Summit at 9am Saturday July 16th.  We will hike up to Hum Lake and drop off our packs and start clearing the trail to the North Fork of Lick Creek.  Our goal is to start rebuilding the switchbacks and trail tread above Hum Lake.  This is a strenuous hike at high elevation, but well worth the effort!

Saturday dinner, Sunday breakfast and lunch will be provided by ITA.  Dinner will be prepared by “The Wild Chef” Steve Weston!

Let’s have fun and be safe.  This project is difficult physically as we will be at higher elevation and climbing over a high pass to get to Hum Lake. The return trip goes back over the pass and down to the trailhead. The distance hiking as about 6 miles round trip, plus the hiking around the project.

Volunteers needed: 10 volunteers. If your plans change and you cannot make it. Please notify us & attempt to fill the project with another volunteer.

When/Where: We will meet at the Duck Lake Trailhead at Lick Creek Summit at 9am.  We will have our safety meeting, sign in and then head up the trail.  We should be back to the trailhead Sunday afternoon by 4pm.

 What to bring: All volunteers should bring their own camp gear for overnight, large backpack, Saturday’s lunch, snacks, sunscreen, and water.  Volunteers should have hiking boots, leather work gloves, and eye protection (sunglasses or safety glasses).  ITA will provide the tools. For more details please see our Volunteer Manual.

Project leaders: ITA Trail Crew Specialist

This Trail Work Vacation is full, to be put on a wait list please email intern@idahotrailsassociation.org.

 Thank you for your interest in volunteering with us & we  hope you will sign up for one of our other great projects! 

Boulder Meadows Trail Work Party ****Updated Was Roman Nose Trail

Updated Project

The Roman Nose project has been changed!

The new location is the Boulder Meadows trail which is an old closed road converted to single track.  It has some erosion issuICT Trail signes so we will be doing water bars and tread work. The Forest Service will be providing tools and a crew leader.

 Date and time: 

Friday, September 9th, Two options for meeting up… We will leave the Bonner Mall (far end of the parking lot by the theater) at 7:30 AM.  Option two is to park at the junction of 20 mile rd and Highway 95 just north of Naples.  We will be leaving there and heading into the project at 8AM.  From highway 95 it’s about 45 minutes in on a decent dirt road, but high clearance vehicles are recommended.

Volunteers should bring a lunch and water, wear boots, long sleeves, & eye protection. 

This trail is part of the Idaho Centennial Trail! 

Please sign up below:

 

 

National Trails Day – Owhyee Trail Work Party (Full)

Saturday, June 4thNTD13

Projects details:

This 2016 National Trails Day will be the sixthh annual Idaho Trails Association, Boise REI, and Boise BLM work project in the scenic Owyhee Canyonlands.

Work details:   Back to Perjue Canyon Trail in Little Jacks Creek Wilderness for National Trails Day on June 4, 2016.  This is the longest Wilderness trail in the Owyhee Canyonlands.  BLM and ITA have built this trail over the past several years (2013-now).  Last year we did some serious brush work and in 2016 we will work on the tread of the trail.  We will leap frog our way the entire trail and BLM will have shuttle vehicles to drive volunteers back to vehicles at main trailhead. Let’s have fun and be safe.

Volunteers needed: 20 volunteers would be perfect.  Youth seem to do fine as the trail is flat. If your plans change and you cannot make it. Please notify us & attempt to fill the project with another volunteer.

When/Where:  Volunteers from the Boise area should meet Saturday, June 4th at 7am at the Boise District BLM parking lot (3948 S. Development Ave., Boise, ID 83705) for carpooling (GPS coordinates: 43* 33’57.662”N; 116*12’23.394”W).  The road to work project includes 6 miles of graded gravel road.  Volunteers coming from outside Boise can meet up at the Poison Creek Recreation Site (GPS coordinates: 42*45’27.054”; 116*12’23.394”W), about 15 miles southwest of Grandview along the Owyhee Uplands Backcountry Byway (aka Mud Flat Road), at 8:30am.  We will return to Boise BLM about 5pm.

What to bring: All volunteers should bring their own small pack with snacks, sunscreen, and water.  We will pack a lunch (provided by Boise REI & ITA) at beginning of day to eat along the trail.  Volunteers should have hiking boots, leather work gloves, and eye protection (sunglasses or safety glasses).  Bring trail tools if you have them; otherwise BLM and ITA will supply tools.  The best tools for this trail work are a strong back, folding hand saws, heavy duty pruners, Pulaski’s and McCleod’s.

Project leaders: ITA & Dave Draheim  with the Boise BLM

This Trail Work Vacation is full.  Thank you for your interest in volunteering with us & we  hope you will sign up for one of our other great projects! 

 

A WEEK IN THE WHITE CLOUD WILDERNESS

Peter Lovera the Idaho Conservation Leagues’s 2015 Artist in Residence elegantly captured the 2015 Livingston Mill/Castle Divide  trail work vacation that he volunteered on! His words and photos capture how a week of stewardship in Idaho’s wilderness can change you and connect you to the wild.

Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” – John Muir

Please read his blog here: A WEEK IN THE WHITE CLOUD WILDERNESS.

We extend a huge thank you to all the volunteers for there hard work and the Idaho Conservation league for sponsoring this trail work vacation!

Photo Courtesy of Peter Lovera

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Courtesy of Peter Lovera

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Courtesy of Peter Lovera

Volunteers Pick Up Trail Work Where Forest Service Left Off…..

The Boise Weekly published an article about the Idaho Trails Association on July, 2015. It’s a great article on how we got started, our mission, and how we accomplish our mission. Read more here.

Photo Courtesy of Jessica Murri and The Boise Weekly

Photo Courtesy of Jessica Murri and The Boise Weekly

2015 Hum Lake Trail Work Party Debrief

Idaho Trails Association trail work project on July 25th & 26th, 2015 was at Hum Lake on the Krassel District of the Payette National Forest. We backpacked into base camp at Hum Lake on Saturday and then divided into two crews and conquered. One group headed north on the trail and did some much needed trail tread work and the other group back tracked on the Hum lake trail and did some light brushing. After completing a day of hard work we got back to camp where the In the Wild Chef had a Scrumptious gourmet backcountry dinner ready for everyone to devour. On Sunday morning after filling up on Blueberry Brie flappers, sausage, and coffee we headed north on the trail again and did more trail tread work, put in some water dips, cleared 25 down trees from the trail and rerouted the trail onto the original tread. Over time the lack of maintenance made it unclear where the original trail was and the cairns along the trail where incorrectly placed. Now with the trees off the trail and the cairns correctly placed; the trail will guide you to a gorgeous saddle with astounding views that span across the vast wild and scenic country.

The specifics of the accomplishments for this work party:

  • 10-ITA Volunteers contributed 101 hours of volunteer time
  • Cleared 25 trees from the trail.
  • Rehabbed approx 1500 feet of trail.
  • Brushed .75 miles of trail.
  • Cleaned/rebuilt 9 water bars.

Here are some photos of the crew and the work they accomplished.

 

A BIG THANK YOU goes out to the Krassel National Forest Service, REI, In the Wild Chef, everyone of our sponsors, and the volunteers for making this trail work vacation such a success!

2015 Alice-Toxaway Trail Work Vacation Debrief

We are thrilled with the work our volunteers accomplished during this Epic trail work vacation in the Sawtooth Wilderness.

Our amazing volunteer crew along with a Forest Service Wilderness Ranger got this staggering list of  accomplishments done!

  • 10-ITA Volunteers contributed 400 hours of volunteer time.
  • Cleared 7 trees from the trail within Wilderness.
  • Resurfaced 1500 feet of trail through talus slope.
  • Brushed 2.5 miles of trail.
  • Removed rocks from 3 miles of trail.
  • Cleaned/rebuilt 83 water bars.
  • Cleaned 9 drains/creek crossings.
  • Built 150 feet of rock retaining wall for 2 trail realignments.
  • Rehabbed 150 feet of trail at realignments.
  • Built 20 foot approach ramp for bridge.
  • Picked up and packed out 30 pounds of trash from Twin Lakes area.

Here are some photos of the crew and the work they accomplished.

A BIG THANK YOU goes out to the Sawtooth National Forest Service, The Sawtooth Society, REI, Cabela’s, and our volunteers for making this trail work vacation such a success!

National Trails Day Summary

National Trails Day 2015 was a success from the start.  Volunteers met at the BLM field Office in Boise and carpooled to the NTD4Perjue Canyon Trailhead in the Little Jacks Creek Wilderness.  REI supplied sandwiches, chips and drinks while volunteers provided homemade cookies for the return trip.  15 volunteers made the trip with BLM Recreation Staff David Draheim and ITA Executive Director Jeff Halligan leading the project.  It was a 3 mile hike to the project site of brushing, logging out and tread work along the canyon bottom thick with Aspen, Alder and grasses.  There was about 300 feet of trail tread reconstruction/improvement and about ¾ of a mile of brushing and logging out.  The volunteers were treated with the presence of 2 young energetic volunteers whose positive energy and enthusiasm was enjoyed by all!  Thank you Kylie and Hunter!  We hope to see you on more ITA trips!  The hike back up to the trailhead was a real eye opener, as you climbed out of the lush canyon you were met with the heat of the Owyhee Desert afternoon.  It was amazing how the deep lush canyons can hold the cool for so long in the day!  It was a great day to be in the Little Jacks Creek Wilderness!

NTD13NTD15 (1)

Photos Courtesy of our Board Member Diana Burrell

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Idaho Youth Wilderness Initiative

We are collaborating with IYWI another Idaho nonprofit organization to get youth outdoors and experience nature!IYWI logo

IYWI will create opportunities for Idaho’s youth to experience overnight wilderness adventures provided by trained and equipped adult youth leaders.

The mission of IYWI is to create opportunities for Idaho youth to experience overnight wilderness adventures by breaking down barriers to access. In doing so, the organization will provide comprehensive, hands-on training for adult youth leaders wilderness both confidently and competently. There first Outdoor Leadership training is June 26th-28th. Limited spots are available, so please hurry and register! http://idahoyouthwildernessinitiative.org/

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2015 Wewukiye Trail Work Party

 

 
  • Where: Boise National Forest
  • When: Saturday, June 13th
  • Distance: 1-2 miles
  • Location: Weyukiye Trail
  • Level of Difficulty: Moderate
  • Accepting: 20 volunteers

Project Description

Join us on Saturday, June 13th for this one day project in the Boise National Forest. We will be partnering again with Southwest Idaho Mountain Biking Association and the Boise National Forest Service to open up another 1-2 miles of non-motorized hiking and mountain biking trail.

Together last year we got a lot of hard work done and had lots of fun doing it! We are excited to work with SWIMBA and the Boise National forest service again this year. The North zone Boise national forest service is continuing the charge to construct this 16-mile hiking and mountain biking trail that will connect Warm Lake, Stolle Meadows, Vulcan Hot Springs and other landmarks. We have been working hard on this trail over the past four years!

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,”(Wa-woo-kia) meaning elk in the Nez Perce tribal language.

Details: Volunteers have the option of meeting at Project camp near Warm Lake Friday evening for camping. ITA projects leads will be leaving Boise and arriving Saturday morning at the campground at 8:30am. When we meet at the Project camp campground we’ll have a safety brief and drive the short distance to the trail. Volunteers are welcome and encouraged to stay and enjoy a post project dinner provided by ITA and camping! After you sign up the camping, carpooling, and trail maintenance  details will be emailed to you a week before the trail work party.

Sign Up here:

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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!

 

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Oolite Trail Work Party Debrief

Our first trail work party of 2015 was a huge success. We had over 30 volunteers eager to get outside on a gorgeous Saturday in January!  We partnered with the Bruneau Field Office of the BLM to work on the Oolite Interpretive Trail in the Owyhees.

We did some minor pruning and signed the 0.5 mile trail that leads to the mineral cliff deposits. We removed the old metal/barbed wire entrance gate and installed a really nice Juniper hiker maze entrance at the trailhead. We also added a new trailhead sign. The new trailhead sign and Juniper hiker entrance makes the trail more visible from the road and we gave the trail some much needed TLC. After all the work was done we hiked and explored this amazing and unusual area. Then we all relaxed a bit and enjoyed hot beverages, hot dogs and chili! Thank you to all our volunteers and our partners for making this a success! Nice work!

We highly recommend exploring the Oolite interpretive trail. This is an interesting area to stop along the Owyhee Uplands Backcountry Byway and it’s a good place for adults and youths to take a short hike, explore small rock arches, see rare plants, and tiny fossils.  The trail 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 approx. 10 miles to the Shoofly-Oolite Trailhead, just past the Shoofly Cutoff road.

Our next trail work party is on March 28th we are doing some heavy trail pad maintenance on the Eckles Creek trail in Hell’s Canyon. If you are interested in volunteering please sign up here: Eckles Creek work party. The Eckles creek work party is almost full, so please don’t hesitate to sign up. The spots are going fast! We hope to see you there!

Eckles Creek Trail Work Party

Projects details:

Saturday, March 28, 2015.  We will meet at the Allison Creek Trail Head, at Big Bar Campground at 9:30AM – 5:00PM.

Project Details: This project consists of heavy trail pad maintenance using shovels, McCleouds, Pulaski, to build water bars and widen/repair trail tread/pad.  Loppers and small hand saws will be used to prune brush. The Forest Service will provide all tools.  You are expected to provide your own work gloves and appropriate clothing for the weather, food and water.

Volunteers needed: 15 volunteers. If your plans change and you cannot make it. Please notify us & attempt to fill the project with another volunteer.

ITA project leader: Wally Kimball & Jahsha Zeitlin with the Payette National Forest

What to bring: All volunteers should bring their own lunch, work gloves, and wear work style boots. Dress appropriately for the weather conditions.

The drive to meeting site 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 another 8 miles down river from Hells Canyon Campground to Big Bar Campground and the Allison Creek Trail Head.

We will begin the day by meeting at Big Bar Campground (toilets are available but no water).  After the sign-in and safety meeting, we will drive approximately one mile to the Eckels Creek Trail Head to begin the trail work.
ITA will provide barbeque pork ribs & Macaroni salad post trail work on Saturday at Hells Canyon Campground.  Depending upon the number of volunteers participating, we will plan to eat at 5:30PM.

Other details:

Camping option: Wally plans to camp Friday the 27th & Saturday the 28th at the Hells Canyon Campground owned by Idaho Power located 8 miles from the project site.  Sites are at winter rates through March.  RV sites are $8 and tent sites are $5.  Tents can use RV spaces but must pay RV price, however, up to three tents can be set up in an RV Space.  This campground has heated toilets and has tables and fire rings.  Here is link: https://www.idahopower.com/OurEnvironment/Recreation/fees.cfm

Sunday hiking option: Wally is also planning to hike on Sunday morning and would like to invite anyone that wishes to accompany him.  He’ll probably hike Allison Creek, about 6 miles and 2500 feet elevation gain.  An option is just to go sight-seeing down at Hells Canyon Dam—should still be goats, deer, and elk.

In general, this is a good opportunity to join other ITA volunteers for a day of trail maintenance and see some of the Hells Canyon trail hiking opportunities.

Sign in:

Hell’s Canyon Campground, Idaho:

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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.

 

Check out all of our 2015 Work Parties here!

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!

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 Dates2015 Agencies Locations &Logistics Notes & Contacts
Oolite Interpretive Trail January 24th BLM Owyhee WildernessDifficulty: Easy to Moderate

1 day

 

 

 
Eccles CreekHells Canyon 

 

March 28th Forest Service Payette NFDifficulty: Moderate 

1 day

 

ITA project lead: Wally Kimball
National Trails Day June 6th Bureau of Land Management Owyhee WildernessDifficulty: Easy to Moderate1 day

 

East Fork of Lake Fork Creek June 27th Forest Service McCall RDPayette NFDifficulty: Easy

1day

6 volunteers

ITA Project Lead: Jeff Halligan(Crew lead Training Opportunity)
Black Lee Creek(Box Lake Trail)  June 28th Forest Service McCall RDPayette NFDifficulty:

Strenuous

1 day

6 volunteers

ITA Project Lead:  Jeff Halligan(Crew Lead Training Opportunity)
N. Fork Lick Creek July 4th Forest Service Krassel RDPayette NFDifficulty:  moderate

2 miles -1 day

 

ITA project lead: Jeff Halligan
Alice-Toxaway LoopFrom 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 SNRADifficulty: Moderate to strenuous 

30+ miles

7 days

10 volunteers

 

 

 
Hum Lake July 25th & 26th Forest Service Krassel RDPayette NFDifficulty:  moderate

 

2 days

6-8 volunteers

ITA project lead: Jeff Halligan
Livingston Mill-Castle Divide TrailThe 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-SNRADifficulty: 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.


 

 

 

Pistol Creek Trail Project – Rock Stars

July 7th-14th was one of the hottest weeks of the summer. Despite the sweltering heatr, several volunteers gathered to help maintain the Pistol Creek Trail in the Frank Church – River of No Return Wilderness. They arrived and started setting up their camp. Their meals were prepared by the Backcountry Horsemen. With the objective to clear brush, deadfall, and repair tread, they did just that.

Working eight-hour days, they contributed a combined 208 hours of volunteer service. Volunteers maintained 11 miles of trail and cleared an astonishing 129 logs and trees from the trail!

With all that hard work, what else could they have possibly done? Well, this group was a bunch of rock stars.  They also spent time cleaning 20 waterbars and installed 7 new ones.  But that is not all! They also constructed a 20-foot cribwall, inventoried 1 acre of weeds, and removed a campfire ring.

A BIG thank you to all the Pistol Creek Volunteers and Debra Ellers, our our project leader for all the hard work they put into this project! The numbers show their commitment to trails and future trail users.

The Idaho Trails Association also wants to thank the Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation for their financial support and trail crew leadership.
 


 

 

Alice-Toxaway Trail Project – The Crown Jewels

As the project approached, I could sense the volunteer’s excitement to hike the Alice-Toxaway Loop in the Sawtooth Wilderness. Though animals scattered at the sound of our tools clinking hard at work, we saw marmots, a snowshoe rabbit, an osprey, woodpeckers, and a 2 point buck. Every day of the seven day project, the volunteers hiked out on trail with such enthusiasm, and you could see the talent building with each day for those new to trail maintenance.

Each day we started having two groups to cover a larger range of trail work. During the first two days, the volunteers completed the majority of the 18-mile Alice-Toxaway Loop. By the second night both groups had reunited to start other scopes of the project. On the third day the Edna Trail and Edith Trail were both being worked. For a lunch break, one group watched an inchworm stretch to a leafy lunch overlooking Edith, while the others at Edna dipped their toes into the lake for to refresh for the afternoon. On the fourth day we all went en route to the Edna junction, breaking into groups as we hiked to certain parts of the trail. Some hiked 14 miles round trip, past Vernon Lake to cut out a tree that was causing horses issues on the trail. Others hiked up to Sand Mountain Pass to repair and widen tread along the Edna trail that was tricky for hikers trying to trek the switchbacks. The last group worked closer to the junction moving rocks and clearing brush that stretched over the trail.  On the last day we cleared brush and repaired the final 2 miles of the Toxaway Loop. The others hiked the social trails to campsites, cleaning up trash left, and dismantling fire rings they came across. Overall the volunteers maintained roughly 29 miles of trail within the Sawtooths!

Cleaning, repairing, and constructing waterbars was the biggest achievement with an astounding total of 256 maintained. This is a huge help since it will prevent erosion of the trail. To help maintain the corridor wide enough for horses and hikers, 12 trees were cleared from the trail.  Along rocky sections of the trail, we moved 6 large boulders off the trail and dug fresh tread for hikers and horses to pass safely. Hikers and horses had been loosing their footing on the slippery granite rocks. Lastly, since it is not permitted to have fires within this section of the Sawtooths, we scoured the rocky hillsides and campsites for used fire rings. Fortunately, we did not find too many.

To keep our volunteers in such great shape after the long days of work. We had Mystic Saddle Ranch pack our gear in and out of the base camp. We were accompanied by Bortch, who was an amazing cook and story teller. Every night we went to bed with our tummy’s full of a delicious dinner and sometimes dessert. They provided a lovely base camp.  Each volunteer felt like they were living in luxury in the backcountry wilderness.

As our group grew closer through the days of hard work, we gave our tools nicknames that could easily have been mistaken as crew member names. Our crosscut (AKA Mick Jagger) was named because we liked the way it moved. A saw from the 1930’s, it astounded us that it was in such good shape. But the other crosscut needed a name too.  Because both saws were so similar, the second one was named Roxanne. However, they needed one more friend, so our loppers soon became Cindy Lopper. And that is how we gained three more crew members.

Thanks again to our volunteers for their talent and hard work. It was a very rewarding project.  We look forward to doing this project again next year! If you missed out this year, be on the look out to participate next year!

We also want to thank the Sawtooth Society for their financial support for this project, which would not have been possible otherwise.  We also want to thank the Sawtooth National Forest for their support and project leadership.

Become a Member of ITA Today!

Support the work of our volunteers!

Incorporated in 2010, our mission is to promote the continued enjoyment of Idaho’s hiking trails.  We work to accomplish our mission through volunteer trail work, education about Idaho’s unique trail resources, and professional advocacy.

This year our goal is to maintain more than 105 miles of hiking trails with the help of 95 volunteers.  On National Trails Day alone, 16 volunteers helped maintain a hiking trail in the Bruneau-Jarbidge Wilderness .  In mid July, volunteers maintained 17 miles of the Pistol Creek Trail near Cascade, clearing fallen trees and brush. With six more volunteer trail projects scheduled this year, we’re on our way to reaching our goal.

These projects would not be possible without the work of dedicated volunteers and the financial support of our members.  We want to recruit as many new members as we have volunteers – 95.  ITA offers affordable membership rates, starting at $15 for students of public or private institutions.

Your contribution will help keep Idaho’s hiking trails safe, sustainable, and enjoyable. If you are already a volunteer or member, we thank you and hope that you will invite a friend to join with us. Summer is a great time to renew your membership or become a new member!

Celebrate National Trails Day

We love trails, yes we do! We love trails, how about you?

June 2nd is National Trails Day, a time to celebrate trails and reflect on the efforts that go in to making and maintaining them. Did you know that there are  six trail projects on National Trails Day throughout the state of Idaho? The Idaho Trails Association is taking volunteers to work on Tindall Trail but there are many other exciting options from Cambridge to Clark Fork. Check out the registered projects in Idaho on the American Hiking Society page. Not mentioned on the list is a project in the Boise Foothills with Ridge to Rivers and REI.