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For the week of January 16 - 22, 2002


New trailhead, bridge proposed at Fox Creek

Get involved

The Ketchum Ranger District is proposing to build a new, 25- to 30-vehicle trailhead lot at Fox Creek, north of Ketchum. The project would include construction of a foot bridge and widening of an access road.

If the project is approved, and depending on funding, the proposal could be planned for construction by the summer of 2003.

Forest Service officials say the project would help alleviate heavy traffic at other trailheads north of town, as well as reduce traffic at the overused Chocolate Gulch and Hulen Meadows access points.

To comment: 
To add your two cents, send written comments by Jan. 30 to: Ketchum Ranger District, P.O. Box 2356, Ketchum, ID 83340, Attn: Chuck Lovely.

Express Staff Writer

The Sawtooth National Forest’s Ketchum Ranger District is proposing to build a new trailhead and foot bridge across the Big Wood River, which could help alleviate trailhead congestion in nearby residential areas.

The proposal is to plan and build a trailhead and foot bridge at the confluence of Fox Creek and the Big Wood, about six miles north of Ketchum.

The purpose of the proposal is to provide access to the Fox Creek Trail and adjoining trail systems, said Ketchum District Recreation Staff Assistant Chuck Lovely.

"Historically, the Fox Creek Trail and adjoining system trails have been accessed via Lake Creek and Adams Gulch trailheads, as well as through Chocolate Gulch," Lovely said. "During the months of May and June, Lake Creek trailhead is inaccessible due to high water from spring snowmelt. Many visitors access these trails through easements in the Hulen Meadows and Chocolate Gulch subdivisions during this period."

Lovely pointed out that neither Chocolate Gulch nor Hulen Meadows has the necessary parking space to handle large numbers of trail users. Because of the popularity of the trails and their proximity to Ketchum and Sun Valley, an additional trailhead is needed to accommodate parking when the Lake Creek trailhead is inaccessible, he said.

Last summer, in fact, residents of the Chocolate Gulch neighborhood balked at the amount of traffic stacked up near the neighborhood’s access easement. Cars lined the sides of the road and were parked on lawns. Blaine County Sheriff Walt Femling vowed to enforce parking in the area, but the Forest Service appears to be searching for a more permanent solution.

Ketchum District Ranger Kurt Nelson said that under a typical Forest Service timeline, the project could take up to 10 years to complete because of limited funding. Should it be approved, Blaine County and Chocolate Gulch residents, however, have offered to help fund the project.

Nelson said Blaine County has already committed $20,000 to $25,000 toward what could total between $100,000 and $150,000.

If built, the trailhead would consist of a graveled parking area accommodating 25 to 30 vehicles and a single vault toilet. A footbridge across the Big Wood River would provide access to the Fox Creek Trail and the adjoining system of trails.

The bridge would be located above the 100-year flood plain, and the short National Forest access road between the proposed trailhead, and Highway 75 would be improved and widened during trailhead construction.

A new trailhead in the area would greatly reduce, if not eliminate, concerns by area residents of the public accessing the trail system through private property, Lovely said.

If the project is approved, and depending on funding, the proposal could be planned for construction by the summer of 2003.


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