Ketchum council endorses Bald Mountain
"My concept has been to have a trail
that would be able to be walked by a grandparent or a child," he said.
— CHRISTOPHER SIMMS, acting
Citizens for Smart Growth
By GREGORY FOLEY
Express Staff Writer
Ketchum City Council members this week
unanimously endorsed construction of a public hiking and biking trail that will
connect Sun Valley Co.’s River Run and Warm Springs skiing services villages at
the base of Bald Mountain.
Henry Dean, standing, general
counsel and project director for the California-based development group Sun
Valley Ventures, tells members of the Ketchum City Council Monday that he
supports development of a public trail that would cross Warm Springs Ranch. Sun
Valley Ventures owns the ranch. Seated to the right of Dean are company
principals Stephen Roth and Robert Bisno. Express photo by Willy Cook
After an informal presentation on Monday,
Dec. 1, of a plan to complete the trail, the council voted 4-0 to adopt a
resolution that supports the tentative plan and calls for an environmental
analysis of the project.
Christopher Simms, acting executive
director of Hailey-based Citizens for Smart Growth, said several groups have
been collaborating to establish a public trail that would start at Sun Valley
Co.’s Warm Springs Lodge and cross public and private properties to connect with
the existing Bald Mountain Trail above Ketchum. Ultimately, the trail would
allow the public to travel between the two base villages on a continuous path on
the west side of the Big Wood River.
Simms said officials from the U.S. Forest
Service and Bureau of Land Management have given preliminary approval for the
project. The trail would be open to hikers, bikers, and possibly equestrians, he
Two owners of Sun Valley Ventures, the
company that owns the 76-acre Warm Springs Ranch property, told council members
Monday they will allow the proposed public trail to cross the private ranch
Simms said the trail—which would run along
the west side of Warm Springs Creek and connect with the Bald Mountain Trail
approximately one mile north of River Run—requires an easement to cross the Warm
Springs property to avoid crossing a steep set of cliffs.
Simms noted that the proposed trail would
not be too steep for most hikers. "My concept has been to have a trail that
would be able to be walked by a grandparent or a child," he said.
Simms said he plans to seek approval from
Sun Valley Co.—which has no legal authority over the project—before proposing a
construction plan for the trail.
If approved by all of the interested
parties, the trail will likely be completed in summer 2005, Simms said.