Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Magical Moments celebrated

Gala for Galena Lodge and trails

Express Staff Writer

Galena Lodge

With winter fast approaching, many minds turn to skiing on the hill and on the trails. And where do we go? Why the North Valley Trails system, of course, which are operated by the Blaine County Recreation District and partially funded by the generosity of its patrons and donors.

This marks a decade since the community began gathering to support the trails and the Galena Lodge. The Gala for Galena, which is generally considered the first big bash of the season, is Saturday, Nov. 6, at 6:30 p.m. in the Sun Valley Inn?s Limelight Room. There will be a sit-down dinner, and silent and live auctions. The theme is ?Magical Moments,? a journey through the history of the lodge and the people who bring it to life. Bob Rosso and emcee Larry Flynn will host the fun filled and high-spirited live auction.

This year?s live auction packages include a week of luxury living in Mexico, a whitewater adventure on the Salmon River, a ski getaway in the scenic Methow Valley of northcentral Washington at the luxurious Sun Mountain Inn, jewelry, artwork and all sorts of items for the coming winter sport season. All proceeds from the event benefit Galena Lodge and the North Valley Trails.

The Blaine County Recreation District has operated the lodge and surrounding trails since 1994, when the lodge was given to the community as a result of a generous donation by Teresa Heinz Kerry and her children, and matching support from hundreds of individuals in the community.

Today the lodge serves as the center of 120 kilometers of cross-country skiing, as well as summer recreational programs. The annual operating budget is from $100,000 to $150,000, with more than 84 percent coming from private donations. Last year?s dinner raised more than $120,000.

The trail system attracted more than 4,000 season pass holders last winter. There were more than 100,000 skier days.

The Blaine County Recreation District also developed and manages the 22-mile Wood River trail system and the 18-mile Harriman Trail. It oversees a summer outdoor swimming pool, tennis courts, community parks, boating docks, and classes in recreational activities ranging from t-ball to dance.

Although the district is partially funded through property taxes, it raises two-thirds of its $2.2 million annual operating budget through grants, sponsorships and private donations. User fees make up only a third of annual program costs.

Tickets are $75 per person, and tables of 8 or 10 can be reserved. Contact Jenny Busdon, chairman of the dinner, at 726-1649 or Raeghen Peavey at the Blaine County Recreation District at 788-2117. Tickets can also be purchased at Backwoods Mountain Sports, the Elephant?s Perch and at the BCRD office at the Community Campus in Hailey.

In addition, auction items are always needed. Persons wishing to donate auction items should contact Busdon or the BCRD.

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