Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Sawtooth seeks state recreation funds

Application gives glimpse at pending recreation projects

Express Staff Writer

In its application to the state of Idaho asking for money to fund recreation facilities, the Sawtooth National Forest is giving a glimpse at the coming season's projects.

The Sawtooth National Forest is applying to the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation for several grants to improve recreation facilities throughout the forest.

The types of projects for which grants are being requested include replacing old, deteriorated outhouses with pre-cast concrete "sweet smelling toilets," which use convection to draw the stink through a black chimney; paving campground roads and the construction of trail bridges.

According to Terry Fletcher, forest landscape architect, each year the State of Idaho provides funding for public land agencies through a grant application process.

"The funds from the state are generated through the sale of various boating, recreation and off-road vehicle stickers," Fletcher said. "The agencies applying for these funds must provide matching funds or in-kind contributions. This grant program is a great benefit to the users of these public lands as the money they pay in fees goes right back onto the land to improve the facilities they use and enjoy."

One stipulation of the grant program is that the agency applying for the funds must notify nearby residents of the proposed projects and provide an opportunity for people to express their opinions and suggestions.

"More importantly, we are just as interested in hearing if people agree with the projects we are proposing to be funded with these grants, as well as any concerns they may have," Fletcher said. "To be the most helpful, we would like to receive any comments by Jan. 21, which is just prior to when we must submit our applications to the state."

The following is a list, by area, of the proposed projects and the Forest Service employee to contact with comments:

Forest-wide, (contact Terry Fletcher at (208) 737-3200.

The only forest-wide project includes the purchase and installation of trail signs to identify and designate trail uses on trails throughout the entire forest.

On the Ketchum Ranger District, contact Jeff Halligan at (208) 622-0096. Proposed projects include reconstruction of the Parker Gulch Trailhead and reestablishment of the trail from the trailhead to the existing trail. Plans also include reconstruction of the trail at the top of the pass into Bear Gulch. Meadow and riparian areas at the existing trailhead would be rehabilitated to repair the damage caused by cross-country motorized travel.

For the following project on the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, contact Jay Dorr at (208) 727-5000. The project includes stream restoration and transportation improvements in Alpine and Alturas Lake creeks. In this ongoing project, forest officials plan to rebuild the Alturas Lake Creek Trailhead, build a trial bridge and convert 1.5 miles of Alturas Lake Road to a motorized trail.

For the following SNRA projects, contact Renee Catherin at (208) 774-3006.

At Grandjean, forest officials plan to replace all five existing deteriorated plywood outhouses in the campground with pre-cast concrete toilets.

At the Mormon Bend Campground along the Salmon River, they plan to pave roads and campsite parking spurs, replace campground furniture and refurbish water hand pumps to meet state drinking water standards.

At other Salmon River campgrounds and picnic areas, the forest plans to enhance existing facilities at Upper and Lower O'Brien campgrounds, Holm Creek, Whiskey Flat and Salmon River Campgrounds and Snyder Springs Picnic Site and North Shore Picnic Area, including the replacement of six deteriorated outhouses and refurbishing water hand pumps.

They also plan to build a wood and cable staircase and add 300 feet of interpretive trail at the Sunbeam Overlook and perform heavy maintenance on a 4-mile section of Redfish Lake trail.

A trail maintenance project to improve Big Peak, South Fork Lime Creek, Big Smoky and Boardman Trails will consist of rock removal, minor reroutes and improving the trail tread for dirt bikes, hikers and horseback riders.

On the Fairfield Ranger District, contact Ann Frost at (208) 764-3202.

The forest plans to replace the deck on the Red Rock Snowmobile Bridge and buy two trail bikes to outfit a two-person motorized trail crew to complete trail maintenance projects during the summer.

On the Minidoka Ranger District, contact Glenn Lackey at (208) 677-8303.

The forest plans to assist the Magic Valley Snowmobile Club with the submittal of a grant application for the construction of a winter shelter and vault toilet near Bostetter Campground

Officials plan to build an information kiosk at Diamondfield Jack for summer and winter trail and travel planning information, including a permanent trail map. Plans are also pending to perform heavy maintenance and tread repair on the Middle Fork of Shoshone Creek Trail.

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