Friday, May 11, 2007

Gun Club trails taking shape

Project seeks to build 4 miles of multi-use trails

Express Staff Writer

Photo by Chris Leman Greg Mazu of Trail Solutions and Hans Muehlegger of Sun Valley Co. analyze the proposed trails on Sun Valley Co.?s Gun Club property. Construction of roughly four miles of trails is set to begin July 9.

Sun Valley Co., Big Wood Backcountry Trails and International Mountain Biking Association's Trail Solutions are working to re-establish and enhance multi-use, non-motorized trail opportunities on Sun Valley Resort's Gun Club property.

"We're making good progress—the design is starting to take shape," said Big Wood Backcountry Trails Director Chris Leman.

Last summer and into the fall, Leman and crews set out to mark possible routes for the roughly four miles of trials that will run in proximity to Sun Valley Co.'s Gun Glub Nine golf course, northeast of the resort along Trail Creek Road.

This spring, Greg Mazu of Trail Solutions in Fort Collins, Colo., has lent his expertise to the project, "ensuring the trials are sustainable and appropriate for shared use," Leman said.

"Greg's wealth of knowledge on trail design is certainty evident, as his ideas for trails are excellent," Leman said in a written statement.

July 9 is the target date to break ground and the project is expected to be complete by the end of August. The trails are all native surface and will be initially composed of soft soil. For this reason, the trails will not be open this fall in order to allow the winter snow and subsequent melt-off to naturally firm-up the ground.

"We plan on opening the trails in the spring of 2008," Leman said. The terrain will vary in grade from 5 to 15 percent, with a 3 percent out-slope to mitigate rain and snow run off.

"Wally (Huffman, general manager of Sun Valley Co.) has been extremely accommodating and really great to work with," Leman said. "When questions arise he, or a member of his staff, has been there to answer it."

As part of Mazu's retainer with Sun Valley Co., he will also spend four days on the nearby Sun Peak Trail. Mazu will work on a trail design study that will be presented to both the Bureau of Land management and to Sun Valley Co.

The Sun Peak Trail was closed by the BLM two years ago because it was deemed to be unsustainable.

The BLM will decide if an Environmental Impact Statement or Environmental Analysis is needed.

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