Friday, July 25, 2008

Rotarun trails becoming a reality

More volunteers needed to complete 2.5-mile section of new trail network

Express Staff Writer

Photo courtesy of Chris Leman, Big Wood Backcountry Trails Big Wood Backcountry Trails volunteers Luma Randolph, Greg Randolph, Chris Kastner and Billy Olson work on a section of the new 2.5 miles of trail the group is helping the BLM build in the Rotarun area west of Hailey.

A group of volunteers and government workers got started on the construction of the new Rotarun Trail network last Tuesday evening.

Leading the work party west of Hailey in Croy Canyon were John Kurtz, U.S. Bureau of Land Management Shoshone Field Office Recreation Planner, and Sawtooth National Forest Ketchum Ranger District Trail Coordinator Renee Catherine. Joining Kurtz and Catherine on the initial construction effort were 11 volunteers and three BLM recreation program employees.

The Rotarun Trail network is planned to be 18 miles long. The trail system will stretch from Democrat Gulch to the unnamed drainage west of Bullion Gulch and will include 15 miles of new trails and 3 miles of existing roads.

For now, the volunteers are working on a shorter 2.5-mile section of the trail network.

In addition to the hand-built trails now under construction, three additional loops totaling 12.5 miles will be mechanically built by a contractor hired by the BLM.

"We heard from a portion of the trail community that they'd prefer hand constructed trails over machine-built trails, so we're organizing volunteer efforts to proceed with some hand construction," Kurtz explained. "It's a great way for trail users to contribute sweat equity toward helping the BLM develop trails in the Wood River Valley."

A follow-up trail work session is planned for next Wednesday, July 30, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Additional volunteers are being sought to help out with the effort.

Anyone interested in volunteering is asked to contact Big Wood Backcountry Trails Executive Director Chris Leman at (208) 721-1691 or

Volunteers who helped out on the first session included Eric Rector, Kasey Hochmuht, Greg Bearce, John Sproule, Todd Byle, Chris Kastner, Chopper Randolph, Luma Randolph, Travis Zerba, Bill Olson and Chris Leman. The BLM's Mike Setlock, Nick Schreiner, and Mike Bodrero also worked on the effort.

Leman said the first segment of trail completed on Tuesday provides an example of the finished project the BLM is requiring. The work is the culmination of months of careful planning and community-wide discussion about the need for single-track trails near Hailey, he said.

"We're finally moving some dirt and building trails," he said.

Volunteers should gather at the end of Rodeo Drive, the road that accesses the Rotarun ski hill. Because parking is limited, volunteers are asked to carpool if possible.

Volunteers should bring work gloves, eye protection, drinking water and sturdy footwear and long pants. No dogs, please.

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