Friday, May 29, 2009

BLM gets to work on Croy trails

Hopes to get 13 miles done by August

Express Staff Writer

Hailey trails advocate Chris Leman places flags along a section of hillside west of Hailey in Croy Canyon that will see trail construction this summer. Photo by David N. Seelig

By summer's end, south valley trail users should have access to some or all of 12.5 miles of new singletrack trail west of Hailey in Croy Canyon.

Work on the new system of trails is set to begin next week on Tuesday, June 2. The BLM has hired a private contractor from Oregon to complete the extensive trail work. The contractor, Northwest Woodland Services Inc. out of Boring, Ore., will use two mini-excavators to complete the work.

The new system of trails, dubbed the Rotarun Trail network, will stretch from Democrat Gulch to the unnamed drainage west of Bullion Gulch. The network will eventually cover 15 miles of new trails and 3 miles of existing roads.

According to John Kurtz, outdoor recreation planner for the BLM's field office in Shoshone, the 12.5-mile portion will likely be complete sometime in late August. He said roughly half of the trail mileage will be open to motorized users, with the rest strictly for non-motorized users like mountain bikers and hikers.

The trails will cover the area spanning Democrat Gulch, Bullion Gulch and an unnamed basin west of Bullion Gulch. The main access point to the trails will be from the renamed Croy Trailhead, which is located at the old Rotarun BMX track.

The trailhead is about 3.5 miles west of Hailey along the main Croy Canyon Road.

Kurtz said he realizes peoples' desire to try out the new trails, but asked for their patience. At most, local recreationists will have to wait 6 months after the trails are done to check them out.

Kurtz said a "limited opening" later this fall is most likely.

Jason Kauffman:

Equestrians excited about future trails

Local horseback riders could have access to 4 miles of new trail in the hills west of Bellevue within a few years if all goes as planned. Once complete, those new trail miles will be combined with old jeep tracks to make an 8-mile network. The trails are a part of a joint BLM travel plan the agency developed with the help of the Blaine County Commission. The new trails would be located in the Lee's Gulch-Bunker Hill zone. Members of the Sawtooth Backcountry Horsemen, a local equestrian trails group, applauded the plan.

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