Friday, July 1, 2011

Hiking-guide author to be honored

Gloria Moore Osberg to be trailís namesake


By KATHERINE WUTZ
Express Staff Writer

The author of a Sun Valley hiking guide will soon be immortalized as the namesake of a local hiking trail along the top of the Baker Creek drainage, north of Ketchum.

Gloria Moore Osberg will be honored on July 2, when the Ketchum Ranger District, the Idaho Conservation League and the Wood River Land Trust will sponsor a reception at the Osbergs' Newman Creek cabin, not far from the trail.

Osberg will be presented with a brass plaque that reads "Gloria Moore Osberg: hiker, author, environmental advocate for the mountains of central Idaho."

The plaque, created by Sun Valley Bronze, will be placed on a rock outcropping along the trail after the presentation.

Osberg is the author of "Day Hiking Near Sun Valley," a resource for local hikers that was five years in the making.

The book gives detailed information on a large number of hikes in the Sun Valley region and features an innovative ringed binder design that allows the hiker to remove pages and bring them along on any trek, safely encased in an included plastic sleeve.

When she retired, Osberg gave the copyright to the book—and the profits of all subsequent sales—to the Idaho Conservation League, a Boise-based conservation group with an office in Ketchum.

"Gloria's hiking books have introduced some of America's most wonderful country in central Idaho to thousands of people," said Rick Johnson, the organization's executive director. "Donating the publication of the book to [us] raised thousands of dollars for conservation work."

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Johnson and Wood River Land Trust Executive Director Scott Boettger approached Ketchum District Ranger Kurt Nelson last year with a proposal to dedicate a trail in the Baker Creek drainage to Osberg. Osberg and her husband, John, own a cabin in the Newman Creek development in the drainage.

Osberg suffers from advanced Parkinson's disease, and Nelson said Boettger and Johnson wanted to do something to honor her contributions to the valley.

"She is a warm and lovely woman, and very inspiring to me and many others," Johnson said.

Brett Stevenson, spokeswoman for the league's Ketchum office, agreed, saying, "We are full of gratitude for all that Gloria has done for conservation in Idaho."

Nelson said he chose the Ridgeline Trail, Forest Service Trail 142, in part because of its deteriorating condition, which could benefit from a partnership with the Land Trust and the league.

"The thing about the Ridgeline Trail is that it has incredible views," Nelson said. "You can see 360 degrees to Baker Peak, the Smoky Mountains and the Pioneers."

However, Nelson said the trail was poorly designed, dipping into gullies where it is quickly eroded and washed out by stream runoff. He said the dedication and its accompanying partnership would allow the Forest Service to rebuild a much more sustainable trail.

"It's a win-win," he said.

The trail runs 10 miles along the ridge between Fox Peak and the Baker Lake trailhead, along the ridge between the Warm Springs drainage and the south side of the Baker Creek drainage.

Nelson said the trail is still covered with snow, preventing rehabilitation work from beginning anytime soon.

Katherine Wutz: kwutz@mtexpress.com




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