By MARK A. YORK
Express Staff Writer
BLM Idaho state Director Steve Ellis took to the local trails on a mountain bike last Thursday to commemorate completion of the Croy Creek trail system near Hailey.
"The BLM really led the way in this front-loaded approach to recreation planning—using collaboration and engaging various agencies, groups and individuals to bring this trail system into being," said Chris Leman, Sun Valley resident and trail specialist with the International Mountain Biking Association, in a news release from the BLM.
Leman joined Ellis and BLM Twin Falls District Manager Bill Baker, along with congressional and state staff and area trail users for the ride, which began at the trailhead west of Hailey and ended with a run down the Punchline flow trail.
The BLM became involved with the Croy Creek project in 1998, after the Shoshone Field Office received requests for more single-track, non-motorized trails near Hailey. Most of the 370 miles of Sawtooth National Forest trails are snowed in until late spring or early summer, while most of the existing lower-elevation trails closer to Hailey cross private land at least once. Working in partnership with rider groups, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Blaine County Recreation District and Blaine County, BLM identified sustainable routes on public land that offer scenic, challenging rides but impact wildlife as little as possible.
The International Mountain Bicycling Association Trail Care Crew will visit the valley from Sept. 15-17. The two-person crew travels throughout the country teaching sustainable trail design and working with communities to improve mountain biking opportunities. It will conduct a Better Living Through Trails seminar on Thursday, Sept. 15, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the American Legion Hall, 220 Cottonwood St. in Ketchum.
The crew will conduct a Land Manager Training Seminar at the Community Campus, 1050 Fox Acres Rd., Room 301 and 302 in Hailey, on Friday, Sept. 16, from 9-11 a.m. According to a news release from the organization, the seminar is intended to help land managers understand IMBA's practice of designing and maintaining sustainable trails as well as the importance of partnerships with local mountain biking organizations.
There will also be an IMBA Trail Building School at Galena Lodge on Saturday, Sept. 17, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with snacks and beverages provided.
"As a valley resident and longtime lover of our local trails, I'm excited to see the Trail Care Crew coming to the valley," Leman said.