More biking trails proposed on Baldy
The U.S. Forest Service is proposing to authorize construction of about 11 miles of new non-motorized mountain biking trails over a three- to six-year period by Sun Valley Co. on the national forest portion of the Bald Mountain Ski Area.
Joe Miczulski, recreation forester for the Ketchum Ranger District, said Sun Valley Co. has identified opportunities for expanding its novice and intermediate mountain bike terrain above Bald Mountain’s Roundhouse Restaurant. If approved, trail construction could begin during summer 2013.
“The Bald Mountain Trail will continue to be the primary hiking route from River Run to the Roundhouse Restaurant and the top of Baldy,” he said. “
Sun Valley Co. would patrol and maintain the new trails.
A Notice of Proposed Action, with tables and images of the proposed trails, is available at the Ketchum Ranger Station, 206 Sun Valley Rd. in Ketchum.
A 30-day comment period for the proposal begins today, March 20. Comments should be sent to Ketchum Ranger District, Box 2356, Ketchum, ID 83340, attn. Bald Mountain Summer Trail Proposal. Comments may also be e-mailed to HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" email@example.com.
January jobless rate holds steady
Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for January remained unchanged at a four-year low of 6.3 percent.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also estimated the statewide labor force, essentially flat since last spring, declined in January, underscoring the slowness of Idaho’s recovery and furthering analyst concerns for a sufficient labor force to man a robust expansion.
According to a news release from the Idaho Department of Labor, the state’s employers had been increasing their hiring as 2012 ended, but the pace of job gain at just over 1 percent was slower than the nation’s.
Idaho’s ranks of the unemployed fell by 400 from December, matching the labor force decline and keeping the unemployment rate unchanged for January. Total employment increased by less than 50 to 725,600, remaining 2,900 short of the prerecession peak.
The statewide jobless rate, however, was 1.5 percentage points below the national rate, which rose a tenth of a point in January to 7.8 percent. January marked 11 years and four months that Idaho’s unemployment rate has been below the national rate.
Trail Creek golf course praised
Sun Valley Co.’s Trail Creek golf course got a nod in Golfweek magazine last week as one of the state’s best courses.
According to a recent resort news release, course designer Robert Trent Jones Jr. is responsible for the 18-hole course’s layout, which has also received accolades from Golf Digest and Golf magazine.
“Trail Creek is timeless, with stunning views of Bald Mountain, the Wood River Valley and its namesake creek,” said Rick Hickman, the resort’s director of golf operations. “It’s a joy to play and a perpetual favorite among guests and locals.”
The resort began renovations of the course’s first hole last year and, according to the release, anticipates completing the improvements by early July.
For more information, visit the golf page on the resort’s website at www.sunvalley.com/golf or call the reservations office at 800-786-8259.
Sun Valley Nordic Center closes
The Sun Valley Nordic Center closed its tracks for the season Thursday, though its retail shop will remain open as the resort prepares for golf season.
Resort spokesman Jack Sibbach said the shop will continue to sell Nordic equipment for another few weeks, though it will begin to carry less ski stuff and more golf equipment as spring marches on. During the transition period, the shop will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sibbach said the shop will extend its hours once the resort opens its golf courses, which he said is usually around May 1, but might be in late April this year due to a recent warm spell. Sun Valley has announced that its 2013 tee sheets are open.
Funds offered for grouse conservation
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has money available for ranchers and farmers looking to improve the sage grouse population in Idaho.
The agency’s sage grouse initiative helps pay for putting specific conservation practices in place that will enhance habitat or reduce threats to bird survival.Typical projects include using rangeland to increase availability of sage-grouse food plants; removing juniper trees in key breeding, brood-rearing and wintering sites to restore grouse habitat; and including a grazing rest period to improve sage grouse cover during nesting season.
Applications for funding are due by April 19. For more information on the initiative, visit www.id.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/sage_grouse/index.html.
WREP to hold insurance meeting
The Wood River Economic Partnership will meet next month to discuss a health insurance option for valley employers.
Jerry Edgington, vice president and general manager of SelectHealth health insurance, will talk about the insurance program and his company’s work with St. Luke’s health system.
WREP Executive Director Doug Brown said the insurance provider could be able to save local businesses money.
The meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 2, from 5:15-7 p.m. in the lower Giacobbi Square atrium below Atkinsons’. Because space is limited, an RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org is required to attend.
Feds plan new trails at Galena
The Sawtooth National Recreation Area is seeking public comment on a proposal to create a non-motorized trail network in the Galena Lodge area, 23 miles north of Ketchum.
The action proposed is to build 37 miles of new trails and adopt 14 miles of existing non-system routes into the Forest Service trail system to create a 52-mile non-motorized trail network.
The project would also expand the Galena Lodge parking lot to serve as a hiker/biker trailhead and would develop a horse trailhead across state Highway 75.
An alternative to this action would construct 18 miles of new trails and use 15 miles of existing routes to create a 32-mile trail network.
SNRA Area Ranger Joby Timm said the proposed trail network will be geared more to beginner and intermediate trail users than the existing trail system on the SNRA.
The SNRA has produced a review environmental assessment to analyze and disclose the effects of the proposed action and the alternative to the proposed action. That document can be viewed at http://data.ecosystem-management.org/nepaweb/nepa_project_exp.php?project=39782. A hard copy of the document can be obtained by contacting Ed Cannady at email@example.com or 727-5004.
Send comments by April 22 to Sawtooth National Recreation Area, attn. Galena Summer Trails Project, 5 North Fork Canyon Rd., Ketchum, ID 83340.