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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of October 22 - 28, 2003


Fox Creek bridge
under construction

New trailhead to be finished
this fall or early next summer

"We’ve been real fortunate with the weather, and if the weather holds well enough, we’ll come in and get this bridge in this fall."

BRIAN CAMERON, Fox Creek bridge project superintendent

Express Staff Writer

Construction commenced this fall on a new, 80-foot-long foot bridge across the Big Wood River at Fox Creek.

A new bridge spanning the Big Wood River at Fox Creek is under construction this fall. On Monday, Brian Cameron, the project’s superintendent, above, pulled forms off the new structure’s east-side abutment on Monday. Express photos by Willy Cook

The bridge is part of a new trailhead being built by the U.S. Forest Service and Blaine County. When completed, by next summer, at the latest, the bridge will service the Fox Creek trail system.

The system, which includes Chocolate Gulch, Oregon Gulch, North Fork and Fox Creek trails, provides recreation opportunities to more than 20,000 hikers, mountain bikers, runners and equestrians each year.

The new trailhead is located about six miles north of Ketchum and about a half mile west of Highway 75.

"If all goes well and the snow doesn’t fly, we could potentially have the bridge installed this fall," said the Sawtooth National Forest’s Ketchum District Ranger Kurt Nelson.

Brian Cameron, project superintendent, said the bridge abutments are "well designed and beefy" for a foot bridge.

"That sun of a gun will be here for a long time," he said.

Brian Cameron, top, and Charles Rigsby, of Boise-based Hamilton Builders, are working this fall to install a new, 80-foot-long bridge across the Big Wood River. When finished, the bridge will service the Fox Creek, Chocolate Gulch and North Fork trails on the west side of the river. Express photos by Willy Cook

Cameron and Charles Rigsby, who both work for Boise-based Hamilton Builders, were working this week to install abutments on both sides of the river. That portion of the job should be complete sometime this week, Cameron said.

Thereafter, they’ll have to wait for the bridge, which is on order, Cameron said.

"We’ve been real fortunate with the weather, and if the weather holds well enough, we’ll come in and get this bridge in this fall," he said.

In part, the Fox Creek bridge and new trailhead are the results of an effort to alleviate traffic at the Forest Service’s Chocolate Gulch trailhead, about a mile upstream. Because the Chocolate Gulch area has very limited parking, trail users parked in homeowners’ lawns and along streets during busy weekends.

In addition to the new bridge, the project will include construction of a 7,500-square-foot gravel parking area that will accommodate 15 to 20 vehicles and three to four vehicles with trailers. In response to concerns from neighbors, the Forest Service reduced the number of parking spaces from original proposals, but the plan leaves options open to add an additional nine to 10 spaces if they are needed.

An unimproved access road will be widened and surfaced to mitigate water runoff. A culvert or asphalt water ford will also be installed at a low-lying portion of the road.

Finally, a vault toilet will be installed.

"This is one of the most popular trail systems that we have in the Wood River Valley," Nelson said. "The Fox Creek system is important from the standpoint that it really helps to distribute use in this area. It also helps to relieve pressure from adjacent trailheads, such as the one in Chocolate Gulch, which is located in a subdivision."

While homeowners near the new trailhead location were skeptical about additional public use in their neighborhood, Blaine County commissioners, a local trail advocacy group and Chocolate Gulch homeowners all said the improved access makes sense.



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