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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.
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For the week of December 3 - 9, 2003


Ketchum council endorses Bald Mountain ‘connector trail’

"My concept has been to have a trail that would be able to be walked by a grandparent or a child," he said.

CHRISTOPHER SIMMS, acting executive director,
Citizens for Smart Growth

Express Staff Writer

Ketchum City Council members this week unanimously endorsed construction of a public hiking and biking trail that will connect Sun Valley Co.’s River Run and Warm Springs skiing services villages at the base of Bald Mountain.

Henry Dean, standing, general counsel and project director for the California-based development group Sun Valley Ventures, tells members of the Ketchum City Council Monday that he supports development of a public trail that would cross Warm Springs Ranch. Sun Valley Ventures owns the ranch. Seated to the right of Dean are company principals Stephen Roth and Robert Bisno. Express photo by Willy Cook

After an informal presentation on Monday, Dec. 1, of a plan to complete the trail, the council voted 4-0 to adopt a resolution that supports the tentative plan and calls for an environmental analysis of the project.

Christopher Simms, acting executive director of Hailey-based Citizens for Smart Growth, said several groups have been collaborating to establish a public trail that would start at Sun Valley Co.’s Warm Springs Lodge and cross public and private properties to connect with the existing Bald Mountain Trail above Ketchum. Ultimately, the trail would allow the public to travel between the two base villages on a continuous path on the west side of the Big Wood River.

Simms said officials from the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management have given preliminary approval for the project. The trail would be open to hikers, bikers, and possibly equestrians, he noted.

Two owners of Sun Valley Ventures, the company that owns the 76-acre Warm Springs Ranch property, told council members Monday they will allow the proposed public trail to cross the private ranch property.

Simms said the trail—which would run along the west side of Warm Springs Creek and connect with the Bald Mountain Trail approximately one mile north of River Run—requires an easement to cross the Warm Springs property to avoid crossing a steep set of cliffs.

Simms noted that the proposed trail would not be too steep for most hikers. "My concept has been to have a trail that would be able to be walked by a grandparent or a child," he said.

Simms said he plans to seek approval from Sun Valley Co.—which has no legal authority over the project—before proposing a construction plan for the trail.

If approved by all of the interested parties, the trail will likely be completed in summer 2005, Simms said.



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