Thursday, April 12, 2012

New ID online trail map a great trip-planning tool, plus Barking Spider & Hungry Miles

Wild Rockies' Barking Spider race is coming up Saturday

100 hungry miles (see below)
Image from the new Idaho interactive trail map -
Hi all,

This week's post focuses on a new Idaho interactive trail map created by the Idaho Department of Recreation. It's a super-cool Google-based mapping resource that will help you plan your next recreation outing. The web address is:

I don't know about you, but it always seems that when I'm planning a trip outside of the sphere of SW Idaho, I can't find the hard-copy map I need. (And my map library fills 5 drawers in a large filing cabinet!) With the new Idaho interactive trail map, you can plan your adventure from any computer hooked up to the Internet. Once you've decided on a loop route, you can export the map to a GPS unit, Google Earth, a printer or send a link to a friend.

How cool is that? Same goes for BLM maps. IDPR took trail map information from the Forest Service and the BLM and built the trail data base from there.

Here's a video showing folks how to use the trail map web site:

Idaho is the first state to provide an interactive online mapping resource of this kind, says Troy Elmore of IDPR. "This is a first. We are the first state to produce an interactive Google-based statewide online trail map. It's been a lot of work putting it together. We've had some bugs to work out, but we're pretty excited about it now."

Click on any part of Idaho, and the online map zooms into the trail networks that exist in the area. People can zoom into a particular trail, learn the name of the trail, the trail number, and the online map tells you what kind of trail it is through color coding (motorcycle, ATV, jeep trail, non-motorized trail, road, etc.). It tells you how long the trail segment is, what season of use is allowed, and more.

The online maps provide a diversity of viewing opportunities for checking out Idaho's trails and roads. People can choose from an aerial photography view, topographic map view, terrain map view, or a hybrid view.

It'll even give you point-by-point directions to the trailhead from your home!

Just think if you're trying to plan a cross-Idaho hike from Hells Canyon to Montana ... what route are you going to take? The online map will be fabulous for stuff like that. Or how about a trip across the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness? Same deal. Zoom in and pick your route.

The Google-based map resource was funded with Idaho off-highway vehicle sticker funds. Thanks to IDPR for putting together such an awesome resource!

Two other things coming up are worthy of note:

1. The Wild Rockies Barking Spider running and mountain bike race on the front side of the Owyhees near Walter's Ferry will be held on Saturday. It's the first Wild Rockies race of the year. Pre-registration will be open through tomorrow on the Wild Rockies web site. Registration fees range from $20 for beginners to $40 for pros. Darren Lightfield of Wild Rockies said 180 people are registered so far, and that number usually doubles by race day. But he really encourages folks to pre-register so they have enough food and beer. The Barking Spider 9-mile course is a blast ... there's one section toward the end where the trail funnels down through a gulley that feels like a tunnel. No matter what kind of shape you're in, you'll enjoy the race.

2. Next Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at the MK Nature Center at Idaho Fish and Game on Walnut Street, the Idaho Mountain Recreation Club is hosting a presentation by Kerry McClay called "The Hungry Hundred: Backpacking and Foraging from Boise to Redfish Lake." McClay and a small group of friends backpacked to Redfish Lake and ate only edible plants along the way for sustenance. Holy smokes! It should be quite interesting to learn how they did, what they ate, and whether they recommend it to others. The presentation is free and open to the public. I'll be there -- I gotta hear about that trip!

Have fun!

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