Thursday, April 2, 2015

Give Back to the Land: How to plug into trail projects with groups in Southwest Idaho

SWIMBA trail event in the Owyhees
Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation trail project 
Land Trust of the Treasure Valley volunteers 
Idaho Hiking Club volunteers worked on Table Rock trails for R2R

Hi all,

Spring is coming early this year. Hikers, dog-walkers, runners and bikers have been hitting the trails with a vengeance. I've been doing that, too!

Spring is also a time when the weather can be cool and moist, a good time for working on dirt trails before they get baked by the summer heat. It's a great time to put some love into the trails with a little sweat-equity.

This year, I'm flat impressed with all of the trail projects on tap in Boise and the greater SW Idaho area. Here's a quick list of six groups that have multiple projects on tap:

  1. The Land Trust of the Treasure Valley has a number of volunteer trail projects coming up, starting on Saturday in Dry Creek. They're already full for that session, but more projects are happening on April 14th, May 2nd and May 6th. They need volunteers to build a new trail in Harrison Hollow on May 2nd, in cooperation with Boise REI, and they're doing trail-enhancement work on April 14 and May 6. Go to the Land Trust of the Treasure Valley or Boise REI to sign up online.
  2. The Idaho Trails Association has a full slate of trail projects on the calendar for the entire year. This is a solid group with leaders who have experienced know-how to teach folks how to maintain existing trails and build new ones. There's a trail project planned in the Owyhee Canyonlands on June 6th, National Trails Day, East Fork of Lake Fork in McCall on June 27, Box Lake Trail in McCall, June 28, Alice-Toxaway Loop in the Sawtooths July 19-25, and much more. Check out this map for all of their projects planned this year.

    The ITA is having a fun Volunteer Appreciation Party on April 18th at the Ann Morrison Old Timers Shelter from 5-9 p.m. In the Wild Chef Steve Weston is going to be cooking up some excellent D.O. fare, and I'm hoping to join the party and cook up one of my favorite D.O. desserts, Devil's Tooth Cheesecake. They'll have some craft beer on tap. See you there!
  3. You can always count on the Southwest Idaho Mountain Biking Association (SWIMBA) to dial up a bunch of trail projects every spring. SWIMBA has four work days set up this month -- April 4, 18, 21, 25 -- to work on Peggy's Trail in the Daniel's Creek area near Polecat Gulch. Just like ITA, SWIMBA has a lot of strong leadership in the trail-maintenance and -building department. Plus, you can count on some beers after the work day!
  4. Our beloved Boise Foothills take a beating from all of the public use, so it's always a great idea to give back to the foothills trails by signing up with Ridge to Rivers for a volunteer trail project. Watch the Ridge to Rivers web site and Boise Foothills Trail Conditions Facebook page for upcoming trail events. Sam Roberts handles volunteer projects for Ridge to Rivers,  
  5. How about a little love for the rivers? The Idaho Whitewater Association is hosting a riverbank cleanup on May 9th along Idaho Highway 55 from Cascade Kayak to the Beehive Bend boat launch. People are meeting at Beehive Bend at 8 a.m. More information here
  6. Last but not least, the Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation dishes up a bevy of trail projects every year for volunteers to benefit the wilderness resource. These projects require more of a time commitment in terms of a week-long backpack in "the Frank" or the Selway-Bitterroot that also involves trail-maintenance work with the assistance of crew leaders, pack stock, tools and materials. The Foundation also has opportunities for cabin and lookout hosting! Contact the Foundation for more information.

    Think about what a privilege it is to enjoy our public lands in Idaho. Pitching in on these volunteer projects will make a difference! Have fun!
    - SS

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