BLM proposed trails Slaughterhouse Canyon 2020

The BLM has proposed trails and a campground (in green) in Slaughterhouse Canyon adjacent to Bellevue  

The possible development of six campsites on a two-acre parcel of Bureau of Land Management land in Slaughterhouse Canyon raised concerns among some members of the Bellevue City Council Monday.

A portion of the canyon adjacent to town is slated for development as the Strahorn Subdivision, which will eventually bring 250 new developed lots into the city.

Bellevue Mayor Ned Burns, a real estate agent, was the first to raise an objection to the campground idea.

“That would lead to friction with future Strahorn residents,” Burns said.

BLM Recreation Planner John Kurtz, who also serves as chair of the Bellevue Planning and Zoning Commission, presented the council with a draft environmental assessment of an expansive BLM public lands trail development proposal Monday.

The public comment period on the BLM plan ends Aug. 21.

In addition to several proposed trails in and around Slaughterhouse Canyon, the plan includes a recommendation to use the BLM parcel for camping.

“I am not totally against it,” City Councilman Chris Johnson said of the Slaughterhouse camping option. He said visiting sports teams could utilize the campsites.

Kurtz said the standard maximum length of stay on BLM land is 14 days, but that the BLM could implement tighter restrictions. He provided the campsites in the undevelopable areas of Corral Creek near Sun Valley as an example where the camping limit has been shortened to five days.

City Councilman Greg Cappel said the BLM parcel would eventually be surrounded by housing and therefore does not bear comparison with the more remote Corral Creek.

“This would not be camping in my opinion,” Cappel said.

The BLM’s Wood River Valley Recreation and Access Environmental Assessment contains several alternative proposals for constructing trails, trailheads and campsite roads, changes to existing trail designations and potential seasonal closures to protect wildlife.

Burns said he was “super pleased” that the plan includes many miles of new trails in the hills and canyons around Bellevue and Hailey.

Kurtz said he appreciated the city council’s feedback, but that the BLM only accepts formal comments during its decision-making process.

“This has been a great dialogue, but the BLM would need something in writing,” Kurtz said.

Trail construction is tentatively scheduled to begin next summer on the 5.5 miles of trails out of Slaughterhouse Canyon.

Members of the public interested in viewing and commenting on the entire environmental assessment can go to eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/home.

Written comments can be submitted online at the NEPA Register site; mailed to the BLM Shoshone Field Office at 400 W. F St., Shoshone, ID 83352; or emailed to blm_id_shoshoneoffice@blm.gov.

Email the writer: tevans@mtexpress.com

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