The Idaho Trails Association is seeking youth and adult volunteers to help with trail projects this summer.
Idaho has more than 10,000 miles of nonmotorized hiking trails on public lands. However, the association stated, funding for the upkeep of those trails is far short of what is needed. ITA was formed in 2010 to help deal with that challenge.
In 2018, ITA completed 33 projects throughout the state. Two hundred and sixty-two volunteers contributed more than 7,600 hours of work time in the field removing downed logs, fixing water bars, cutting back brush and repairing trail treads.
ITA will conduct more than 45 projects this year, including 13 weeklong work “vacations.” On many of those weeklong trips, horse-packers haul in camp gear and food and a “really good cook” prepares meals, the ITA stated.
This year, for the first time, some volunteers will be flown into the Frank Church Wilderness north of Stanley to clear hiking trails.
In addition, ITA will be doing its first ever Youth Trail Projects. These projects will take young students into remote areas for five days of trail work and education. There will be 14 of those projects this summer. These new youth projects have been made possible, in part, by grants from the Wood River Women’s Foundation and the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation.
Local projects scheduled so far are:
l Apollo Creek Youth Projects, Aug. 18-24. ITA is partnering with the I Have a Dream Foundation to maintain 9.2 miles of trails between Baker Lake and Norton Ridge in the peaks north of Ketchum.
l Alice/Toxaway Lakes loop, July 14-20. Work will consist of clearing downed trees and repairing tread on these popular trails in the Sawtooth Mountains.
l Little Wood River, Aug. 3-4. This weekend trip will have great views of the back of the Pioneer Mountains. Volunteers will be camping at the Mormon Hill trailhead and hiking about 2 miles into Kale Creek Trail No. 178. This area burned last year, and the work will be logging out, digging tread, repairing waterbars and repairing erosion caused by the fire.
The only charge that volunteers incur for any weeklong trip, including the ones in which ITA flies people in or provides all of the food, a cook and a packer, is a $50 donation to the nonprofit organization.
The schedule and sign-up for 2019 are on IdahoTrailsAssociation.org. There will be more projects added as the summer progresses.
ITA can also use financial donations to help pay for the tools, food and other costs of doing its work. Donations are tax-deductible.
ITA members can register now through April 11. Nonmembers can register beginning April 12. Anyone can join to become a member.