Slaughterhouse

Slaughterhouse Canyon near Bellevue will get the first designated class one E-bike trail built in the valley by the BLM.

Crews are working on new trails in Bellevue and Ketchum this month in an effort to open more terrain for bikers, hikers, and adaptive cyclists.

The Bureau of Land Management is hoping to complete 3 miles of a new 5-mile singletrack trail in Slaughterhouse Canyon east of Bellevue this fall. The trail is the first from the BLM’s Wood River Recreation and Access Environmental Assessment process, years in the making, that authorizes about 81 miles of new trails, seven new trailheads, and 21 new campsites in the Wood River Valley.

“We wanted to start out construction near Bellevue because that is the community that doesn’t have any trails adjacent to it already,” said John Kurtz, the BLMs’ Outdoor Recreation Planner based in Shoshone.

Kurtz, who also serves as the Bellevue Planning and Zoning Commission chair, said the loop trail will be the first BLM trail constructed as a Class 1 electric-bike trail, although other pre-existing trails in Croy Canyon west of Hailey have been authorized for e-bikes.

“The Slaughterhouse Trail will be open for all different fitness and ability levels, and also available for traditional mountain bikes, hikers and equestrians,” Kurtz said. Motorcycles would not be allowed.

The 3-mile section of the trail is scheduled for completion in mid-November, with use made available next spring. Kurtz said he hopes the entire 81-mile trail system project could be completed in fewer than 10 years, but it is too soon to tell and would depend on funding partners and many other variables.

The BLM’s construction work will begin on the south side of Slaughterhouse Canyon at the mouth of the canyon and extend east, ending at Slaughterhouse Road. Heavy equipment and hand crews will be assisted on Saturday, Oct. 16 by a volunteer team of trail workers organized by the Wood River Trails Coalition.

For info on volunteering visit the Trails Coalition website at woodrivertrailscoalition.org. Otherwise, the public is advised to stay clear of trail construction and equipment.

In addition, the Forbidden Fruit Trail in Adams Gulch north of Ketchum is closed for the remainder of the season as crews complete the Adam’s Gulch Adaptive Sports Trail Enhancement Project, a collaboration between the U.S. Forest Service – Ketchum Ranger District, Higher Ground, the National Forest Foundation, and the Wood River Trails Coalition.

The project will create a mile of new machine-built trail designed as an entry-level flow trail for adaptive mountain bikers, with advanced “ride-around” features for more experienced riders to enjoy.

“This will provide a new opportunity for adaptive cyclists and a new exit for Forbidden Fruit that will minimize user conflict and improve overall trail safety on the Adam’s Gulch trail system,” the Trails Coalition said in a statement.

Other improvements at Adams Gulch include replacing or removing the current trail bridges with bridges wide enough for adaptive cycles to cross, redesigning and expanding the trailhead parking area and adding an additional pit toilet. Work on that will not break ground until 2022.

Email the writer: tevans@mtexpress.com

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