During the early morning hours last week, residents on River Street in Hailey could hear bleating and the muffled sound of hooves as hundreds of sheep passed through town. This time of year, thousands of sheep in several distinct bands move north for green pastures in the high country.
While the docile sheep pose no threat for hikers and bikers, the large white guard dogs who protect them from predators can present a problem. These dogs have been known to chase and bite recreationists who get too close.
The Blaine County Recreation District website posts regular notices to alert people as to the location of sheep bands making their way from the valleys to higher and more verdant terrain. These locations are often close to popular trails.
Today and Tuesday a band of sheep will pass from Hailey to Ketchum along the Wood River Trail on their way to Lake Creek. A separate band located at the top of Greenhorn Creek near popular trails at Greenhorn Gulch is headed for the Mahoney Butte drainage. North of Ketchum a third band is located is located above Hulen Meadows and is headed for Fox Creek.
BCRD Wood River Valley Trail Coordinator Chris Leman gathers information throughout the summer from various sources to post the alerts. More details on these sheep bands and several others can be found by hovering over the “sheep icons” on the BCRD Summer TrailLink website at summertrailink.bcrd.org.
For more on this story see upcoming editions of the Mountain Express.