The Fairfield Ranger District is proposing two projects in the Soldier Creek and Salt Creek drainages.

 Soldier Creek recreation improvements

     The U.S. Forest Service proposes to improve three parking lots, install two trail bridges and build two short segments of trail in the Soldier Creek Drainage.

     Free Gold trailhead: Develop a new parking area for about 10 vehicles, install a vault toilet, fence the parking lot from cattle, build a bridge across Free Gold Creek to access Phillips Creek Trail, improve signs to the parking lot and provide an information board. This parking lot would be built just inside the boundary of an inventoried roadless area.

     Couch Summit snowmobile parking: Increase the existing parking lot to accommodate an additional 10 vehicles with trailers, fence the parking lot from cattle and improve signs to the parking lot. 

     Soldier Creek trailhead: Create a new transfer camp-style recreation facility at the confluence of the North and South forks of Soldier Creek, develop a parking area to accommodate about 10 vehicles with trailers, install a vault toilet, fence off the area from cattle, build a bridge across the North Fork and create about half a mile of new trail from the parking lot to the existing alignment of the North Fork Trail (nonmotorized trail), build unloading ramps, several horse corrals and about four defined camping sites with fire rings, improve signs to parking lot and provide an information board.

     This project also proposes construction of a winter trail to connect the Couch Summit parking lot to the junction of the South and North forks of Soldier Creek. A new trail bridge would be built over Soldier Creek.  This trail could be groomed in the winter to alleviate crowding in the Soldier Mountain Ski Area parking lot.


Salt Creek warming hut

     The district is proposing a new warming hut and vault toilet along the Salt-Bowns groomed snowmobile route. The new facility would be south of the Salt-Bowns sheep corrals, about 5 miles west of Couch Summit, adjacent to Forest Road 010.

     The Ranger District stated that comments on the proposed projects are welcome throughout the planning process, but comments submitted by March 22 will allow time for them to be considered during analysis. Submit written comments to Sawtooth National Forest, Fairfield Ranger District, Box 189, Fairfield, ID 83327. Or submit comments via e-mail to with a subject line of “Soldier Creek Recreation Improvements” or “Salt Creek Warming Hut.” Questions can be directed to Steve Frost or Jennifer Stevens at 208-764-3202.

     A decision is expected by the middle of September.

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