MCCALL — The trails program on the Payette National Forest’s McCall and New Meadows Ranger Districts have a busy 2021 field season planned. A news release announced that priority projects include three bridge replacements which were funded in part by an Idaho Parks and Recreation grant and work under the Great American Outdoors Act, in addition to annual maintenance of the trail system.
Bridges to be replaced include: the Alex Creek bridge on the Secesh River Trail near Chinook Campground; the Center Ridge Trail bridge which is accessed from Warren Wagon Road (about a half mile past the bridge completed in 2020); and, the second bridge on the Pete Creek Trail, accessed from the Three Mile Creek dispersed camping area.
Funds received from the Great American Outdoors Act will allow for reroutes to be completed on the French Creek and Bear Pete Ridge trails, which were approved in the mid-2010s. GAOA funds are also planned to replace the Jenkins Crossing bridge, further north on the French Creek Trail. Completion of this project in 2021 will depend on contractor and material availability.
Other planned work includes deferred maintenance on several trails in the Rapid River drainage and a cooperative project with the Payette’s Heritage program to improve conditions on the Chinese Cemetery Trail outside of Warren.
Annual maintenance such as log out, brushing, drainage maintenance, and tread repair will continue across both Ranger Districts, much of it off Goose Creek Road, Warren Wagon Road, and Lick Creek Road.
McCall and New Meadows trails staff are also looking forward to working with their regular project partners this coming summer, including Montana Conservation Corps, Idaho Conservation Corps, Idaho Trails Association, Central Idaho Trail Riders Alliance, Back Country Horsemen of Idaho, and Central Idaho Mountain Bike Association. Last year alone, these partners assisted in the maintenance of over 300 miles of trails.
In addition to the projects described above, the Forest is seeking public input on two planned trail reroutes intended to improve public safety, user experience, and watershed condition in the Secesh Summit area.
- The Bear Pete Ridge Trail (No. 142) is a popular trail approximately 20 miles from McCall, Idaho, Township 22 North, Range 4 East, section 28, Boise Meridian. In 2013, the District approved work on a number of sections of this trail to bring it up to Forest Service standards; however, this section was not included in that original NEPA. Under this proposal, approximately 0.2 miles of heavily-eroded sections would be obliterated and replaced with 0.4 miles of new trail. This trail would reduce trail grade by constructing a switchback which would accommodate motorcycle use.
- The Willow Basket Trail (No. 141) is located in Township 22 North, Range 5 East, sections 32 & 33, Boise Meridian and provides access to the Loon Lake trail system. The current proposal is to relocate the trail which involves obliterating 0.3 miles of trail, removing dilapidated structures and constructing 0.7 miles of new trail. The segment of the Willow Basket Trail proposed for reroute travels through a flat meadow and contains six trail structures (bridges, puncheons, and turnpikes) which are in various stages of disrepair. The proposed realignment follows the toe of the slope and crosses two drainages in more confined locations where two small trail structures would be constructed.
More information about the trail reroute project and a comment form can be found at: fs.usda.gov. Comments are requested by March 30, 2021. If you have questions about these projects, please contact Central Zone Recreation Manager Michael Beach at firstname.lastname@example.org or 208-315-5263 or Central Zone Trails Lead Adam Larson at email@example.com or 208-634-0419.