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Forest Service Approves New Lift-Accessed Flow Trails at Sun Valley

The US Forest Service has approved the development of new lift-accessed mountain bike trails at Bald Mountain in Sun Valley, ID. IMBA's Trail Solutions staff Randy Spangler and Chris Leman worked with Sun Valley Company employees to design the trails, based on planning work performed by Gravity Logic. Barring an appeal the construction of the new trails can start as soon as this summer.

Notable about the decision was that it explicitly supports bike-optimized trails at ski resorts on National Forests. This shows a nuanced understanding of the spectrum of mountain biking experiences available on public lands, and reflects the years of work invested by IMBA and others.

According to Ketchum District Ranger Kurt Nelson, “My decision to authorize construction of new mountain biking trails on Bald Mountain is based upon my belief that concentrating new “flow” trail construction within an existing ski area makes both economic and environmental sense. Sun Valley Company has been a good steward of Bald Mountain’s natural resources over the years and has both the ability and desire to provide trail users with a well-built, well-maintained, high quality recreation experience. In addition, year-round resource-based recreation and summer facilities on Bald Mountain are consistent with national direction for ski resorts on National Forest lands, specifically the Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act of 2011. I am confident that approval of the trail construction proposal is in the best interest of the public and fulfills an important role in meeting the Forest Service’s recreational mandate.”

The decision memo, a map of the proposed trails, and the response-to-comments document are available here.

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