Idaho BLM Director Enjoys Flow Trail
“The number of people for whom the public lands are ‘a backyard’ is increasing all the time,” said Ellis. “This trail project is a great example of how the BLM can navigate the changes that can accompany that fact.”
Blaine County officials have noted that outdoor recreational opportunities improve the quality of life for residents while supporting jobs and economic activity. Ellis cited a recent Interior Department study which showed that across Idaho, recreation now accounts for more public land-associated jobs than other major uses of those lands combined.
“I don’t think that’s news in Blaine County – recreation and tourism have been a prominent part of the local economy for a while now. But that report shows how important recreation is becoming for the BLM, and what the future of our multiple-use management work is going to look like, said Ellis.”
Sun Valley resident Chris Leman is a trail specialist with IMBA and worked with BLM and county planners to design and build segments of the trails. “The BLM really led the way with a front-loaded approach to recreation planning – using collaboration and engaging various agencies, groups and individuals to bring this trail system into being.”
The BLM became involved in planning and building the Croy Creek trails in 1998, when the Shoshone Field Office began receiving requests for more single-track trails near Hailey. The nearly 370 miles of trails on the nearby Sawtooth National Forest mostly remained snowed-in until late spring or early summer, and most existing routes closer to Hailey (and at lower elevations) crossed private land. Working with rider groups, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, and Blaine County, the BLM set about identifying routes on public land that would be sustainable, offer scenic and challenging rides, and impact wildlife as little as possible.
The County and the BLM worked together to design trails that would fit the terrain. The cross-country trails within the network were built by volunteers, BLM and Forest Service Crews, and trail contractor Northwest Woodland Services. IMBA then helped design and build the Punchline flow trail under a BLM assistance agreement. IMBA trail specialists Tony Boone and Randy Spangler led the design/build effort on the one-way downhill flow trail. Additional involvement by Progressive Trail Design, the U.S. Forest Service, the Blaine County Recreation District, and the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation helped bring the 22-mile Croy Creek trail system to completion this past June.