The project includes 30 miles of new non-motorized single track trail and 17 miles of existing routes.
The project will be developed in phases starting with beginner trails closest to Galena Lodge. After completion of the beginner trails, intermediate trails will be constructed and advanced trails will be the final phase of the trail system.
A total of 18 bridges will be installed in the trail network. The plans also include expansion of the parking area at Galena Lodge and the placement of new restroom facilities.
A trailhead facility, including a restroom will be developed at an existing site on the southwest side of Idaho 75, across from Galena Lodge.
Key benefits of the project include a focus on high-quality beginner and intermediate terrain and the development of a “stacked loop” system of trail around historic Galena Lodge.
This project is a partnership between the Sawtooth National Recreation Area and Blaine County Recreation District who will work with various community and volunteer groups going forward. Blaine County Recreation District owns Galena Lodge on National Forest land and operates under a permitted use by the Sawtooth National Recreation Area.
BCRD will assist the Forest with construction, maintenance and development of the trail system. According to Jim Keating, Executive Director for BCRD, “We are extremely excited to begin work on this project in partnership with the SNRA. The summer trail system will enable healthy, active access in the outdoors in all seasons in the Galena area and further celebrate the history, ecology and stewardship of this amazing place in our valley.”
The public involvement process for this project began in July 2012 and the Environmental Assessment was signed on July 1, 2013. The final trail plans work to incorporate feedback from the community to ensure a sustainable and complimentary system that is respectful of the area.
There will be 11.8 miles of trail that will be closed each year for the protection of wildlife. “These seasonal closures will be from May 1-June 25 to lessen the disturbance to elk calving and deer fawning in the project area.
Signs will be used to alert hikers to the presence of sheep grazing activities and we will work with permittees and BCRD to provide the public information about sheep and sheep dogs,” according to Joby Timm, area ranger for the Sawtooth NRA.
Sunday brunch at Galena Lodge in the summer – Photo by Pete Zimowsky/Idaho Statesman