2023 Central Zone Trails Report

02. November 2023 · Comments Off on Public Lands: ‘Access Problems for Everyone’: Federal Closure of Moab Trails Sparks Outrage · Categories: Public Lands

Off-roading groups and the State of Utah have filed legal challenges to keep Moab trails open to vehicles after federal officials announced large-scale closures in September.

Written by Andrew McLemore” November 1, 2023

For decades, the precipitous trail through Hey Joe Canyon offered Moab off roaders an iconic experience of the area’s world-famous rock formations. But now it’s one of many classic trails closed to motorized recreation by federal officials. While some environmental groups laud the closures, opponents say they make access more difficult for everyone.

“For someone to access that now is severely limited,” said Joe Risi, Senior PR Manager for onX Offroad. “It limits those that are healthy and able, not just the young, old and disabled. Where I park my car, where I unload my bike, how much water I need to bring: It’s all been rocked by this.”

The mapping engineers at onX know better than most just how quickly land access in Moab is changing. They’ve spent the last several weeks updating the onX Offroad app as quickly as possible after the U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced a plan on Sept. 28 to close about 317 miles of Moab trails to motorized vehicles.

That decision led to widespread outrage from the off-roading community. In terms of density, it’s the largest single closure on the onX Offroad app since it was released in 2019. Roads in Hey Joe Canyon, 10-Mile Wash, Dead Cow, and Hell Roaring Canyon are now closed to anything with a motor, including e-bikes. The changes affect not only motorists, but also hikers and mountain bikers who will have a harder time reaching trailheads.

“Moab has become an iconic off-roading mecca. These trails are loved by this community, and that’s where it hits home,” said Risi. “But it also creates access problems for everyone. Many people don’t understand that.”

Environmentalists cheered the closures as a win for Utah wilderness. But legal challenges filed this week will attempt to stop federal authorities from moving forward with the plan. One thing is certain: The battle over the future of Utah land access is just getting started.
A Win for Wilderness Advocates

When the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced the trail closures, environmental advocates immediately welcomed the news. The closures will protect cultural sites, river habitats, and the “experience” of non-motorized recreationists, the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) said in a news release on Sept. 28.

“Visitors will finally be able to experience stunning Labyrinth Canyon without the noise, dust, and damage that accompanies motorized recreation,” said Laura Peterson, SUWA’s staff attorney. “For too long, the BLM has prioritized off-road vehicle use at the expense of Utah’s incredible natural and cultural resources. The Labyrinth Canyon plan represents an important step forward to guide the management of Utah’s public lands and reduce the impacts of off-road vehicle routes in this area.”  READ MORE

03. October 2023 · Comments Off on Public Lands – Wildfire’s Hotshot’s · Categories: Around The Campfire, Public Lands

New review of wildfire’s Hotshot program recommends numerous changes to ‘unsustainable system’

02. October 2023 · Comments Off on How this Idaho forest became petrified! · Categories: Around The Campfire, Public Lands

Idaho has a petrified forest. Although remnants remain today, the area looked different 50 million years ago.

Located about ten miles south of Challis, the Malm Gulch forest was cool and wet like today’s Pacific Coast – covered with Redwoods and Sequoias.

However, this all changed when volcanic ash from erupting volcanos covered the land. This caused the trees to turn petrified – meaning that what remained of the wood became a hard, stony material.

Huge tree stumps and a dry, arid landscape are all that remain in the once lush, wet forest.

“Today, people see the white and pastel-colored soils and rocks in the Malm Gulch area, which are remnants of the ash deposits,” BLM notes on its website. “The heat of the eruptions destroyed most of the trees in the Malm Gulch forest. However, volcanic ash buried some trees that eventually became the petrified logs you see today.”

In 1970, the BLM installed fences around the stumps and continues to manage the area.

“The remaining petrified trees within Malm Gulch can never be replaced. If they are damaged, they will be gone forever,” BLM notes in Junior Explorer Discover the Malm Gulch Petrified Forest brochure. “Enjoy looking at these treasures, but please be respectful and leave everything as you find it for others to enjoy.”

Because the environment is so dry, not very many plants can live and thrive in the soil. However, some have adapted including the Challis milkvetch, Challis crazyweed, and wavyleaf thelypody – which are all unique to the area of land.

For more information on visiting the Malm Gulch, click here.

(Malm Gulch is a petrified forest near Challis. Photo: Bureau of Land Management.)


12. September 2023 · Comments Off on BLM’s Canyonlands WEST Travel Management Plan Environmental Assessment (EA) is now open for comment, up until October 23. · Categories: Around The Campfire, Public Lands

Those of you who studied and commented recently on the Canyonlands EAST TMP know the drill and will have had a practice run to now turn your attention westward.  And you know from the last pass what is at stake for recreationists in this second of five related sub-region TMPs under BLM’s Boise District, Owyhee and Bruneau Field Offices.

Road and trail mileages proposed to be accommodated under the Action Alternatives (B, C, D) and mapping will vary for this sub-region, in part due to a 2021 land swap which increases the ground in the analysis area and route inventory in the Alternatives. I will more thoroughly analyze the Plan and report further in the future, but the basic approach and what’s at stake should feel familiar with the info provided here.

Sub region area outline in light blue, Alternatives route inventory in dark blue; Table 2.6 from Pg 19 of the EA summarizes mileage and access types proposed to be retained under each Alternative:

Table 2.6 notes: “Open” and “Seasonal Closure” are effectively full-width routes; ATV/UTV width class is unique and newly defined as <65″ with the release of EAs for Canyonlands East and West TMPs.

This is not a reboot of the NEPA process from the beginning but a continuation of the TMP process paused in 2017. The documents to be analyzed and commented upon are the near-final versions of the Plan for the Canyonlands WEST Sub-region. This is explained in the BLM’s E-Planning FAQ page which I encourage you to read at the link below and which applies to all five related Sub-regions similarly.

Except for inventoried routes added as part of a 2021 land swap, there will be no new analysis for any routes if such were not included in the original 2009 inventory. Commentary will therefore only be considered for the routes in the proposed Alternatives, and we do not anticipate BLM will accept any proposed “new” routes due to the restrictions of the 2009 OPLM Act that “stopped the clock” at that time of the Act’s passage by Congress.

With thanks to a fellow traveler for assembling the basis of the following text, if you’ve seen it already, know that I’ve made a few edits to clarify some details.

This will not be a rolling multi-year Decision release process for the five Sub-regions, but instead as stated BLM anticipates having all five Sub-region Decisions wrapped up on a fairly fast-track, by March 2024.

Alex Ernst

IDPR, Land Access Coordinator

~ ~ ~

Canyonlands WEST TMP EA public stage NEPA process: 45-day comment period open

BLM Press release: https://www.blm.gov/press-release/blm-update-second-travel-management-plan-owyhee-county

E-Planning site (Project homepage, map links, NEPA documents, etc.): https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/73196/510

BLM’s Interactive Route Alternatives Map: https://blm-egis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=ac06e3f30d684e1c8c7f77f4eb93c6ff
GIS geodata files are here: https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/73196/590

  • Use the BLM interactive map to zoom in on areas where you recreate.  Click on a route to reveal a popup including route identification number and route type to reference in your comments to BLM.
    Under the Layers pulldown, select only one letter Route Alternative at a time (A, B, C, or D) which will aid in highlighting closed designations jump out.

  • There is no preferred Alternative. B, C, and D are the “Action Alternatives” from which a final selection will be made.
  • Under NEPA, the agency must provide a wide range of alternatives.

Alternative A is no action.  It will not be selected.  If they wanted to leave it as is, they wouldn’t be doing NEPA.

Alternative B could be called the ‘conservation’ alternative… the least number of motor-accessible routes will be implemented.

Alternative C is what they referred to as the ‘balanced’ choice.  Even if it is not your preferred alternative, it is important that you list what trails should be included in it that were not.

Alternative D is the ‘wide-open’ alternative.  It is important to explain why you support this alternative.  Make sure the routes you would like to see designated for motorized use are included.

Explain why any given route is important to loop opportunities.  Make sure they are included in both C and D.
Width classes are now identified in the Alternatives: single-track, <65″ ATV/UTV,  and full-width/road. This is a significant change compared to the 2016 drafts which failed to define width class. Comment if you anticipate an inappropriate width class will be applied to any given route. 

Background information:

There are five BLM sub-regions under the Boise District involved in this TMPing initiative.  Canyonlands WEST is the second sub-region of the five to be released for public comment, and the rest will be released successively over time for public review in the same manner. The FAQ states an anticipated Record of Decision on all five TMPs by March 2024. But realistically, timing will be determined by staffing issues and by the political climate.

The five sub-regions are Canyonlands East, Canyonlands West, Silver City, Grand View, and Birds of Prey.

The primary issues include:  Soil, Vegetation, Hydrology, Wildlife, Recreation, Cultural concerns

11. September 2023 · Comments Off on Trail Spotlight: Rainbow Basin Trail · Categories: Public Lands, Ride Ideas

Our Trail Spotlight highlights day trips to multi-day hikes across Idaho. Trail conditions can change quickly- swollen rivers can become impassable, windstorms can knock trees down across trails, and snow can come earlier than expected. Please take these recommendations as a jumping off place and do additional research to understand current conditions and keep yourself safe if you choose to hike this trail. Physical guidebooks and maps are always good to have or check out some online resources like Alltrails.com for updated trail reports. If your trip is as awesome as you hope it will be, please share photos and feedback!

Recommended by: Kelly Hewes, ITA Communications Director

Duration: Day hike or multi-day backpacking

Area: Boise National Forest

Difficulty Rating: 3 out of 5- The trail is 4.4 miles in total not counting the the spurs to the lakes. A few steep climbs, with 1,600 total elevation gain over the four miles.

Road Considerations: This area is inaccessible until early July due to snow. Google maps is known to send people on a route that is more difficult than the more recommended route through Featherville, directions listed below. This way takes about 2.25 miles from Mountain Home. A standard passenger car is fine on this route. Cell coverage is spotty so plan to use offline maps for navigation. 

  1. From Boise, Idaho, travel 40 miles toward Mountain Home, Idaho.
  2. At Mountain Home, take exit 95, (State Highway 20) and proceed 35 miles to the Pine/Featherville turnoff.
  3. Travel north on Forest Highway 61 for 29 miles to Forest Service (FS) road 172.
  4. Proceed 15 miles northwest to FS road 129. Travel 3 miles south to the Trinity Recreation Area.
  5. The trailhead is at Big Trinity Lake Campground.

Total hiking miles: 8.8 miles out and back not counting the spurs to the lakes which would add on another four miles bringing the total to 12.8 to go to all nine lakes on the trail.


11. September 2023 · Comments Off on Volunteer Spotlight: Dan and Marja Waugh – BCHI · Categories: Around The Campfire, BCHI /BCHA, Public Lands

Dan and Marja are Backcountry Horseman of Idaho volunteers who pack gear and supplies for ITA projects as well as other groups doing trail work in the Wilderness. We applaud their enthusiasm for protecting and maintaining Idaho’s trails and volunteering for seven pack trips across Idaho in 2023 alone! For our backcountry projects, their packing services are key to reaching remote places and getting the work done. Projects are always more fun when greeted by Dan and Marja’s smiles, treats at the trailhead, and getting to take selfies with their burro, Pedro!

“Our lands and trails in Idaho, especially non-motorized trails are quickly fading away at an alarming rate. Groups and even state and federal land managers can’t keep pace with maintaining our trails. We have to change our mindset and work with those managers to find unique and new ways to manage resources and improve our trails.”- Dan Waugh

Read their full Volunteer Spotlight here!

ITA named finalist in national contest!

As our 2023 trail season is slowly winding down, we are full of thanks for our volunteers, members, and supporters who have made this season an awesome one for trails and public lands! We still have a few projects left as well as some great events coming up:

  • ITA has been named as one of five nonprofit finalists in the Land Rover Defender Service Awards and has the chance to win a customized Land Rover and $25,000! But we need your help to win. See below for more details.

ITA has been named as one of five nonprofit finalists in the Land Rover Defender Service Awards and has the chance to win a customized Land Rover and $25,000! A large four wheel drive like this would be instrumental in allowing more volunteers (especially youth) to participate in projects requiring a high-clearance vehicle. Transportation to remote trailheads on rough roads has become a challenge as ITA grows and volunteers don’t always have their own four-wheel drive vehicle. Our goal is to make it possible for anyone to be part of a project, no matter how rough the road to the trailhead! The contest winner will be determined by public vote starting this Friday, September 15 and going through October 4 and we need your help to win. You can vote once per day and we need as many people as possible voting every single day! You can opt into this email reminder by clicking the button below or replying “opt in” to this email. Thank you for helping us win this awesome contest.

06. September 2023 · Comments Off on GBR Presentation – September 7, 2023 · Categories: Public Lands, Public Meetings

Dear Quiet Rec People,

I am attaching the presentation that will be given by Nate Shake of Bogus on behalf of GBR. Josh Newman, the Idaho City Ranger will be presenting the proposed expansion of the parking lot at Whoop Um Up. I had created a somewhat different presentation, which would look at the parking lot proposal within the larger context of recreation along Highway 21, but that is not what is going to be presented tomorrow. I will attach both what will be presented and what I wanted to present. The powerpoint (PDF) with the numbers in front is what you will see, and the one that ends with FINAL is what I intended to share with the group.

Thank you, first of all, for representing quiet recreation. I truly appreciate you going to the meeting to speak up for those not at the meeting. Secondly, we are not going to turn the clock back on motorized recreation, but we can voice what we want on our public lands, and what we want as trails and access on our public lands. The Over Snow Vehicle group is very well organized, with money to support their cause, and we are not and do not have deep pockets. Or any pockets. So our voices need to be our currency. Third and last, I hope you can attend the meeting with the idea in mind that we all need to collaborate, whatever our preferred method of recreation is. We all love our public lands, and want to be able to access and use our public lands.

Thanks again, and I am so sorry I cannot be at the meeting. I’m sure you all are happy I am not, given my current condition.

Best wishes,

Liz Bridges


GBR Presentation September 7 FINAL

2023-09-01GBR Presentation September 7 FINAL

06. September 2023 · Comments Off on National Public Lands Day – September 23, 2023 · Categories: Around The Campfire, Public Lands

Be a part of National public lands day 2023
Join us for the 30th annual National Public Lands Day (NPLD) on September 23, 2023!

Celebrating 30 Years of Care and Community, NPLD has joined people across the nation in the care and celebration of our public lands. From humble beginnings with one federal agency, two sites, and 700 volunteers, NPLD has grown into the largest single-day volunteer event for public lands.

As a signature event of the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF), NPLD fosters a strong connection between people and the environment, educating and cultivating environmental stewards. It’s also a “Fee-Free Day” where entrance fees are waived at national parks and public lands. With support from federal and state agencies, corporate sponsors, and nonprofits, NPLD ensures resilient natural spaces for generations to come, encouraging volunteering and environmental engagement. LEARN MORE

02. September 2023 · Comments Off on TRAVEL MANAGEMENT IN OWYHEE COUNTY – BLM Plan Released · Categories: Current Events, Public Lands

The Bureau of Land Management’s Boise District Office has picked back up on efforts to complete comprehensive travel management planning throughout Owyhee County. The travel management planning process formally designates motorized and non-motorized routes to the public. Travel management is essential to ensure that there is an adequate level of access for sportsmen and women while also minimizing environmental impacts that may be occurring from pioneered routes. It’s a balancing act- the BLM has to create a plan that is supported across a variety of user groups, is enforceable, and does not create undue degradation to sensitive wildlife habitat.

This balancing act is especially difficult down in Owyhee County, where off-highway vehicle use has increased 258% between 1998 and 2014. This rapid increase in OHV use, in addition to other recreational uses, has created pressure on the landscape that now requires a travel management planning process.

The Canyonlands East landscape contains some of the largest, unburned sagebrush habitat remaining in the state, as well as one of the largest areas with a high density of sage-grouse leks. It also contains productive habitat for pronghorn and bighorn sheep. This area spans over 1,000 square miles and currently has 1,493 miles of inventoried routes. Some of these routes will be maintained for motorized use while some will not be incorporated into a comprehensive travel management plan.

Read Travel Plan: BLM Canyonlands_East_

29. August 2023 · Comments Off on Public Lands – BLM Fees · Categories: Public Lands

Idaho Jump Creek Business Plan

26. August 2023 · Comments Off on Public Lands – Wilderness Land Trust adds to FC Wilderness · Categories: Current Events, Public Lands

The largest wilderness area in the Lower 48 got a little bit bigger in Idaho this month after The Wilderness Land Trust purchased a former mining claim and transferred it to public ownership.

In 2021, the 501(c)3 Wilderness Land Trust purchased the 38-acre Surprise Lode property within the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness in Central Idaho from a private owner, Margosia Jadkowski, The Wilderness Land Trust’s director of marketing and communications, said in a telephone interview.

The property is located above the banks of the Salmon River, about 25 miles from the Vinegar Creek Launch. The land was considered an inholding, which is private property located within the wilderness that does not receive the same protections as the wilderness itself. Such private properties within wilderness areas often exist because the land was owned privately or used for mining before the surrounding wilderness was designated and protected, Jadkowski said.

By purchasing the land and selling it to the U.S. Forest Service, the land has become part of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness and will be protected from development, logging, mining and the use of motorized vehicles, Jadkowski said.

She did not disclose the financial terms of the deal.

“The Frank Church is a really spectacular place,” Jadkowski said. “It is the largest wilderness area in the Lower 48. It’s incredibly rugged country, and it’s really beautiful. The Salmon River is at the heart of the Frank Church, and it’s a wild and scenic river. It’s quite legendary in terms of rafting and fishing, and it has hundreds of miles of trails as well.”

The Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness encompasses about 2.4 million acres in Central Idaho and was protected by Congress in 1980. The wilderness is home to the Salmon River Canyon, which is deeper than the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

The wilderness was renamed in honor of the late U.S. Sen. Frank Church, D-Idaho, who sponsored the Wilderness Act of 1964.

How does transferring private property to public lands work in Idaho?

The Wilderness Land Trust is a Montana-based nonprofit organization that works to acquire private land inside of wilderness areas and transfer it to public ownership.

In Idaho, The Wilderness Land Trust has transferred seven such properties to public ownership, including the Painter Mine, a 37-acre property that borders the Surprise Lode in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. The Wilderness Land Trust has also acquired and transferred the last remaining private inholdings in the Hells Canyon Wilderness and the North Fork Owyhee Wilderness, the trust said.

The trust relies on donations and foundation funding to buy properties from willing landowners. The parties selling the land receive fair market value for their land based on an appraisal, Jadkowski said. The sellers are eligible for a tax deduction and have the benefit of knowing the land will be protected permanently.

After The Wilderness Land Trust acquires a property, the trust facilitates working with the federal agency to transfer the property to public ownership. Often the process involves surveying land boundaries, addressing titles and mineral rights, closing mine shafts or removing structures and restoring the property to a wilderness state.

“A lot of times it might take three to five years to complete the transfer process, which is where we come in as a nonprofit and a partner with the federal agency,” Jadkowski said. “We will hold the property in the meantime until the agency goes through the process of accepting it.”

More information about the process for donating property within a wilderness area is available on The Wilderness Land Trust’s website.

25. August 2023 · Comments Off on Public Lands – New Idaho Conservation Area · Categories: Public Lands

More than 120,000 acres set aside in Idaho as conservation area

17. August 2023 · Comments Off on SBFC – Summer Newsletter – 2023 · Categories: Current Events, Public Lands

READ NEWSLETTER:  SBFC-WildestPlace_Summer2023-Final-Web


29. July 2023 · Comments Off on Volunteer Trail Crews – BCHI Pack Support – (SBFC – ITA – PUG) · Categories: BCHI /BCHA, Public Lands

Marjaliisa Waugh and her string of Welch ponies & mules

Jun – SBFC Pack Support – Sulphur Creek  
Jul – ITA Pack Support – Little Queens  
Jul – ITA Seven Devils Pack Support   
Jul – PUG East Mayfield Creek Pack Support 

28. July 2023 · Comments Off on USFS – Salmon-Challis NF – Frank Church Wilderness · Categories: Current Events, Public Lands

Frankly Speaking 2023

Middle Fork Ranger District Trail Work 2020-2022

Middle Fork Trail Conditions

Northern Zone Trail Conditions


22. July 2023 · Comments Off on NPS – E-bike Study · Categories: Current Events, Public Lands

National Park Service studying impacts of E-bikes

National Park Service Studying Impacts Of e-Bikes


Nearly four years after then-Interior Secretary David Bernhardt issued an order to allow eBikes to use the same trails in the National Park System that are open to muscle-powered mechanical bikes, the National Park Service is taking a nationwide look at the impacts of those bikes as required under the National Environmental Policy Act.

The move to conduct the study was required by a court ruling last May that said the Park Service acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner in 2019 in opening parks to eBikes.

In an evening directive, Bernhardt in August 2019 had decreed that “E-bikes shall be allowed where other types of bicycles are allowed; and E-bikes shall not be allowed where other types of bicycles are prohibited.”

In issuing the order, Bernhardt said the decision “simplifies and unifies regulation of electric bicycles (e-bikes) on Federal lands managed by the Department and also decreases regulatory burden.” In the wake of that ruling, the acting director of the Park Service, P. Daniel Smith, issued a directive ordering parks to treat e-Bikes “used for transportation and recreation in a similar manner to traditional bicycles” without requiring either an environmental assessment or more strenuous environmental impact statement examining any natural resource impacts from the decision.

However, this approach generated concern from groups that said the National Park Service needed to conduct environmental studies, as required by NEPA, before approving the use of eBikes in the park system.

Kristen Brengel, the National Parks Conservation Association’s senior vice president of government affairs, told the Traveler at the time that implementing a change in where motorized vehicles, including eBikes, can go in the park system requires the Park Service to embark on a rulemaking process, as required under 36 CFR 1.5.

Except in emergency situations, a closure, designation, use or activity restriction or condition, or the termination or relaxation of such, which is of a nature, magnitude and duration that will result in a significant alteration in the public use pattern of the park area, adversely affect the park’s natural, aesthetic, scenic or cultural values, require a long-term or significant modification in the resource management objectives of the unit, or is of a highly controversial nature, shall be published as rulemaking in the FEDERAL REGISTER.

“If eBikes are to be used on trails already designated for bikes, that is completely contrary to the Park Service’s current policy,” said Brengel, adding that a change in policy should be formally reviewed to ensure there are no conflicts with existing user groups.

“How does this affect the rest of the public visiting a park? We want to make sure everyone has a great experience,” she added. “What does (an eBike) do to everyone else’s experience there? That’s why there needs to be a rulemaking and public comment. Depending on what this policy says, it could be completely violating the Park Service’s own regulations and policies.”

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility went to court over the Park Service’s action, and that led to last May’s ruling against the agency.

“[T]he Smith Directive attempted to avoid conducting any environmental analysis because the park units would do so, and the park units in turn largely declined to conduct additional analysis because the Smith Directive had already suggested that the change was minimal,” Judge Rudolph Contreras wrote in ordering the NEPA review.

While the Park Service would later implement a Final Rule formalizing the “Smith Directive” with some changes, the judge said that the final rule, by failing to require either an environmental assessment or environmental impact study, “commits the classic NEPA error of considering only the effects of what a policy actually directly authorizes rather than the reasonably foreseeable impacts of a policy.”

The Park Service, the judge, “appears to have ‘simply assumed there were [no impacts] because the Final Rule did not authorize any impacts.’”

That ruling led to Tuesday’s announcement by the Park Service that it was preparing a programmatic environmental assessment to evaluate the potential national-level impacts of electric bicycle use in national parks. The comment period is open from June 21 to July 21.

In announcing that review, the agency said that, “E-bikes can have many benefits for parks and visitors including making travel easier, expanding access for those with physical limitations, and providing healthy recreation opportunities. At the same time, the NPS must manage this emerging form of access and recreation, like others that occur in park areas, in a manner that protects park resources, values, and visitors. The PEA evaluates potential impacts to natural and cultural resources, and visitor use and experience, and wildlife on a national scale.”

Currently, NPS regulations authorize park superintendents to allow eBikes, where appropriate, on roads and trails where traditional bicycles are allowed. Public lands designated by Congress as “wilderness areas” remain off-limits to both traditional bicycles and eBikes.

How to provide feedback:

Note that comments will not be accepted by fax, email, or in any way other than those specified above. Comments delivered on external electronic storage devices (flash drives, compact discs, etc.) will not be accepted. Bulk comments in any format (hard copy or electronic) submitted on behalf of others will not be accepted.

Support National Parks Traveler

National Parks Traveler is a small, editorially independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit media organization. The Traveler is not part of the federal government nor a corporate subsidiary. Your support helps ensure the Traveler’s news and feature coverage of national parks and protected areas endures. 

EIN: 26-2378789

27. June 2023 · Comments Off on Pettit Lake SRA – Tin Cup Trailhead Corral Project · Categories: Around The Campfire, Public Lands, Trail Volunteer Groups, Work Parties and Projects

Link to more pictures of this event

07. June 2023 · Comments Off on USFS IDAHO SOPA · Categories: Around The Campfire, Public Lands


04. June 2023 · Comments Off on Boise NF Recreation meeting · Categories: Education, Public Lands

Thank you for your participation and a special thanks to our presenters!

If you weren’t able to join us please find the highlights attached. If you would like to participate in our “Vision of Recreation for the Future,” complete and return the first slide in the attachment and return to me.

If you are interested in volunteering space or refreshments for future meetings, web communications, or other ideas, please reach out to me via email.
We are coordinating our next meeting for August at the Bogus Basin Downtown Office. More details to come.


Catharine Beverly-Bishop
Recreation Management Specialist
Forest Service
Boise National Forest
1857 HWY 16
Emmett, ID 83617

31. May 2023 · Comments Off on May 2023 Partnerships Newsletter · Categories: Around The Campfire, Public Lands

SCNF Partnerships Newsletter – May2023

22. February 2023 · Comments Off on ITA – 2023 Project Schedule Preview · Categories: Current Events, Public Lands

Dear ITA supporters,

The day is here! We are excited this year to offer you a preview of 2023 projects one week before they open for signups. With over 80 projects planned ranging from one-day opportunities near towns like Sandpoint, McCall, Boise and Pocatello to our first-ever three-week-long Wilderness Immersion trip, there is something for everyone! We have projects open to all, projects for youth, veterans, and women, and projects focusing on the Idaho Centennial Trail. Volunteers can backpack, drive, fly, jet boat, or watch their gear loaded on mules as they set out on their public land stewardship adventure.

No matter the trip you choose, you are sure to meet other volunteers of all ages and backgrounds and share in the camaraderie of clearing Idaho’s diverse and beautiful trails, creating memories and building friendships. Volunteers do not need to have previous trail work experience to join. We’ll bring the tools and teach you everything you need! Read our FAQs to learn more about what volunteering on a trail crew is like.

On March 1, the project schedule will open for member signups at 11am PT/ 12pm MT. Learn more about becoming a member here. The schedule will open on March 15 for the public. If you are an ITA member, keep an eye out for an email on March 1 with your password for signing up.

Grab a beverage and your laptop, kick your feet up and enjoy a week of perusing the 2023 project schedule. Reach out to trails@idahotrailsassociation.org with questions. Make a list of your favorite projects and get ready to hit “Sign Me Up” in one week! Can’t wait to see you on the trail.


22. February 2023 · Comments Off on PUG – Legacy Trails Funding Granted · Categories: Current Events, Public Lands, Trail Volunteer Groups

.We are very excited to announce that the Pulaski Users Group has been awarded funding from American Trail’s Legacy Trails Program. PUG has been awarded $48,000 from the Legacy Trails Program, administered by American Trails, for the re-establishment of the Johnson Creek area in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA).

This funding will allow us to re-establish a number of USFS system trails starting from the Graham Trailhead on the northwestern side of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA) up to Pat’s Lake. These trails provide alternative access to the remote and very wild western portion of the SNRA. The Johnson Creek Trail portion to Pat’s Lake has not received maintenance, Forest Service or other, since the 1990’s, and is in desperate need of attention. The lack of a clearly defined trail is promoting user created trails and river crossings which is negatively impacting the watershed. This project will benefit recreational users, future wildland firefighting efforts, and limit sedimentation and erosion. PUG crews will work closely with USFS staff over the course of the next two summers on this project.


Trail Descriptions: GrahamTH-JohnsonCreek-PatsLake

Interested in learning more or want to volunteering on this project? Shoot us a message!            PRESS RELEASE

08. December 2022 · Comments Off on Wood River Trails Coalition annual report · Categories: Current Events, Public Lands

WRTC 2022 Impact Report

30. November 2022 · Comments Off on Legacy Trails Grant Program · Categories: Current Events, Public Lands

The goal of the program is to support projects that restore, protect, and maintain watersheds on our national forests and grasslands. American Trails is administering this grant program, funded by the U.S. Forest Service through Legacy Roads and Trails Act dollars.

What the program does:
Enables project partners to complete trails projects which improve watershed health, restore aquatic organism passages, preserve access, and decommission unauthorized and previously closed trails.

Target applicants:
Nonprofit organizations and non-Federal agencies.

Typical project size:
Small projects may apply for between $5-20K. Large projects may apply for up to $100K.

Minimum 50% match required:
Cash (preferred) or in-kind matches are allowable.

Funding cycle:
Opens October 6 to December 15, 2022 for the 2023 field season. Funding must be spent within two years.

Equitable awards:
Our evaluation and selection committee is composed of representatives of a broad spectrum of both motorized and nonmotorized trails user types, and we will be making every effort to distribute funding equitably by Forest Service region and by trail user type.

26. November 2022 · Comments Off on It’s Public land, but the public can’t reach it! · Categories: Public Lands

The first time I showed the app to someone who had never used it, I had to gently extract my phone from the person’s hand. This happened the second time, too, and was followed by an email requesting the name of “that mapping program.”

The app is called OnX. Its basic functionality is simple: OnX shows you where you are in real time, using a blue dot exactly the same as the one on Google Maps. The difference is that OnX is designed to show where you are in a forest, on a mountain or in a canyon. It has been around since 2009 and is popular with hunters and outdoor enthusiasts.

It is also at the root of a potentially far-reaching case in federal court in which a Wyoming landowner accuses four hunters of trespassing — and causing millions of dollars in damage — even though they never stepped foot on his land.

OnX was born when Eric Siegfried, a mechanical engineer and part-time hunting guide in Montana, decided to make a Google Maps for the wilderness. He had solid navigation skills, he said, but was sick of getting lost.

To address the problem, he filled up a workspace in his wife’s scrapbooking room in Missoula with U.S. government maps, which he then loaded onto a microchip. OnX’s layers of data would eventually include everything from wind patterns to fire histories. The most important data by far, however, showed property lines.

This is because hunters, more than any other type of outdoor recreationist, need to be aware of whose property they are on, as Hal Herring, a journalist and public lands activist, explained to me.

Its public land but you can not reach it

24. November 2022 · Comments Off on SBFC – Fall 2022 Newsletter · Categories: Around The Campfire, Public Lands

The Wildest Place, SBFC’s Fall Newsletter, is here!

The newsletter highlights all of our summer wilderness stewardship accomplishments, welcomes new SBFC staff, and more!

We hope you enjoy reading it!

Outdoor Conversations is SBFC’s presentation and lecture series focused on different aspects of wilderness and the outdoors.

Join SBFC in conversation with splitboard/river guide and filmmaker Sam Thackeray.

In the Spring of 2021, Brian Peters, Jess Asmussen, and Sam Thackeray set off to traverse the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. Covering a large part of Central Idaho, the Frank Church totals 2.3 Million Acres. As the largest wilderness area in the lower 48, the Frank Church is the definition of remote, and it’s becoming more so. The trio’s plan is to snowboard and ski from East to West across the expanse of the wilderness and experience a place few have ever had the opportunity to see in this way. Over 16 days the crew covers 130 miles and 67,000 vert, finding some amazing descents, maddening travel conditions, and a lot of time to reflect.

Sam and Brian will introduce the short film they made about their experience, screen the film, and take time for questions and answers after the presentation.

18. November 2022 · Comments Off on Ridge to Rivers Interactive Map · Categories: Current Events, Public Lands

Boise Foothills hikers and cyclists can now check trail conditions before leaving the house.

Ridge to Rivers, the group that manages the Foothills trail system, created an interactive map with live updates on specific trail conditions. The map will tell users if a trail is dry, snowy, muddy, or frozen, when it thaws, and when to stay off. It also gives a trail description along with who or what is permitted, such as off-leash dogs, horses, or bikes.

Ridge to Rivers says that using trails when they are muddy is the leading cause of damage in the Boise Foothills because of the high clay content in the ground. Trail widening, rutting and erosion are common outcomes when using wet trails.

“Displaying up-to-date trail conditions on the interactive map will allow users to make informed decisions when planning a hike or ride during the muddy trail season,” said Ridge to Rivers Manager David Gordon. “With more than 200 miles of trails throughout the system, there are great alternatives and all-weather options for folks to utilize when temperatures drop, and wet weather moves in. This new interactive map feature will help guide those decisions.”

17. November 2022 · Comments Off on Public Meeting – Greater Boise NF Recreationalists · Categories: Around The Campfire, Public Lands, Public Meetings

Catharine Beverly-Bishop
Recreation Management Specialist
Forest Service
Boise National Forest
1857 HWY 16
Emmett, ID 83617

GBR Invitation2022-12-07

12. October 2022 · Comments Off on PUG 2022 Season Recap · Categories: Around The Campfire, Public Lands


16. August 2022 · Comments Off on ITA – Old Saw – Aug 2022 · Categories: Public Lands


Squaw Butte did pack support for Anna’s project

Read More

23. March 2022 · Comments Off on Owyhee Front – Wilson Creek Trail Head · Categories: Fun Rides, Public Lands


09. March 2022 · Comments Off on SALMON-CHALLIS NATIONAL FOREST- Partnership Coordinator · Categories: Current Events, Public Lands


Salmon-Challis National Forest:

Salmon-Challis National Forest – Home (usda.gov) Salmon-Challis National Forest – Recreation (usda.gov)

Salmon-Challis National Forest – About the Forest (usda.gov)

Salmon Community: https://www.cityofsalmon.com/

Official Salmon Idaho tourism site. Find restaurants, lodging, activities, maps and more. (visitsalmonvalley.com)

On The River | Visit Salmon Valley, Idaho

City of Salmon

Salmon, Idaho Experience – Bing video

One Of The Most Unique Towns, Salmon Is Perfect For A Day Trip In Idaho (onlyinyourstate.com)

Challis Community: https://challischamber.com/


Mackay Community: http://mackayidaho-city.com/


Submit the attached form and a brief resume to Gina Knudson at the email below.

Interested applicants or those desiring further information may contact Gina Knudson, Partnership Coordinator at gina.knduson@usda.gov or 208-756-5551.


14. February 2022 · Comments Off on Pulaski Users Group 2021 Annual Report · Categories: Around The Campfire, Public Lands


19. January 2022 · Comments Off on Wilderness Volunteer Projects 2022 · Categories: Public Lands



13. January 2022 · Comments Off on ITA – The Old Saw – January 2022 · Categories: Public Lands


11. January 2022 · Comments Off on NWSA Webinar – Stock use rule · Categories: Around The Campfire, Public Lands

Stock use rules in BLM and USFS-managed wilderness.

One of the most common categories of rules in wilderness is rules associated with stock use. Stock rules can include feed requirements, party size limits, camping setbacks from water and/or trails, grazing restrictions, as well as stock restrictions to certain trails or outright prohibition of stock. This research describes the frequency of stock rules in wilderness areas managed by the BLM and USFS. Additionally, the differences associated with the rules that are included in Wilderness Character reports as well as how they are weighted are also explored.

C. “Griff” Griff is a Professor in the Biology Department at Grand Valley State University. Her research focuses on unconfined recreation in the National Wilderness Preservation System.
Randy Rasmussen, Public Lands Policy Expert for the Back Country Horsemen of America will also participate in this discussion with a horseman’s perspective.

National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance


One of the most common categories of rules in wilderness is rules associated with stock use. Stock rules can include feed requirements, party size limits, camping setbacks from water and/or trails, grazing restrictions, as well as stock restrictions to certain trails or outright prohibition of stock. This research describes the frequency of stock rules in wilderness areas managed by the BLM and USFS. Additionally, the differences associated with the rules that are included in Wilderness Character reports as well as how they are weighted are also explored.

C. “Griff” Griff is a Professor in the Biology Department at Grand Valley State University. Her research focuses on unconfined recreation in the National Wilderness Preservation System.

Randy Rasmussen, Public Lands Policy Expert for the Back Country Horsemen of America will also participate in this discussion with a horseman’s perspective.

11. January 2022 · Comments Off on Wilderness Connect – a valuable resource · Categories: Around The Campfire, Education, Public Lands

Wilderness Connect Link

Contact Lisa Ronald lisa@wilderness.net if you have a question.

21. December 2021 · Comments Off on Salmon-Challis NF Partners Post-Season Forum · Categories: Public Lands, Public Meetings

Full PDF’s: SCNF Partnership 2021 Post-Season Meeting 121621

16. December 2021 · Comments Off on Senate Energy & Natural Resources Legislation Hearing 12-02-21 · Categories: Around The Campfire, Public Lands

PDF: Senate Energy and Natural Resources Outdoor Recreation Legislation Hearing 12-2-21

18. November 2021 · Comments Off on ITA – Wild Hearts Idaho – All Girl Trail Project · Categories: Education, Public Lands


ITA partnered with Wild Hearts Idaho this year for an all-girls youth trail maintenance trip in the Gospel Hump Wilderness! From a thrilling (and wet!) jet boat ride up the Salmon River to living out of their backpacks for a week, these girls had quite the adventure in Idaho’s backcountry.

Thank you to the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest, the Sawtooth National Forest, and Mackay Bar Outfitters for your support on this project.

08. November 2021 · Comments Off on PUG Video · Categories: Around The Campfire, Public Lands


26. October 2021 · Comments Off on SBFC – Wilderness Blogs · Categories: Around The Campfire, Public Lands

Link to Tales from the Trails

Learn about the Wilderness Ranger Fellowship

26. September 2021 · Comments Off on Frank Church – Boundary Fire Update · Categories: Current Events, Public Lands


21. September 2021 · Comments Off on SBFC – Women in the Wilderness · Categories: Around The Campfire, Public Lands


13. September 2021 · Comments Off on Wilderness Volunteer – Imogene Project · Categories: Around The Campfire, Public Lands, Work Parties and Projects


03. September 2021 · Comments Off on SNRA End of Season Clean-UP · Categories: Around The Campfire, Public Lands

Sign UP

31. August 2021 · Comments Off on Up Whiskey Creek Without Whiskey · Categories: Fun Days, Public Lands


24. August 2021 · Comments Off on Moments in the Mountains – SBFC · Categories: Around The Campfire, Public Lands

Watch the Video    /    More Blog Posts

03. August 2021 · Comments Off on Montana Conservation Corp – Twenty Mile Creek Pack-In · Categories: Public Lands, Work Parties and Projects

The Montana Conservation Corps grew out of great ideas, great people, and a great legacy. Stories of men joining and serving in the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression can be heard at coffee counters across Montana. Tales of their accomplishments to improve the landscape – including the development of Montana’s first state park at the Lewis and Clark Caverns – and the spirit of the young people who joined are numerous and verging on mythical, in the best tradition of Montana.

In 1990, Human Resource Development Council agencies from Billings, Bozeman, and Kalispell established the Montana Conservation Corps. Our first Executive Director, Steve Nelsen, tells of starting MCC with nothing but a desk, a phone, and a box of Kleenex.

The first MCC crews were fielded in the summer of 1991 through the cooperation of the HRDC and sponsoring agencies such as the City of Billings, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and the U.S. Forest Service. In 1993, MCC successfully obtained AmeriCorps funding, which doubled the budget and established regional offices.

Now MCC has a multimillion-dollar budget and has matured into a leader in the national corps movement. We are proud of our humble roots and thankful for all those that have contributed to the development of MCC over the years. To all of our alumni, staff, board volunteers, and community champions—thank you for being a part of the Montana Conservation Corps.


In Mid-July, Adam Larson PNF Trails Supervisor contacted Squaw Butte and ask if they would consider doing a drop camp for an MCC crew working on the Twenty Mile Creek trail near upper Payette Lake.  The pack-in date would be August 3rd and pack-out on August 24.  This crew of 6 would be working from this base camp for two weeks so need quite a bit of food and had over 90 pounds of hand tools and a chainsaw and support gear.  Rob Adams and Phil Ryan met MCC crew Leads Eve Hickey and Dylan Barker and the rest of the team at the Twenty Mile trail head on Tuesday morning at 07:30.  The five pack stock were saddled and once the gear was unloaded from their truck, a quick briefing on load building was followed by the MCC crew helping build and hang loads.  The biggest challenge was the large pile of hand tools including sledgehammers, picks, Pulaski’s and a rock bar they would need.  The tools were distributed between two canvas mantie that once lashed up weighted in at 46 and 47 pounds and were basket hitched to one of Rob pack horses.

By 08:30 everything was loaded and Rob and Phil were heading down the trail for a bit over 6 miles to a meadow that was their planned camp site.  We made good time averaging a bit over 3 mph and were at the camp site by 10:30 and had the stock unloaded and were heading back to the trail head by 11:00.

The site we left the gear is going to be a great camp with dry, level ground for their tents, easy access to water and two nice pools for a dip after a hard day of trail work.  While on the trail we met three dirt bike rider, two back packers that had been camping up at the Twenty Mile Lakes and two couples and a toddler in a back pack.

See planned work PDF: MCC 2021 Twenty Mile Projects

More pictures