Friday, November 25, 2011

Give thanks to IDPR Trail Rangers for keeping our trails clear on national forests in Idaho

Typical tree removal

Trail tread work

Serious downfall!

At this time of year, it's appropriate to give thanks to some unsung heroes who work hard all summer long in Idaho's back country to ensure that our multi-use trails on national forest lands are free of downfall and brush, usable and sustainable.

I'm talking about the Trail Rangers crews provided by the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation. They're skilled motorbike riders who carry shovels, chainsaws and other tools into the back country and work on opening up multi-use trails for all of us to enjoy.

Last summer, IDPR's Trail Rangers cleared almost 1,500 miles of trails, removed more than 8,000 trees, improved the tread on approximately 1,530 feet of trail, and worked on 1,045 water bars/dips.

The trail work occurred on many of Idaho's national forests, including the Panhandle, Salmon-Challis, Sawtooth National Recreation Area, Caribou-Targhee, Boise and Payette. Please see a detailed accounting of the Trail Rangers work on the IDPR web site.

With the late spring and cool, wet summer, the IDPR Trail Rangers "struggled with excessive amounts of brush growth" that slowed the crews down and made it difficult to treat all of the trail miles requested by the national forests, IDPR officials said.

IDPR has four Trail Ranger crews that serves the state -- one in North Idaho, another in Eastern Idaho and a third and fourth located in SW Idaho. The fourth crew is a “roaming crew” that assists all three regions in trail maintenance.

IDPR also has a trail cat that does more heavy-duty trail work. Statewide, IDPR trail cat operators reconstructed 31.3 miles of of trail, built 3.2 miles of trail and 868 water dips, cleaned out 1,003 water dips, and removed 817 stumps.

IDPR's mini-excavator operators rebuilt 2.9 miles of trail, built 27 water dips, cleaned 28 water dips, and removed 27 stumps.

All of this work is made possible by OHV registration funds.

In the spring, IDPR invites national forest ranger districts to apply for assistance from IDPR Trail Rangers. Trail work is provided to the national forests at no cost. But the Forest Service does provide temporary housing for trail ranger crews. In 2010, 26 ranger districts in Idaho's national forests requested and received Trail Ranger services.

Thanks Trail Rangers!