Friday, April 27, 2012

Six new OHV rides to explore in Idaho

The distribution of 39 OHV rides in Idaho ... 
Hi all,

The Idaho Off-Highway Vehicle Public Outreach Campaign has been updating the StayonTrails web site with some new rides, and we're happy to report that we've got six new rides to share for the 2012 riding season, with several more to come.

On our Where-to-Ride page, we now have 39 rides total. Each ride has a detailed written description with directions to the trailhead, and a trip map. These rides complement the new Idaho OHV online trails map, which provides online access to some 18,000 miles of trails in Idaho statewide.

We've added three new rides in Southeast Idaho near Montpelier, courtesy of recommendations by the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, and three new rides near Salmon, Idaho, thanks to recommendations by the Bureau of Land Management and local OHV riders.

One of the rides in Salmon provides a 39-mile tour of the Lewis & Clark Backcountry Byway. This one is a dandy for history buffs. The single-lane dirt road surface is suitable for motorbikes, ATVs, UTVs and regular trucks and cars. The ride starts and finishes in the beautiful Lemhi Valley, where Sacajawea was born as a member of the Lemhi band of the Shoshone Indians, or the AgaiDika Shoshone. 
Where the dirt roads meet at the saddle above is 7,373-foot Lemhi Pass. 
The ride takes OHV riders to Lemhi Pass atop the Continental Divide, where you can easily imagine how things may have looked to Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery, when they peered over the west side of the divide for the first time and saw lots of big mountains and no clear path to the Pacific Ocean. The Shoshone told them that they couldn't safely travel to the Pacific via the Salmon River because it was too rocky, it had too many rapids, and they'd certainly drown trying to get through. Instead, they recommended going to the Pacific via the Nez Perce buffalo trail and Lolo Pass, which turned out to be a grueling route through dense timber with very little game. I'm sure many of you know the story. 

The late author Stephen Ambrose, who penned the excellent book Undaunted Courage, wrote that Lemhi Pass was his favorite spot along the Lewis and Clark Trail. He camped there with his family on July 4, 1976. "It was the most glorious night of our lives," he wrote. "You could reach out and touch the stars. Except for a logging road, the place was unchanged since Lewis was there."

You can camp there, too! If you come to Salmon, you also need to visit the Sacajawea Center, a museum and outdoor park near Salmon. Here's a link to the BLM brochure about the backcountry byway. Oh, and by the way, there's a hot springs nearby that you can visit before or after the ride.
Trailhead at Discovery Hill. Photo courtesy BLM
Discovery Hill is a cool riding area just a few minutes from downtown Salmon. We featured a 20-mile tour of the Discovery Hill area in the detailed ride, and once you've done that ride, you can explore many other trails in the vicinity. The trails in the Discovery Hill area are old dirt roads, so they're suitable for any OHV use.  The base of the Discovery Hill area, managed by the Bureau of Land Management, also contains the Sacajawea Motor Sports Park, where people can practice hill-climbing and test their skills.

Freeman Peak lords over the Freeman Creek Trail.
The Freeman Creek Trail is the third ride featured in Salmon. It's a challenging and rocky ride that goes by several old mines to nearly the top of the Beaverhead Mountains on the Idaho-Montana border. There are several high mountain lakes on the Montana side where an ambitious person could hike over to catch some fresh trout.

Moving on to the trails in SE Idaho, we feature two rides in the Mecham Hollow area, north of Montpelier. There is an 8-mile intermediate loop that provides an introduction to the area, and a 25-mile loop, called the Mecham Hollow-Sherman Peak Loop, which is more advanced. Both rides are open to motorbikes and ATVs.

Local Ranger Dennis Deurhen shared a nifty 22-mile ride we called the Paris Canyon-Highline Trail Loop.
On this ride, you can visit the Paris Ice Caves, and do a brief side hike to Bloomington Lake for fishing or a quick dip on a hot summer day, and finish the loop. Here's the trip map.
Paris Ice Caves
Paris Ice Caves 
Hope you can carve out some time this summer to explore these rides or others on our site.

Have fun!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Adena Cook - Thank you for your public service

Adena Cook
Hi all,

We wanted to share the news that Adena Cook, longtime public lands director for the Blue Ribbon Coalition, has died. Funeral services will be held on Friday in Boise.

Adena helped the Idaho OHV Public Outreach Campaign a couple of years ago by wrapping up a session on trail ethics with some helpful thoughts about the responsible shared use of trails. Here is a short video of her remarks:

Here is the news release from the Blue Ribbon Coalition about Adena's many achievements for the group over many years. Adena was a well-respected advocate for OHV trail access on public lands. We send our condolences to her family.


BOISE, ID (April 6, 2012) -- The OHV community joins together today in mourning the loss of one of its greatest activists. On Thursday, April 5th, 2012, Adena Cook--one of the original founders of the BlueRibbon Coalition--passed away.

Adena will be sorely missed, both by those that knew her, and by the recreation community to whom she gave so much.. She will forever be in our hearts and thoughts, and her legacy of dedication, perseverance and determination will live on.

Ms. Cook was amongst those that aided founder, Clark Collins, in turning the Idaho Public Land User's Association into a national organization, re-titled the BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC). She served as the newly created group's volunteer secretary until 1989, at which point she became the group's first Public Lands Director, and the second paid staff member.

Adena worked tirelessly in her role as Public Lands Director for the coalition and was a strong advocate for protecting recreational access to public lands. She was among the first to establish the ties to land-managers and agencies that still help BlueRibbon in its vital role to this day. She also had a pivotal role in the efforts of Clark Collins to create a network of grassroots groups and individuals. A network that has become the heart and soul of the organization as it is today.

Always pushing to modernize the Coalition and advance our methods of communication, Adena was instrumental in the Coalition's keeping up with the pace of technology. In her own words, " we were growing, achieving, and improving grassroots recreation activism, communication technology was changing the world. It primed all those pumps in all those springs that flowed into the creeks and rivers. We were among the first to use every bit of it...our timing was right on."

As part of her relentless drive to improve the Coalition and make it into a powerful tool for recreational advocacy, Adena initiated some of the earliest contacts with the legal firm of Moore-Smith-Buxton & Turcke, the firm that would eventually be integral to the BlueRibbon Legal Program.

In the Coalition's first Supreme Court victory-defeating a lawsuit filed against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)-Adena would later say, "I could never have imagined that, a few years after those meager beginnings, we would participate in a case that won before the Supreme Court. Our legal team is now one of the most important parts of BRC."

In 2002, Adena Cook retired as Public Lands Director, but stayed on in a volunteer capacity as the Coalition's Senior Policy Advisor. She will be deeply missed by those that worked closely with her:

“Adena was absolutely crucial to the BlueRibbon Coalition’s evolution as a nationally recognized recreation advocacy group. Her hard work and dedication was an inspiration to me personally and to grass roots recreation access activists across the nation. No one has had more of a positive impact on back-country recreation than Adena.”
Clark Collins, BRC founder

"Adena was a true innovator in the field of recreation advocacy. I feel a deep personal loss at the news of her passing. Adena was my friend, mentor, and colleague and I will miss her. The recreation community lost an iconic champion. I mourn with many others today at this news."
Don Amador, BRC Western Representative

"The public lands community will miss a pioneer and champion in Adena Cook. Her keen insight helped create BlueRibbon's legal program and give recreationists a voice they lacked before agencies and courts. She was quick, efficient and genuine in her thoughts and was respected even by those with differing views. Not only recreationists but the public lands community should take a quiet moment to reflect on the gifts Adena brought and the legacy she hoped to build."
Paul Turcke, lead counsel for the BRC Legal Team

"It is a sad day. We are all the better for having known Adena. Few ever achieve the level of excellence she demonstrated in her life and in her work. I am proud to say that generations to come will share the benefit of her efforts. I am blessed to have been able to call her my friend and colleague.."
Greg Mumm, BRC Executive Director

"I believe there is a bit of Adena's legacy in all of us who remain behind working in advocacy roles to keep the public lands open for people to use. I will carry with me the knowledge and skills she helped me develop over the years. Others will benefit through the years from her research and from the environment created by her presence. Despite her dogged tenacity, she was every inch a lady.....all the time, on her beloved snowmobile or in the courtroom and the boardroom. She continues to be a role model into the future and I will miss her."
Joni Mogstad, BRC President

Reflecting on her short biography on the BlueRibbon Coalition website, we cannot help but find it woefully inadequate to describe the wonderful, vibrant woman who had such a large hand in the Coalition's creation and growth. Therein she states her goal as being, "To shape public policy in support of diverse recreation on public lands." In truth, her goal was the same as that of the Coalition itself. It is an ongoing goal. She achieved it with grit and determination, and we will continue to achieve it in her memory.

Rest in peace, Adena. You remain with us forever.

(end news release)