Oregon-Fox Connector Reroute

The Ketchum Ranger District (KRD) is rerouting a section of the Oregon-Fox Connector Trail #311. The area of the reroute is on the southeast side of the trail, in a spot where the trail goes straight up the bottom of the drainage.

KRD Trail Crew members building a retaining wall for a turn.

This section can not be drained, so water flows right down the trail causing rutting and making the path very hard to negotiate. It was a maintenance nightmare. Replacing the unsustainable section will take care of the maintenance problems and also make the trail much more attractive when approach from the Fox Creek/Chocolate Gulch side.

The steep, demanding nature of the trail will not be lost with the installation of the reroute. Careful consideration was given to preserving the challenging character of the trail, to try and not disappoint those who appreciate a hard mountain bike ride or stiff hike. Many areas of the trail remain steep and demanding.

Idaho Conservation Corps at work.

Arrangements for the build have been in the works for some time. The KRD and its partners have been studying the trail and working to come up with an appropriate remedy to its problems for years. The KRD recreation staff came up with a plan for the reroute early in 2016 and promptly applied for a grant for the hire of a youth corps crew to add manpower to the repairs. Awarded the grant, the KRD hired an Idaho Conservation Corps youth crew for a three-week stint. The crew arrived about a week ago.

In early July I went out with the KRD to refine the re-route design. We followed the corridor flagging the KRD had roughed in earlier, and we installed pin-flags every few feet to precisely mark the alignment of the trail construction. This finer marking shows the crews where to dig; helping to insure that the trail is well-drained and that it works well for its intended users. The finished flagging and design work was soon followed by the logging out of the corridor by the KRD crew, then the beginning of construction on Monday, July 24.

Digging in on the Oregon-Fox Trail #311.

The existing trail is open for use during the construction of the re-route, but trail users are cautioned to be watchful for the crews at work. The reroute is in the woods above the open, existing trail. Watch for falling rocks and try to minimize any time spent below areas of construction.

Members of the KRD crew, and the youth corp crew, will be camping out near the work area, which is on the southeast side of the trail (Fox/Chocolate Gulch side of the trail), until around the middle of August. For more information you can call the KRD at (208) 622-5371, or contact me, Chris Leman, BCRD Wood River Valley Trail Coordinator at: text/call:(208)720-7713 or email:cleman@bcrd.org

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