Fox Creek Re-route

Flooding took out several footbridges along the Fox Creek Trail this spring, and a reroute was built on Saturday to avoid two of the problematic crossings.

Springtime flooding along Fox Creek.

Originally, consideration was given to replacing the bridges, to help preserve the stream-side character of the impacted section of trail. But the original trail alignment was too low and the trail was failing in areas other than at the approaches to the bridges. Without this stream-side section, we would still have several creek-side areas of the trail remaining, so that type of experience would not be lost with a move of the trail. Moving the trail would allow the new section to run in an area that will not continue to be impacted by high water. So, the decision was made to re-route the trail onto an adjacent hillside.

Cutting in the “bench” of the trail, and aiming to meet in the middle.

First, the Ketchum Ranger District (KRD) flagged in a rough alignment of the proposed re-route. Then, specialists with the KRD studied the alignment and approved the trail construction. Next, the trail’s designers pin-flagged the exact alignment of the trail. Pin-flags are placed every ten-feet or so, showing the crew exactly where to dig and helping ensure the trail’s desired character is established during the build. Having such tight marking for construction also helps make sure the finished product is well-drained.

In foreground KRD Trail Crew member Mitch Ahrendsen wields a pick-mattock.

The crew used a “full-bench” trail construction technique in installing the re-route. After the trail tread was established the crew got to work on cutting the trail’s backslope. Work is ongoing this week by the KRD Trail Crew to complete the project. A third bridge that is washed out along the trail still needs to be dealt with. We are looking at the possibility of reusing that bridge.

The crew takes a break before starting on the cutting of the trail’s backslope.

The Wood River Bicycle Coalition hosted the volunteer work event. Volunteers in attendance included John Straka, Cameron Lloyd, Nello Busdon, Dave Bell, Gary Gruver, Alan Hogg, Jamie Lieberman, and Zach Poff. Crew leadership was supplied by yours truely, and by KRD Trail Crew members Justin Blackstead (Crew Boss), Mitchell Ahrendsen, and Hailey.

Justin Blackstead, Jamie Lieberman, and Renee Catherin at work on the re-route.

After the work the bike coalition’s Cameron Lloyd served up a delicious barbecue for the crew. Thank you Wood River Bicycle Coalition, and thank you to all the workers who pulled together to get this needed project taken care of!