The Minidoka Ranger District just wrapped up weeks of post fire trail work with extensive help from the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation (IDPR). Crews focused on both ATV (50 inch or less) and single-track trails that were burned over during the Badger Fire in the South Hills. According to Steve Frost, a Recreation Program Manager who works on the Sawtooth National Forest, “IDPR was able to lend a helping hand to the Sawtooth National Forest and work the Badger Fire into their fall program of work. The work that they accomplished will be instrumental to minimizing some of the negative effects to the trail system that could be caused by erosion and soil movement post fire.” IDPR was able to work on almost all the trails that were affected by the Badger Fire, including the trails that were used for fire suppression activities and were opened or widened with heavy equipment.
According to Frost, “the plan will be to complete trail assessments in the spring and early summer to see how the trails fared through winter and spring runoff events and develop a program of work in conjunction with IDPR and user groups after that.” He went on to say, “that while a lot of work has been done, there is still a lot to do. Several trail bridges were destroyed in during the fire along with trail signing and this work will not be addressed before snow flies.”
Randy Thompson, District Ranger for the Minidoka Ranger District, said, “ It would have not been possible for the District to get the work done on the trail system this fall without IPDR offering up the trail equipment and operators; it is important moving forward that the recreating public by patient and abide by the closure order within the Badger Fire to minimize damage in the short term so that the trail system remains sustainable for all Forest Users in the long term. Randy Thompson also said, “The Minidoka Ranger District will be working with other agencies, user groups and stakeholders over the winter to develop a strategy to collaboratively address post fire impacts to recreation caused by the Badger Fire. Our goal is to minimize the effects of the fire on recreational users and work together with public land users to maintain recreational opportunities on the district.”
IDPR trail work is funded by state registration fees from OHVs. The closure order for 50 inch and single track trails can be found at https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/sawtooth/alerts-notices/?cid=stelprdb5161133