B-TNF summer 2021 trail projects

The Bridger-Teton National Forest will point its trail crews to eroded or dangerous routes throughout the valley this summer.

The Bridger-Teton National Forest has proposed a suite of projects for its trail crews to tackle during the summer of 2021, including reroutes, some heavy maintenance and one all-new system route.

That lone new trail is a short one that’s slated for the Granite Falls area north of the Hoback Canyon. Currently the way from the road to the broad, stunning waterfall is braided with steep “social trails” that are potentially dangerous, according to a scoping notice that the forest issued.

“Crews will construct a new sustainable trail that is accessed directly from the parking lot over to the base of the waterfall,” the notice says, “and close and rehabilitate all the existing social trails.”

A handful of trails have degraded enough that they’ve been prescribed reroutes. At the Grizzly Lake trail in the Gros Ventre River area, two stretches of trail will be relocated — one around a boghole and another at a creek crossing. Downriver in that same drainage, three approximately 1,000-foot-long steep sections of the motorized Horsetail Trail will be rerouted to locations with more sustainable grades.

Off of the Snake River Canyon, Bridger-Teton trail crews have plans to rebuild a stretch of the Wolf Creek trail that eroded into a creek. In the Willow Creek area, they’ll also be building a new stretch of the Wyoming Range National Recreation Trail that circumvents a dangerous, slick and sloughing hillside. Much nearer the trailhead along that route, there are plans to reroute some steep sections of the Anne’s Pond trail.

More routine trail maintenance work, like adding drainage infrastructure, clearing major deadfall and some minor reroutes are planned on myriad other Bridger-Teton routes. There’s work on the agenda for the Gros Ventre River trail, Shoal Falls trail, Mosquito Creek trail, Wolf Mountain Trail, Alder Creek Loop trail and Cottonwood Creek trail.

Last, the Bridger-Teton is proposing to widen the off-road vehicle trail on Shadow Mountain so that it’s suitable for 64-inch-wide vehicles, up from 50 inches wide today. The current narrowness of the trails, which are heavily used by commercially guided riders, has led to “numerous” accidents over the past several years, according to the Bridger-Teton’s notice.

The Bridger-Teton is planning to issue an environmental assessment analyzing the trail projects slated to occur this year. For now, the projects are in the scoping phase and comments are requested by May 13. They can be emailed to timothy.farris@usda.gov.

Contact Mike Koshmrl at 732-7067 or env@jhnewsandguide.com.

Mike has reported on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem's wildlife, wildlands and the agencies that manage them since 2012. A native Minnesotan, he arrived in the West to study environmental journalism at the University of Colorado.

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