From Monica Zimmerman: “We had a graduate student here for 3 weeks in July reviewing the public comments and starting to draft the management alternatives. She is working on them now and will get them back to me to review with our team. Hopefully, we can get them out to the public for comment by October.”
Be on the lookout for further updates in October when we will announce a period for public comment.
What is the Victor BLM Project?
In fall 2014, Mountain Bike the Tetons submitted a general proposal to the BLM to request approval of new, multi-use (mountain bike, hike, horseback and motorcycle) singletrack trails on BLM lands in Teton County, ID. Depending on what the BLM approves, between 10-14 miles of new singletrack could be approved as part of this plan. Thanks to volunteers Lynne Wolfe, Aaron Gardner and Bob Benedict, the BLM received thorough maps of trail concepts and proposed routing to consider in the travel planning process. BLM is conducting travel planning for its Teton County, ID parcels over the 2015-16 winter.
Volunteers gathered at the top of the new Mountain Side Village Trail in memoriam of A.J. Linnell in Victor, ID.[/caption]
The proposed trails are generally routed to form 2 major loops accessed from existing access points in Game Creek, via the Mud Lake road and a new access point, the Mountain Side Village (MSV) Trail. The MSV trail is being constructed through private land via a special public access easement granted to the City of Victor by the Mountain Side Village Association and private land owners Dave and Dan Bender. The MSV trail will begin at the end of Cemetery Rd. in Victor.
The two loops are tentatively called the Pond Loop (approximately 4 miles) and the Ridge Loop (approximately 7.5 miles) with connecting trails to the aforementioned access points. These loops are shown in the topographic maps below with the proposed trails shown in purple and current BLM inventoried trails shown in red. The proposed loops will be built using a combination of existing game trails, short sections of existing 2-track ATV/motorized trails and new singletrack trail sections.
Current Project Status
With assistance from MBT, BLM staff visited Teton Valley several times in the summer of 2015 to gather precise travel planning data. They GPS’d the Victor parcel as well as the Dead Cow trail in the Spring Creek area. The BLM is now conducting travel planning.
There are plenty of existing 2-track trails on BLM lands which users are welcome to use (see inventoried trail map). Per BLM regulations, mountain bikes must stay on existing, inventoried BLM trails. One may walk off trail at any point, but motorized and mechanized vehicles must remain on existing trails.
In August, 2015 MBT and the Linnell family held the first AJ Linnell Memorial Trail day to begin construction on the MSV trail. Nearly 130 people attended to dig in honor of AJ Linnell, a champion singlespeed mountain biker, Victor City Councilman, and a beloved friend and husband who died in an accident in spring, 2015. The volunteer day completed nearly 1/3 of this new trail in a single day! To learn more about AJ and the AJ Linnell Memorial Trail fund, please visit the Trail Fund page.
The Mountain Side Village Trail is not yet open to the public. When it is completed in late 2016, it will be open to hikers and mountain bikers. However, only walkers will be allowed to travel onto BLM property from the Mountain Side Village Trail. Mountain bikers may use the trail as an out-and-back until the BLM approves new singletrack construction.
The Big Picture
A Teton Valley Shoreline trail? Yes!
This proposal is the first step in completing the “Teton Valley Shoreline,” a route a rider could start in Game Creek and ride mostly singletrack north up to Grand Targhee Resort. Picture parking at the end of Old Jackson Highway, riding to Game Creek, and Fox Creek, hopping onto Stateline Road to Darby Canyon, continuing up and along the Aspen Trail, to the Dead Cow Trail via Spring Creek and Rapid Creek until you arrive in Teton Canyon. Then you would be able to climb up Mill Creek Trail to Grand Targhee Resort. That would be quite a ride! It is a long-term goal, but one we think is feasible and worthy of pursuing.
Resources and Maps
AJ Linnell Memorial Trail Day, August 16, 2015
Photos by Jonathan Selkowitz