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UPDATE: The bridge to this popular Idaho City campground has finally reopened

The bridge to Grayback Gulch was destroyed by a build-up of water, ice and fallen trees due to 2016’s record snowfall. Those waiting for access to the campground and the hunting area beyond may have to wait until 2019. Photo provided by the Western Federal Lands Highway Division.
The bridge to Grayback Gulch was destroyed by a build-up of water, ice and fallen trees due to 2016’s record snowfall. Those waiting for access to the campground and the hunting area beyond may have to wait until 2019. Photo provided by the Western Federal Lands Highway Division.

UPDATE: The bridge and road to the popular Grayback Gulch campsite near Idaho City is once again open as of Saturday, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The campsite itself will remain closed until spring, meaning no water, trash disposal or toilet facilities are available. However, the gate to Grayback Gulch remains unlocked and visitors may continue to access the site through the winter.

The Idaho City Ranger District asked that winter visitors remember to observe pack in and pack out guidelines. Campers looking to use the site for the 2019 season can request a reservation at recreation.gov.

Here’s our original story from Aug. 28:

The bridge to Grayback Gulch, a popular campground two miles south of Idaho City, is finally being rebuilt more than a year after its destruction.

“(Grayback Gulch) is by far and away our most popular campground,” said Hank Ray, a recreation technician with the Idaho City Ranger District. “It was full almost all the time. A lot of people even had weddings and family reunions there.”

Due to the fallout of 2016’s remarkable snowfall, the bridge to Grayback Gulch was destroyed by flooding, ice and fallen trees. According to Idaho City district ranger Brant Peterson, the bridge’s remnants were removed from the river in March 2017, as the build-up that had destroyed it threatened other bridges and structures as well.

YRU Contracting, Inc. began construction Aug. 13 on the new bridge and plans to finish near the end of September, although the absolute deadline for the project is the third week of October.

Since the majority of campgrounds in that area close in late September, it’s possible Grayback Gulch will remain closed until next spring. Officials hoped construction would be complete earlier this summer, but the lack of availability of needed equipment and manpower due to the construction season set the schedule back.

The project’s total cost is $380,365, split between the Boise National Forest Service and the Idaho Department of Lands, which will cover 66.7 percent.

Peterson said the project’s traffic interference should be limited, though drivers could experience some lane restrictions or brief closures around the third week of September.

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