Forest project to affect Idaho City yurts

A proposed forest restoration project in the U.S. Forest Service's Idaho Idaho City Ranger District is expected to have an effect on popular state-run yurts in the area and also the trail systems around the yurts. 

The Becker Restoration Project will result in the closure of access roads to Stargaze and Skyline yurts during the summer, resulting a long, steep walk in from Idaho 21. Normally, in the summer months, yurt users can drive to within a few-minutes walk to the yurts. 

The project also calls for new ATV trails to be built near Beaver, Ralph's, Wayout and Twister non-motorized trails in the area.

The Department of Parks and Recreation is the agency that operates the six yurts and the trails in the area about 22 miles northeast of Idaho City.

Most of the area in and around the yurts and trail system will be logged or thinned over the next few years to reduce the thick stands of trees and brush to reduce the fire danger. 

Many of the old roads in the area will be decommissioned and closed that could possibly cut off access to dispersed campsites throughout the area.

The popularity of the yurts continues to grow. In 2013, the yurts were used by 4,596 people.

The Idaho City yurts bring in about $73,000 per year for the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation. In 2014, the agency expects that number to increase by $10,000.

The U.S. Forest Service has scheduled two public meetings to gather public comments - from 6 to 8 p.m., May 20, at the Robinson Community Center in Idaho City and 6 to 8 p.m., May 21, at the Best Western Plus Vista Inn at the Boise Airport.

Written comments can be submitted to Idaho City Ranger District, Attention: Becker Project, P.O. Box 129, Idaho City, ID 83631 or at www.fs.fed.us/nepa/nepa_project_exp.php?project=18922 or by e-mail to comments-intermtn-boise-idaho-city@fs.fed.us

Additional information is available by calling the Idaho City Ranger District at 392-6681.