The Bureau of Land Management announced Thursday its approval of plans that will add just over 12 miles of new trails to Boise’s existing Ridge to Rivers trail system, according to a BLM news release.
The additions, which Ridge to Rivers first announced last August, will include links between existing trails, a new downhill track for mountain bikers and reroutes for trails affected by erosion concerns. Five-and-a-half miles of the trails will be constructed on BLM-owned land, while the remaining 6.6 miles are on city- and county-owned land.
According to Bureau of Land Management decision documents, the agency will construct three single-track trails totaling 4.3 miles on BLM land, as well as a 1.2-mile mountain bike trail in the popular Hull’s Gulch area. Here are the BLM projects:
“This segment is part of a 6.2 mile loop trail that would be named the Hawkins Trail and includes 4.3 miles of trail not on BLM-managed lands,” the documents say. “Hawkins Trail would be seasonally closed from December 1-April 30, and would be maintained for non-motorized uses including: hiking, biking, and walking.”
“It would allow for a really long, mid-Foothills traverse,” Ridge to Rivers director David Gordon told the Statesman in August. “It’s been something that people have asked about ever since I got this job.”
▪ Red Hawk Trail: The final single-track addition is a 0.6-mile segment of Ridge to Rivers’ previously proposed Red Hawk Trail, to be built north of Hidden Springs.
▪ Mountain bike trail: A “purpose-built” trail will be constructed in Hull’s Gulch to offer a “downhill-oriented descent” for mountain bikers, according to the BLM release. The as-yet unnamed trail will be 1.2 miles.
In August, Gordon told the Statesman the plan for the downhill trail was a 1.6-mile route in the Crane Creek drainage.
“We worked with our city, county and state partners in response to the increased demands on the Ridge to Rivers trail network,” said BLM Four Rivers Field Manager Brent Ralston in the news release. “With new trails for hiking and biking, we hope to reduce congestion and conflicts on existing trails. These actions are consistent with the 2016 Ridge to Rivers 10-year Plan developed by the partners, including the BLM.”
In addition to the new routes, the BLM will also reroute portions of the 8th Street Motorcycle and Femrite’s Patrol trails due to concerns over eroding soil. Construction will close those trails in late summer and fall, according to the agency, and once completed will add 0.7 miles between the two trails.
It’s not clear when the new routes will open. The Statesman has reached out to Ridge to Rivers officials for more information.
The construction will also include an expansion to the Cartwright Trailhead, which offers access to Peggy’s Trail and Polecat Loop. The lot currently accommodates roughly 20 vehicles. After the expansion, officials said it will have space for about 30 vehicles and include two designated horse trailer parking spots, two accessible parking spaces and a vault toilet.