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What’s your preference for pathway corridors?

Stopping by the beautiful North Fork of the Payette River on Smylie Lane.

We are looking for feedback on the recommendations made in the IMBA singletrack sidewalks study.

Which corridors are your highest priorities for connecting the communities of New Meadows, McCall, Lake Fork, Donnelly and Cascade?

The study recommends building pathway corridors on West Mountain Road on the west side of Long Valley, Farm to Market Road on the east side, and extending the North Valley Trail to points south via Norwood or Nisula to Donnelly, and then continuing south on the east side of Lake Cascade.

We also will need to find a good route to connect from McCall to New Meadows and the Weiser River Trail.

The pathways would be built in the county right of way along country roads. Again, what sounds best to you?

Please take a moment to take our survey and share with your friends.

Cascade: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/3CKGKYJ

Donnelly: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/3NBH38R

McCall: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/3GCGSQZ

New Meadows: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/3ZW32GT

Many thanks!

Steve Stuebner and Andrew Mentzer, VCP board members

IMBA study recommends 70+ miles of singletrack sidewalks in Valley County, Idaho

Hi all,

The West Central Mountains Economic Development Council and Valley County Pathways have been working together with the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) on a feasibility study about the potential for “singletrack sidewalks” and other types of pathways in the Long Valley area between Cascade and McCall, with an eye toward connecting to New Meadows and the Weiser River Trail as well.

This has been a year-long study, funded with a grant from the Mountain Central Association of Realtors in McCall and the National Association of Realtors. We are excited to share the results!

IMBA recommends 70+ miles of singletrack sidewalks in the feasibility study, along with a variety of on-road bike lanes, detached bike paths, rail-trails and more.

Steve Stuebner of Valley County Pathways and Andrew Mentzer of the West Central Mountains Economic Development Council will be sharing the results of the study in the coming weeks with elected officials, county commissioners, city councils, chambers of commerce and more. See dates below. The public is welcome to attend these sessions.

Overall, the IMBA study validated the vision and scope of the 2018 VCP Master Plan, which seeks to connect the communities of Cascade, Donnelly, Lake Fork, and McCall in Long Valley with a system of pedestrian pathways. The vision is also to provide pathway connections to popular recreational and cultural destinations in the valley such as Jug Mountain Ranch, Tamarack Resort, Gold Fork Hot Springs, the historical burg of Roseberry, Ponderosa State Park, Lake Cascade State Park and Forest Service trailheads.

“We’re stoked to share the results of the study because it validates the vision of the VCP Master Plan, and it gives us a path forward looking at a number of options for building future pathways to fulfill our vision,” Stuebner said.

“We are looking forward to getting community feedback on the IMBA study and identifying priorities at the grass-roots, community level  with elected officials, community leaders and the general public,” added Mentzer.

What is a singletrack sidewalk?

Singletrack sidewalks are dirt paths about 2-3 feet wide that would parallel existing county roads. The trails would be built within the existing county right of ways. Trail difficulty would be beginner to intermediate. The purpose would be to create a safe place for walkers, runners and cyclists to travel along existing county roads separate from the county road itself.

The trails would be less expensive to build and maintain as a paved, detached bike path such as the Strand in Cascade, McCall city pathways, and the paved trail going through the Meadows area between Donnelly and Tamarack.

The IMBA study pegs the cost of singletrack sidewalks to be in the range of $1.85 – $3.75 million to build-out the vision of the feasibility study (70+ miles of pathways). This breaks down to a cost of $25,000-$53,000 per mile.

By comparison, detached, paved bike paths 8 feet wide cost approximately $100,000-$250,000 per mile, including design and engineering.

The Bear Basin Connector Trail from McCall to Bear Basin Road is an example of a detached, singletrack sidewalk in our local community. (photo courtesy McCall Parks & Recreation)

In a series of community meetings coming up in late April and May, we will be sharing the study results to get a sense of priorities for singletrack sidewalks and pathways near each community and beyond.

Our meetings planned so far include:

  • Tuesday, April 30, 10 a.m. – Valley County Commissioners, Valley County Road Department, Lake Cascade State Park and Bureau of Reclamation officials at the commissioners meeting room in Cascade.
  • Tuesday, May 7, Cascade Mobility Group, 1:15 p.m. in Cascade at the Cascade Cultural Arts Center, 106 E Pine St.
  • Thursday, May 9, 7:30 a.m., McCall Chamber of Commerce, Shore Lodge.
  • Thursday, May 9, 5:30 p.m., McCall City Council.
  • Monday, May 20, 5 p.m., New Meadows City Council.

If you have a group that would like to discuss the IMBA study, please let us know (see follow-up contact information below).

Public link to the 35-page IMBA study. Please understand that all of the recommendations in the study are very preliminary.

Top recommendations for each community:

  • Farm to Market Road
  • West Mountain Road
  • Norwood Road
  • Davis Creek Road
  • Gold Fork Road
  • Heinrich Lane
  • Lakeshore Drive
  • Smylie Lane
  • Tamarack Falls Road
  • Lake Fork Road

For more information, contact Steve Stuebner, 208-484-0295, sstuebner@cableone.net, or Andrew Mentzer, 208-703-0161, vcedcidaho@gmail.com.

Vote “Yes!” on North County Recreation District on May 21

Valley County Pathways supports a Recreation District for the north side of Valley County … it would provide much-needed funds for pathway maintenance and new pathway projects in the region, and essential funds for other recreation needs in the community. Please support the rec district in the May 21 election. 

Reprinted with permission from The Star-News

Voters in and around McCall and Donnelly will get to decide on May 21 whether to create the Northern Valley Recreation District.

Valley County commissioners on Monday signed off on the ballot initiative after it gained over 1,000 signatures, satisfying all requirements that would allow it to be put to a vote.

Proponents paid the county about $5,000 to cover the cost of conducting the election.

Community meetings to discuss the proposed district are scheduled for Monday, May 13, at Idaho First Bank in McCall and Thursday, May 16, at the Donnelly Community Center. Both meetings will start at 6 p.m.

If approved, the new district would be a separate government agency with an independent board of directors.

The district would collect about $1 million per year in propertry taxes, Steering Committee Chair Sherry Maupin of McCall said.

The district would have the same boundaries as the McCall-Donnelly School District which extends from north of McCall to south of Donnelly.

The top three priorities for the district would be trails and open space, community health and welfare and the creation of a recreation center.

The recreation center would include outdoor sports fields, an indoor area with basketball courts and athletic practice areas and a pool, Maupin said.

Priority projects would include trail maintenance and expansion to create linked trails throughout the region.

Also planned is a push to secure open space to preserve and protect access to the North Fork of the Payette River and critical access points into recreation areas, Maupin said.

Proponents decided to fund the recreation district with property taxes, which would grow each year.

State law also allows recreation districts to be funded with flat annual fees on households.

The household fee is the funding method used by the Southern Valley County Recreation District, which built and operates the Cascade Aquatic and Recreation Center.

The recreation district was one of the inititatives of the West Central Mountains entrant into the 2017 America’s Best Communities contest.

Maupin chaired that effort, which competed with 350 other communities nationwide for $7 million in cash prizes.

Each entry had to develop an economic development plan for their communities, and a recreation district was one of the goals of the West Central Mountains proposal.

The local group advanced to the final round of eight entrants, but did not place in the top three winners that took home the cash prizes.

New Wooley Ave. boardwalk pathway to be built this summer

BY DREW DODSON
for The Star-News

Pedestrians and bicyclists traveling along Wooley Avenue this summer will be safer following action taken by the McCall City Council at its regular meeting last Thursday.

The council awarded a contract worth about $360,000 to Falvey’s Earthworks of McCall to build a separated pathway along Wooley Avenue from Denali Court to Spring Mountain Boulevard.

“The section we will be constructing this spring is one of the more dangerous road sections to share the road,” McCall Parks and Recreation Director Kurt Wolf said..

The work will build a boardwalk about 1,100 feet long and 10 feet wide over wetlands on the southern side of Wooley Avenue. It is expected to be complete by June 30, Wolf said.

The east end will connect to the Spring Mountain Pathway, which was built last summer, on the east side of Spring Mountain Boulevard. The west end will connect back to Wooley Avenue at Denali Court.

Several measures to preserve the wetlands will be required as part of a permit the city had to obtain from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Wolf said.

The boardwalk will be elevated 30 inches off the ground and two “bump-outs” for educational exhibits on wetlands will be included.

The city will also add planted areas to promote pollination and plant diversity to help reduce disturbances to the wetlands.

About $315,000 for the work will be funded from the city’s capital improvement fund. The remaining $45,000 will be funded by the Spring Mountain Ranch Homeowners Association, which also funded $5,000 for preliminary engineering.

Wooley Avenue from Denali Court to Davis Avenue will continue to function as a shared road between motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists until that section of pathway is built.

That section will likely be built in conjunction with repairs to Wooley Avenue, but that portion of the work has not been scheduled, Wolf said.

Valley County Pathways appreciates the support of the McCall City Council in approving this much-needed project. Congrats to McCall Parks and Recreation Director Kurt Wolf, a VCP board member, for his leadership on this project.  

North Valley Trail is a great place to go xc skiing, snowshoeing and snow biking

The North Valley Trail is groomed on a regular basis for xc skiing, snowshoeing and snow biking. You can park at the Activity Barn and do a loop around the Activity Barn xc trails and go out-and-back on the North Valley Trail.

For the latest conditions on all of the Nordic trails in the greater McCall area, go to McCall Nordic.

The trail also can be accessed from the southern trailhead on Heinrich Lane, near the junction with Nisula. There are many neighborhood connections as well.

At this point, there is no charge to use the North Valley Trail or Activity Barn trails in the winter.

The grooming for the North Valley Trail is done by a volunteer, so we appreciate any financial contributions to help cover our expenses — things like fuel, equipment maintenance and insurance.

To contribute to Valley County Pathways, see our donate page.

 

 

 

 

Please support Valley County Pathways for Idaho Gives

VCP board members Damon Yerkes, Dwight Jividen and Andy Olavarria on The Strand in Cascade.

Those of us with Valley County Pathways have always dreamed that we could build a pathway network that matched the grandeur of the scenery in Long Valley, between Cascade and McCall.

Help us connect our communities with pathways that wind through our favorite places. Help us provide a conduit for our residents and visitors to enjoy an outdoor outing for fitness and recreation, or perhaps a pleasant commute to work, shop or dine out. Help us enjoy our pathways together as one community.

You can help us realize that goal by giving to Valley County Pathways as part of Idaho Gives. We are a bonafide nonprofit organization, and we’d appreciate your support!

We are suggesting contributions of $10, $25 and $100 for Idaho Gives.

The money will go toward our $800/year liability insurance policy, trail planning studies, new trail construction, trailhead kiosks, maps, signage and more.

We are working together with the West Central Mountains Economic Development Council,  Mountain Central Association of Realtors and the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) on a singletrack feasibility study this spring/summer on our key pathway corridors between McCall and Cascade. If some of the routes are feasible, we want to move swiftly into trail development!

We’ve been busy!

Valley County Pathway’s key milestones include:

  • Widening bike lanes on Warren Wagon Road as part of Federal Highways Administration plans to repave a 5.5-mile section of the road in 2018 and 2019. McCall area citizens rallied to public meetings and made their voices heard on the bike lane issue.
  • Extension of the Crown Point Trail by ¼ mile in each direction through a donation of real property from the Putman Family to Valley County Pathways.
  • Creation of the North Valley Trail from River Ranch to Heinrich Lane via property donations and easements. The trail has been operational since 2007 and new pieces and improvements have been added since that time.
  • Creation of the Strand in Cascade, a 2-mile trail that runs along the North Fork of the Payette River from the south bridge to the Water’s Edge RV park.
  • Creation of the Boulder Creek Trail in Donnelly through the donation of property by Hugh and Georgia Ann Fulton and a substantial grant from the Boise National Forest Resource Advisory Council (RAC). The trail opened in 2012.
  • Linking up groomed cross-country ski trails from the Activity Barn to the North Valley Trail for xc skiing, snowshoeing and fat biking, working with Brundage Mountain Resort.
  • Creating a new pathways master plan that was approved in 2017 by Valley County Planning & Zoning and the Valley County Commisisoners. The plan includes a master plan map, outlining existing and proposed pathway corridors along with xc ski trails, water trails and key public trailheads in Valley County and Adams County.
  • Improved highway signage pointing out pathway trailheads to motorists and tourists visiting the valley.

Milestones accomplished by our partner organizations:
• Substantial update of the McCall Area Pathways Master Plan in 2012.
• Creation of the Donnelly Pathways Master Plan in 2014 with an emphasis on creating pathway corridors that tie together between Donnelly and Lake Cascade.
• Creation of the Cascade Bike and Pedestrian Plan in 2015.• Development of a new, detached pedestrian pathway from the City of McCall to Bear Basin Road (summer use only at this time).

Let’s work together to develop a world-class pathway system in Valley County! Please tell your friends!

Many thanks!

– Steve Stuebner with Valley County Pathways

 

Join us for a group ride on Opening Day for Trails

Join us for an “Opening Day of Trails” event on Saturday, April 28 in McCall.

There will be a group bike ride starting at 2 p.m. next to McCall City Hall on McCall Pathways heading out to the North Valley Rail-Trail. It’s a 10-mile ride out and back. Walkers and trail-runners are welcome to join. Refreshments will be served afterwards. The Opening Day of Trails event coincides with the National Rails to Trails Opening Day of Trails event for hundreds of rail-trails across America.

VCP officials will be clearing the North Valley Rail-Trail of snow prior to the event to ensure there is a way through shady areas on the way out to Heinrich Lane.

For more information, contact Steve Stuebner, 208-484-0295, sstuebner@cableone.net, or Lida Clouser, brno@frontiernet.net, 208-630-3358 or go to www.valleycountypathways.org

New IMBA feasibility study on singletrack trails is super-exciting!

This story ran in the Idaho Business Review recently. Reprinted with permission.

 Mountain bikers at Brundage Mountain near McCall.

A bicycle trail connecting the Valley County towns of McCall, Donnelly, and Cascade is one step closer thanks to a grant to help determine its feasibility. The study is slated for spring, and the trail could be completed by as early as next summer.

Valley County Pathways has been working to develop bike trails in the area over decommissioned rail lines, but was stymied because private property owners have been using that land and didn’t provide recreation access, said board vice president Steve Stuebner.  “We realized we would need to look at other corridors as our highest priority,” he said.

Instead, the organization started considering a narrow singletrack pathway for biking along the right-of-way of existing county roads. This is where the feasibility study comes in, because the area gets a lot of water with snowmelt and there are drainage ditches along the roads. Also, the extent of the county right-of-way isn’t clear, Stuebner said. So with a $15,000 grant from the National Association of Realtors, awarded in October, as well as some matching funds, Valley County Pathways is working with the International Mountain Biking Association, or IMBA, to determine whether the project is workable.

Although the IMBA is doing the work, the proposed trail won’t be limited to mountain bikers, Stuebner said. “Our whole vision for that Valley County pedestrian pathways is this should be open to anybody, at any level – walkers, runners, bicyclists, potentially horseback riding,” he said. A similar system, the North Valley Rail Trail near McCall, has been developed for winter use such as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing as well, he said.

The city of Cascade, Kelly’s Whitewater Park and Valley County Pathways are working on a 12-foot pathway that extends for 2.25 miles along the Payette River between Water’s Edge RV Park and Fisher Pond Park, according to the Valley County Pathways website.

A singletrack trail accommodates one bike; a doubletrack trail has two parallel tracks and can be used by four-wheeled vehicles. “It’s a dirt, meandering single track,” said Andrew Mentzer, executive director of the West Central Mountains Economic Development Council, a nonprofit regional economic planning body for the west central mountains, including Valley County and Meadows Valley in Adams County. Mentzer’s group suggested the idea for the trail. Typically, such tracks are functional for about five months of the year, from June through October, outside of winter and “mud season,” he said.

While there are some singletrack trails in the Boise foothills, in Sun Valley, and in the mountains around Tamarack, “to do it on the valley floor is really a brand-new concept,” said Stuebner. Singletrack is considerably cheaper than other alternatives, and a track built specifically for mountain biking is more exciting. “Folks like IMBA can build in some cool trail flow features to make the riding experience more interesting for people – bank corners, little jumps,” he said.

On the other hand, a trail in the valley floor is going to be easier for people than a trail on the mountain where there are rocks and roots to contend with, Stuebner said. “It’s a base on which you start,” he explained. “Then they can build their skills and go from there.”

The grant was put together by the Mountain Central Association of Realtors, according to president Cory Corbet, a realtor at Century 21. “We liked the concept of getting more trail systems for bikes, and connecting communities from Donnelly, Cascade, and McCall, and making it a trail-friendly venue,” she said. “We were excited to hear they had this feasibility study they were doing.”

The singletrack system is a great benefit to the community, especially to people who want to commute between the towns via bicycle, said Corbet, who said she is a bike rider herself. Donnelly is about 13 miles from each of McCall and Cascade, she said, adding that the trail would also be a perfect venue for electric-assist bikes as well.

IMBA will take about four days to identify routes and drainage patterns, then a few weeks to produce the actual study, Mentzer said. “You could see us getting underway on construction within days of getting approval from the county,” he said. “It could be 2019, it could be this summer.”

 

North Valley Trail is freshly groomed and ready for winter xc ski season!

Wendy Wilson on classic xc skis on the North Valley Trail

We received some timely new snow prior to the Christmas-New Years holiday, just in time to get the xc ski trails in the McCall area groomed for the public to enjoy.

There’s about 5+ miles of xc ski trails to explore south of McCall, starting at the Activity Barn and going out the North Valley Rail-Trail to Heinrich Lane. The trails are open to xc skiing, snowshoeing and snow-biking. There is no charge to use the trails. You can ski or ride a big loop in the snow-covered pastures by the Activity Barn, and then do an out-and-back experience on the North Valley Trail.

I snow-biked the full length of both trails on Saturday, Dec. 30, and the trails were nice and firm for snow-biking and all of the other activities. I saw people xc skiing, snow-biking, snow-shoeing and boot hiking. Everyone had a smile on their face on a sunny bluebird day with temperatures just below freezing. Pretty much ideal!

While you’re out by the Activity Barn, consider adding to the fun quotient by going tubing or sign up for a sleigh ride. 

We sure appreciate our volunteer snow-groomer who grooms the North Valley Trail on a regular basis. Donations are encouraged and appreciated to take care of grooming costs, fuel and upkeep. People can donate on our web site or send a contribution by mail, P.O. Box 233
McCall, ID 83638. All contributions are tax-deductible.

Thank you! Happy Trails!

Steve Stuebner with Valley County Pathways

Thanks to all for Mountain Pathways Celebration

20170805_104932Hi all,

We had a successful event on Saturday, Aug. 5th even though we awoke to dark, smoky skies in McCall. We appreciate everyone who participated, and also everyone who volunteered for the event and our event sponsors and co-sponsors.

First, a big thank you to St. Lukes-McCall and McCall Parks & Recreation for co-sponsoring the event. Lyle Nelson and Kurt Wolf were instrumental in planning the event, and Erin Roper put a polished touch on our event poster.

Thanks to Midas Gold for sponsoring the Harlow’s bus shuttle, and to Idaho First Bank for sponsoring the McCall Party Rentals Bounce House. Our bus driver, Christy, donated her time after working the event. She did a great job! We also want to thank Albertson’s in McCall for donating food and water bottles.

20170805_104204We had awesome volunteers at our aid stations along the 5-mile course on the North Valley Trail and McCall City Pathways. Thank you to our aid station volunteers!

At Mile 1, McCall Parks & Recreation.

At Mile 2, Melanie Holmes of Remax Realty and Sherry Maupin of Idaho First Bank volunteered at the River Ranch location. Both of these professional women are very busy and stretched to the limit, but they still came out to support pathways.

At Mile 3,  Michele Crester, manager of the McCall Activity Barn, regaled participants as they passed by the tubing hill, which is a beautiful tall-grass pasture for cattle in the summertime.

At Mile 5, Brett Shepherd from Tamarack Resort and Cindy Lee greeted folks as they disembarked the bus shuttle and started their journey into McCall.

This was a fund-raising event, and we made most of the funds from quality items donated for our raffle.

20170805_105006A big thank you to all of the businesses that donated items for the raffle:

  • Hala Hoss SUP $1,100.00 value, donated by River Gear, a paddle and bike shop in Cascade, owned by Damon Yerkes, a long-time VCP board member and treasurer
  • YETI cooler, $199 value from May Hardware
  • Cheap Thrills ½ day Wave-Runner rental $175 value
  • Four passes to open skating at Manchester Ice Center
  • Two gift certificates for three movie rentals at Sunset Video
  • Two ½-day SUP rental from McCall Sports Exchange
  • Two $25 G.C.’s to McCall Jewelry
  • Lift tickets to Tamarack Resort
  • Ski tune and lesson packages from Kurt Wolf
  • Full-day mountain bike rental from Gravity Sports

20170805_105301We also want to thank Hometown Sports for bicycle maintenance support at the event.

Volunteers who worked the Start/Finish area included Wendy Wilson, Kurt Wolf, Lyle Nelson, Steve Stuebner, Andrew Mentzer, Genny Mentzerske, and we had a great D.J., Dayna Kunkel, who played upbeat music all morning.

It will take a broad-based community-wide effort to build a valley-wide pathways system in Valley County! The same kind of community spirit that prevailed during our event will give us strength to move ahead!

Best, Steve Stuebner
Valley County Pathways