Join Us!

New Heinrich Demonstration Trail is 90% complete

Alex Ray with Payette Environmental makes the initial rough cut for the Heinrich Demo Trail.

Alex Ray with Payette Environmental in McCall created the new Heinrich Demonstration Trail over the last two weeks, and then we capped it off with a successful volunteer work day on Saturday, Nov. 7 in partnership with the Central Idaho Mountain Biking Association.

We’d like to thank all of our 25+ volunteers for coming out for the productive work day~! We were blessed with cool and foggy weather in the morning and early afternoon for the work day, and then it started to rain and snow in the afternoon, leaving about 3 inches on the ground Sunday morning. The timing couldn’t have been better!

CIMBA president Wayne Ruemmelle, left, and VCP Donnelly board member Brett Shepherd bring rock to the turnpike with wheelbarrows to raise the level of the trail over a bog.

We’re going to let the trail compact under the snow this winter and put the finishing touches on it next spring, likely in May or after the valley melts out.

Alex did a super job on cutting in the trail with a mini-excavator, creating a smooth and firm trail surface that’s about three feet wide at the moment. Our volunteers raked the upslope and the downslope of the trail, so water and runoff will drain into the ditch below. Some seeding will be needed to prevent weeds from moving in next year.

Volunteers put finishing touches on the turnpike structure.

Alex also led a group of about 10 volunteers to build a “turnpike” on the trail, a raised trail surface with base rock,  beefy 12-inch diameter timbers, fill dirt and fabric to provide a place for the trail to cross over a boggy spot. That was a big job for that team of volunteers!

Many thanks to our friends with CIMBA  for coming out to help with the work day and provide trail tools for our volunteers. Wyatt Albright with In-Motion Performance Bike Service brought out the CIMBA trailer and a pop-up shelter for the day. He provided a much-needed safety and orientation talk for everyone before we got started, including being safe about covid. People wore masks if there were in close proximity.

Volunteers do upslope and downslope finishing work on the trail

Steve Stuebner with VCP talked about our long-range plan to build 70 miles of singletrack sidewalks valley-wide to connect our communities, enhance health and fitness, provide pedestrian commuting corridors, and improve our economy.

Speaking of which, we want to thank our board member Andrew Mentzer and the West Central Mountains Economic Development Council for funding a portion of the trail-construction cost for the Heinrich Demo Trail.

We are quite excited about seeing the first of many singletrack sidewalk projects come to fruition with the Heinrich Demo Trail. It’s nearly a mile long, running from the south end of the North Valley Rail Trail to Norwood on the north side of Heinrich Lane. It will provide a safe place for people to walk, run, bike or ride horseback in a country setting.

Please stay tuned for our grand opening next spring! We may be auctioning off the chance to be the first person to ride the trail!

If you’d like to donate to VCP, go here.

Thank you!

Lunch break! Thanks to the Albertson’s store in McCall for making sack lunches for our volunteers and providing a $50 discount!

Volunteer Work Day set for Saturday Nov. 7

The event flier pretty captures the information about our volunteer work day scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 7. We are looking for 35 volunteers to help buff out the trail.

If you’d like to help, you can sign up for a morning or afternoon shift! Please RSVP for the event at this link:

Many thanks to our partners in putting together this event! Alex Ray of Payette Environmental will be supervising volunteers. The Central Idaho Mountain Biking Association (CIMBA) is providing their tools and helping with outreach, and the Idaho Interscholastic Cycling League and McCall Area Composite Mountain Bike team will be providing volunteers.

We’re planning on doing the trail work no matter what the weather brings that day. Dress warm!

Please contact Steve Stuebner with VCP if you have questions,, 208-484-0295.

See you there!

VCP volunteers building the Boulder Creek boardwalk in Donnelly.


Heinrich Demo trail approved by Valley County Commissioners

All of our trails are being built with our children and future generations in mind.

Many thanks to our trail supporters for sending in letters of support for the Heinrich Demonstration Trail. On Monday, we presented the trail proposal to the Valley County Commission, and following a one-hour public hearing, the Demo trail was passed by a 3-0 vote. Yay!

Commissioner Dave Bingamin made the motion to approve the trail, Commissioner Sherry Maupin seconded the motion, and Commission Chairman Elt Hasbrouck voted in favor to make it unanimous.

We are making a few tweaks to the draft MOU between Valley County and VCP required for the project to finalize the approval next week. We hope to start construction on the Demo trail this fall.

We’d also like to thank Andrew Mentzer and the West Central Mountains Economic Development Council (WCMEDC) for their key supporting role in the whole pathways effort. The WCMEDC worked to raise $40,000 for the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) feasibility study on our singletrack sidewalks plan, and WCMEDC was a key supporter of the VCP Master Plan major update in 2017. Andrew worked directly with Valley County on developing the Singletrack Sidewalks ordinance, approved in February 2020. It takes a team effort!

Here’s an editorial from the McCall Star-News, endorsing our approach to building a series of singletrack sidewalks throughout the valley to connect our communities, provide a safe place for our children and people to walk, run or bike to school, promote health and fitness, and economic development.

Editorial: Singletracks blaze the way to more paths
(From the Star-News, Oct. 1)

Singletrack pathways are the future of recreation in Valley County, and county officials should be praised for allowing them to happen.

This week, Valley County commissioners approved a demonstration project that will see a 4,000-foot trail developed along the north side of Heinrich Lane between the southern trailhead of the North Valley Trail and Norwood Road.

The project is unique because of its simplicity. Previously, the vision of recreational planners was to build paved, eight-foot-wide, separated pathways to accommodate walkers, joggers and bicyclists. But the costs of such pathways have become staggering, at $100,000 to $250,000 per mile. Singletrack paths are the low-tech version of separated pathways and they work as well or better than their more sophisticated cousins and only cost $25,000 to $53,000 per mile.

The singletracks are two to three feet wide and are carved out of the available public rights-of-way running along county roads. These are basic dirt trails that make productive use out of rights-of-way that do little more than grow weeds. They provide a safe and inviting amenity to the growing numbers of mountain bike riders who live in or visit the area. The Heinrich Lane project will show singletrack pathways are compatible with the adjacent land uses and set the stage for more paths.

The concept is the brainchild of Valley County Pathways, the nonprofit group that developed the North Valley Trail, which runs 3.5 miles south of McCall from River Ranch to Heinrich Lane and which is growing each year in popularity. The group envisions building about 70 miles of singletrack pathways throughout the valley to connect McCall, Donnelly and Cascade, even linking as far as New Meadows and the Weiser River Trail.

Singletrack trails are a cheap and easy way to expand an important segment of the local resort economy. They may not be fancy, but they get the job done, and should be encouraged wherever Valley County Pathways wants to put them.



VCP proposes 4,000 singletrack sidewalk DEMO trail

Hi all,

Valley County Pathways is proposing to build a 4,000-foot demonstration trail along the north side of Heinrich Lane in the county right of way corridor, from the southern trailhead of the North Valley Trail to the junction of Norwood Road and Heinrich Lane.

Under the guidelines set forth in the Valley County Singletrack Sidewalks ordinance, approved earlier this year, we have submitted a written proposal to Valley County Planning & Zoning for the demonstration trail, several maps, and a construction plan.

Valley County P&Z has scheduled a public hearing on our proposal at 2 p.m., Monday, Sept. 28.

Purpose and Need: The purpose of the Heinrich demonstration trail would be to create a singletrack sidewalk demonstration trail at the southern end of the existing North Valley Trail to give trail users a chance to experience a singletrack sidewalk trail on foot or on a bike. We also are open to trying out the trail for horseback riding in this section.

At a bigger-picture level, Valley County Pathways envisions building about 70 miles of singletrack sidewalks throughout Long Valley to connect our communities, from Cascade to McCall, with a link to New Meadows so trail users could connect to the Weiser River Trail. The trails will have recreation, health and fitness, transportation (commuting) and economic benefits to the community.

The demo trail would be a natural surface trail with a width of 24-36 inches. If approved, VCP would work with trail professionals to build a sustainable trail.

Please send a letter of support to Valley Count Planning and Zoning if you’d like to support VCP with this proposal. Thank you!

Steve Stuebner, Board Vice President
Valley County Pathways


Many thanks for investing in our trails during Idaho Gives!

Thanks for your support! Our kids and future generations will benefit from our hard work in building, expanding and maintaining our trail systems.

We are so thankful to our community for supporting Valley County Pathways during the 2020 Idaho Gives campaign!

We exceeded our $5,000 goal by raising about $11,010 during Idaho Gives with 85 donors investing in new trails on the basis of $5/foot. These are new records for Valley County Pathways!

Thank you!!!!

We would like to recognize our donors for their support and generosity:

Contributions of more than $1,000:

Ron Nahas, the Schwab Charitable Fund

Contributions of more than $100: 

Augusta Laidlaw, Robert and Kitty Looper, Sherry Maupin, Gail and Bruce Rankin, Alan Hamilton and Mary Nielsen, Brent and Jacque Simmons, and Jim and Jole Voulelis.

$100 contributions: 

James and Tiffany Dobbs, Steve Stuebner, Andrew Mentzer, Joe and Linda Sirani, Scott and Patty Hall, Joyce and Scott Hayley, Marjorie Chase, William Gehrke, Judy and Jim Balkins, Caroline Valle, Fred Novy, Cary Hattabaugh and Sam Sandmire, Brett Shepherd, Steve and Ruth Schneider, Jim and Jean Giuffre, Lida and Todd Clouser, Dean and Kim Martin, Joanne and Chris Sours, Michael McEntee, Carolyn Wood, Maggie Rosenthal, Jennifer Waskow, Shirley Olen, Ian Atkinson, Barbara Waldo, Cahill and Susan Jones, Charles Pegan and Michael van Altena.

$10-$99 contributions:

Sharon Hudson, Jentry Hull, Maggie and Bob Gamble, Wendy Wilson, Kim Binder, Denise DeCoster, Paul Bomber, John Wheaton, Cynthia Gibson, Deanna Warner, Jayme Gamble, Ken Rider, Robyn Mick, Marc and Carole de Jong, Rebecca Hurd, Chris and Adele Caputo, Maura Goldstein, Andrea Lingle, Don and Pam Sanda, Ted Klinkenberg, Kimberly Tidwell, Lee Gilbert, Robert Ginkel, Amy Pugsley, Elizabeth Thomas, Jeff Cross, John Watkins, Leslie Freeman, Sherry Scheline, Pat Blanchard, Katherine Farmer, Karen Byrne, Steve Jones, Cindy Jones, Karen Anglea, Gregg Lawley, Amanda and Gary Thompson, Mary Tracey, Douglas Wood, Michelle and Scott Reagan, Jeri and Glenda Newman, Richard Cogan, Stephanie Day, Denise Thompson, Jim Fitzgerald, Karl Johnson, Cindy Bastian, Earl Dodds, Mary and Rocky Bogert, and Elise Giddings.

We will keep you informed as we work on the next steps on our trail projects in the valley to connect our communities from Cascade to New Meadows.

Again, thank you for contributing to Valley County Pathways!  


Invest in singletrack sidewalks for Idaho Gives!

For Idaho Gives in 2020, we’re asking you to invest in the future of our trails/pathways in Valley County by buying several feet of singletrack sidewalks for $5/foot.

You can buy two feet for $10, 5 feet for $25, 10 feet for $50 and 20 feet for $100. Or give any amount you’re comfortable with.

Our trail projects will include:

1. Carefree Subdivision to McCall Middle School – 5 miles
2. End of North Valley Trail on Heinrich Lane to Norwood, and Norwood to Donnelly – 10+ miles
3. Town to Beach Flyway in Donnelly – 1.3 miles
4. Extending the Strand in Cascade to the north bridge and paving the dirt section – .5 miles

Overall, the trail mileage adds up to about 20 miles (105,600 feet) of new paths that will connect our communities – that’s only about 10 feet per resident! At $5 per foot to build, we could complete this construction phase with an average donation of $50 per person! Will you join us in bringing this vision to life?

Valley County Pathways has a county-approved master plan to build more than 70 miles of trails around the valley to connect Cascade, Donnelly, Lake Fork, McCall and New Meadows. We also want to connect to popular tourism destinations like Brundage Mountain, Jug Mountain Ranch, Tamarack Resort and Gold Fork Hot Springs. Thank you for supporting Valley County Pathways!


Outdoor tips during COVID-19 pandemic

Our trails in Valley County are open and available for public use — still mostly snow-covered, depending on location — but please observe proper #social-distancing guidelines when you are out on the trails. That means respecting others by providing at least 6 feet of space when you pass people on the trail. If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home!

Valley County government has issued guidelines to underscore Governor Brad Little’s Stay-at-Home order. See link to Channel 7 report on Valley County guidelines. The bottom line is, don’t come to Valley County if you are not a full-time resident. Second-home owners and tourists are being told to stay away during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please respect their wishes.

See Valley County web page on COVID-19.

Plenty of elbow room on the North Valley Trail

The North Valley Trail in McCall, Boulder Creek Trail in Donnelly and The Strand in Cascade are all available for public use. Cross-country skis, snowshoes or boot-hiking is best right now depending on snow conditions. Locals also have been crust-cruising in the mornings after a hard freeze.

Please stay safe during these difficult times! Thank you!

Snow-biking and dog run at Jug Mountain Ranch … Jug Mountain Reservoir is still frozen for now … (courtesy Gary Kucy)



Join us for full-moon xc ski & snowshoe events Sat., Feb. 8

Please join us for two, fun full-moon tours this Saturday, Feb. 8. Two events are happening in the bookends of Long Valley — one on Cabarton-area xc trails at the Hasbrouck Ranch, south of Cascade, starting at 5:30 p.m., and another starting at the Activity Barn trailhead for the North Valley Trail in McCall, starting at 6 p.m. Participants are encouraged to bring head lamps and ski or snowshoe the trails in the moonlight. Trail side soups, breads, desserts and hot drinks will be provided. Donations are encouraged to support the Cascade Nordic program and cover grooming costs. 

At the Activity Barn trailhead for the North Valley Trail, south of McCall, we’ll have cookies, snacks and hot chocolate for participants. Please bring a headlamp in case you need it. Sometimes it’s best to leave the lights off under a full moon. We’ll lead a tour of the North Valley Trail and Activity Barn trails while enjoying a full moon. Bring your cross-country skis or snowshoes. There is no trail fee, but donations to Valley County Pathways to cover grooming costs are encouraged. 

See you there!  

North Valley Trail is groomed, perfect for xc skiing, snow-biking and snowshoeing

Our volunteer groomer, Todd Clouser, enjoys the North Valley Trail on skate skis on a December afternoon.

The North Valley Trail is perfectly groomed and in great shape for xc skiing, snow-biking and snowshoeing for the winter of 2019-2020. Just in time for the Christmas holiday!

The trailhead is located south of McCall by the Activity Barn. There’s ample parking for everyone. There’s about 5 miles of trails to enjoy in the area at no charge. The North Valley Trail is rated easy for all abilities. The trails on the hills next to the Activity Barn are rated moderate to strenuous.

Please see the latest grooming report on the North Valley Trail and Activity Barn Nordic trails via McCall Nordic.

We want to thank our partners for improving your experience on the North Valley Trail and Activity Barn Nordic trails. The McCall Rotary Club gave us a grant to make the trail kiosk possible at the Activity Barn trailhead. Todd Clouser built the kiosk for us, donating his professional workmanship. And the Idaho Power Company allowed the development of the trailhead parking area out by Heinrich Lane, about 3 miles from the Activity Barn. That way, people can park on the north or the south end of the North Valley Trail, and ski 3 miles out and 3 miles back.

Trailhead for the North Valley Trail by the Activity Barn, south of McCall.

We also want to thank our partners at Brundage Mountain Resort for working together with us on the Nordic trail system and providing extra parking. Take some time to go tubing with your family at the Activity Barn. They also have hot drinks and snacks.

We hope you enjoy the North Valley Trail and Activity Barn Nordic Trails, and consider donating to Valley County Pathways to help cover our grooming costs and long-range, valley-wide trail-development plan. Thanks!

– Steve Stuebner

Singletrack Sidewalks draft ordinance passes Valley County P&Z

Example of singletrack sidewalk. (Courtesy IMBA)

It was a late night, but the Valley County Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously to approve an ordinance update to allow for non-motorized pedestrian and cycling trails to be constructed next to public roads. The draft ordinance will go before the county commissioners soon.

Thanks to everyone who wrote letters of the support and attended the meeting!

The new trails would be “singletrack sidewalks” to provide for a safer place for pedestrians and cyclists to travel off the main road. The overall goal is to connect all of our communities in Long Valley and connect to New Meadows and the Weiser River Trail. The trails will have health, fitness and recreation benefits for all of the region’s residents and visitors, at no cost or obligation to the taxpayer.

Andrew Mentzer with the West Central Mountains Economic Development Council, Steve Stuebner with Valley County Pathways and other VCP board members have spent the last year doing extensive  community outreach to gauge public support for singletrack sidewalks.

We’ve also asked for people’s thoughts on their favorite pathway corridors, which areas should receive the highest-priority for development, identifying funding opportunities and building partnerships. The International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) verified the plan.

The West Central Mountain Economic Development Council co-created the plan and fund-raised for planning this initiative. Countless volunteer hours from our board and partners has gotten us this far. Thanks to all who have helped out!

You can help to make these trails a realty too. Please consider making a donation today Valley County Pathways!

-Andrew Mentzer