Friends of Pathways has a formal partnership with the USFS to collaborate on design, construction and stewardship of local trails for all users – hike, bike, horse, and ski. We’re committed to providing easy year round access to trails that is essential to maintaining our high quality of life in Jackson Hole.
Things are going smoothly in the forest, signs are getting installed, volunteer groups are helping with turnpikes, and the trails are in good shape. It seems like a good time to do a “meet the trail crew” segment this week to introduce you to the hardworking folks that keep the trails in good shape. Pictured top left to bottom right are Tim, Sam, Mike, Owen, Isaac, Kate, Sarah, Jade, Matt, Trevor, Erica, Celeste, Cory, Chris, Isan, Trevor, ChrisP, Randy, Walt, and Mike. The crew is a mix of 2 full time Friends of Pathways workers, 7 FOP Youth Trail Crew, 3 jointly employed FOP/USFS ambassadors, and 8 USFS full time crew members. These are the hard working trail dogs that clear all the trees, clean all the waterbars, fix all the tread, brush cut all the line of sight, build all the turnpikes, install all the signage, and work with hundreds of volunteers each summer on the Jackson Ranger District. Fun fact about the crews, they are notorious for naming their tools. Uncle Ed the Pulaski, Zeus the Chainsaw, Shabazz Napier the MCleod, Mr. Green Jeans the Rake, Gandolf the Pole Saw, and Rick James the Truck just to give a few examples. Say hi to them next time you see them out on the trails and remember they always like finding cookies and lemonade in the back of the USFS truck when they get back from a long day of trail work!
This week the crew dodged some hail storms while working on the Skyline trail with the Montana Conservation Corps. The MCC crew finished their 8 day hitch and helped to narrow and improve 1.2 miles of tread on the eastern end of the Skyline ridge. The youth crew had a big day on the Ski Lake trail clearing 104 drainage features and several large trees between the lake and the ridge. We also installed 22 more of the new trail signs around Snow King, we will get more out next week and then have several volunteer groups in August who should help us finish the Snow King area trails. A note about these signs, they are part of a several year project to map and define USFS system trails, and match with the town and county signs on roads and pathways to help people seamlessly navigate from their homes to an adventure in the forest and back safely. They are all labeled, numbered, and gps’ed for Teton County Search and Rescue to better locate any injured trail users. That being said, be safe out on the trails this weekend so you don’t need to call our friends at TCSAR.
Signs! Our new trail signs for the Snow King area trails arrived and we started installing them this week. They include maps and directions with mileages as well as education messages for good trail etiquette. Look for them to be installed over the next few weeks! Crews also cleared Black Canyon, Skyline, West Game, Ferrins, and Hagen this week removing 31 trees that fell in the storm last Sunday night. Monday evening we had a joint volunteer day with Mountain Bike the Tetons and the Teton Freedom Riders and had 12 volunteers show up to work on the section of Black Canyon from the top of Teton Pass to Mt. Elly. The youth crew spent a day killing musk thistle on the Shade Monkey trail then closed and rehabbed some short cut trails in the Hagen Highway area. Crews were able to clear the culvert at Crater Lake that was clogged stopping the water from running up and over the road. There is also a crew from the Montana Conservation Corps who have been camping and working on the western half of the Skyline trail all week. They are doing an amazing job and said if anybody wants to bring them cookies over the weekend they wouldn’t turn them down. See you out on the trails!
Big week on the trails with lots of folks out enjoying the holiday weekend. The crew spent Monday prepping for the Montana Conservation Corp crew which gets here next week to work on the center section of the Skyline trail. This meant moving twelve – 40 pound “cubies” of water up 1.5 miles up to the Coors Light saddle (the mid way saddle on the western climb of Skyline, named for the discarded beverage of choice left behind at an old hunting camp we found there). A big thanks to Engine 441 from the USFS for helping with this. We then worked the trail from the Cache Game divide down to the bridge on Cache Creek, fixing tread, rock raking, and improving water bars. We also added big rocks to the section of the Cache Trail where the river was washing out. We saw ~70 bikers, hikers, and runners on the Skyline, Cache, and Game trails. The crew also finished the reroute in Game Creek around 3 seeps and rehabbed the muddy mess. The Operation Purple military group from Teton Science School came and helped at Wildlife Lane on Thursday. 46 hard working volunteers built a short reroute to bring the Linda’s and Wildlife Lane trails to 1 junction point on the KC trail. They also rehabbed the old trails and opened up the line of sight at the junction. We also hosted another group from TSS that helped us to close and rehab an old alternate trail in the Sink or Swim area that was unsustainable. The Youth Crew then moved into Tank Top Thursday and prepped the slab for the new bike locker storage at Stilson. All in all a fun week with great help from volunteers. If you would like the opportunity to volunteer come out Monday from 4-8 to the joint volunteer day with MBT and TFR on the Black Canyon trail from Teton Pass to Mount Elly.
All the trails on Snow King, Teton Pass, and Munger are open including Skyline! Crews had a busy week doing maintenance on turnpikes on the History Trail and removing a 60 inch diameter Douglas Fir that had fallen over the winter. Then they worked with a volunteer groups from Teton Science School to remove invasive species in Game Creek including Musk Thistle and Houndstongue. Crews also worked on a reroute around several seeps on the Game Creek singletrack. We had a chance to work with the USFS River Rangers to make an evac trail near the 3 Oar Deal rapid and brush cut the overgrown first mile of Cabin Creek. Finally we finished of the week by clearing 62 trees off of the Skyline Trail which is now open! The wildflowers are beautiful up there right now so hopefully you get a chance to go for a hike or a ride up there this holiday weekend.
Crews continued to get after it this week with 78 trees cleared off of the Wilson Canyon, Ridge, Arrow, Ski Lake, and Phillip’s Pass trails and 132 drainage features cleaned or installed on West Game, Hagen Highway, and Putt Putt. The pass is close to being open with only the upper reaches of Blacks, Lithium, History, Ski Lake, and Phillip’s Pass still above the snow line. A few wind drifts are lingering down lower in the shade but are easily passable. A big thanks to Walt, ChrisP, and the Engine 441 crew for their help with trees this week and to the Youth Trail Crew for all of the drainage work. We will be moving over to Game Creek next week to fix several muddy messes caused by new seeps this spring. Hope everyone enjoys the nice weather this weekend!
Teton Pass is melting out slowly but surely. Most of the south side trails are in good shape except for upper Blacks, Lithium, and History trail which remain in the snow zone. The north side trails have patchy snow but are passable. Ski Lake has intermittent snow up to the Phillip’s Pass junction and the Arrow, Snotel, Ridge loop has been cleared of trees and the trail is ~50% free of snow. Good for people on foot but not so much for bikes or horses. The BPA road however is almost entirely free of snow and lets you connect to the lower Ridge Trail which is cleared and snow free. Snow King and the Munger Mountain trails are all in good shape and crews addressed many of the water problems from last weeks run off. There were a few new trees down from the storms last week so if you see any blocking the trails let us know and we’ll get them cleared for you!
The trail word of the week is High Water! Use caution when crossing creeks and inspect bridges before crossing. In particular Bridge 3 in Cache Creek has water flowing over it, and the Crater and Lower History bridges broke under heavy winter snow load. The trails are holding up well in spite of this with only a few scattered seeps and some damage from creeks flowing onto the trail itself. The crews have been working hard to divert water off the trails back into the creeks, saving the day on Phillip’s Canyon, Blacks, West Game, Game, and Wilson Canyon to name a few. More good news, all of Snow King is open and cleared with the exception a few trees we left at the top of Wilson Canyon just before the wash out to slow people down. The Skyline Trail remains closed until July 1 for elk calving, please respect this closure. Teton Pass is opening up too with good options being Big Rocks, Lower History, Crater, and Black Canyon for the first 2.5 miles. Parallel and the Jumps Trail are dry although Jimmy’s still has some snow and muddy spots. Phillip’s Canyon is clear almost to the Arrow junction and the Ridge Trail is good up to the switchbacks just below rock world. The Ridge would be my recommendation for an out and back adventure this weekend. Remember to tag any problems you see on the trails with #jhtrails as a quick way to let us know where we should go work next week!
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PO Box 2062
20 East Simpson
Jackson, WY 83001
Friends of Pathways supports a vibrant community by promoting sustainable transportation and healthy recreation in Jackson Hole.