This week the crew worked on rebenching some switchbacks on the Ferrin’s Trail and breaking off the corner of the Ferrin’s Rock.  After a hearing more stories of bike crashes there (handlebars are getting wider right?) and having to try and shore up the half bench trail that dips under the rock on a steep side hill several times over the last few years we finally let loose the raw energy of the youth trail crew on it.  Turns out a half dozen people sledge hammering on a boulder can break off a foot or two of rock in a few hours.  The crew then reenforced the cribbing and leveled the trail out with all the rubble and dirt so the whole corner is much more sustainable now.

The crew then moved to a section of braided trail on the KC trail and closed and rehabbed the lower trail which had eroded into a gully.  They then added check dams to the lower trail to prevent erosion, tilled up the old trail, reseeded it, and covered it with erosion netting made from shredded Aspens.  Then they rebenched the upper trail and added drainage features to make sure it won’t form a gully like the old one.

Next the crew moved up to the History Trail to clear a large tree and build a turnpike on a boggy section of trail.  The crew extended the turnpikes that the Boy Scouts built in 2008 and channeled the water under the trail in a culvert and dug a large Y ditch to catch the water seeping from above.  They finished it off by peeling guide logs, staking them in place, and filling the whole thing with gravel to raise the level of the tread.  The crew finished up the week by working on the new East Table take out trail.  This new trail was built to replace the old take out trail that was on a very steep side hill that was slumping.

Also this week the new layout of the Big Munger trail was connected by the members of DIRT who are working as Crosscut Trails and Forestry.  The 4 new reroutes on the southern leg of the Big Munger trail removed the 30-45% eroded sections of the trail that went straight up the hillside.  When myself and Tim Farris laid out the trail we did so with the sustainable grade of the soils at Munger Mountain in mind.  This also means the new trail is much more accessible by Mountain Bikes and specifically E-Mountain Bikes which are allowed on the Munger trails from July 1 to September 9 each year.  The project will continue to touch up the trail and rehab the old eroded sections of trail and will move the the northern leg of the trail next year to make the loop to the top of Munger Mountain much more enjoyable by all.  Head out that way this weekend and enjoy the new section of trail!

 

Finally some sunshine!  This week helped the Snow King trail system dry out and it is now 99% snow free with a few lingering wind drifts near the top of Ferrins and the north side of the Cache Game divide.  The trail crews have cleared almost everything so it should be a good weekend to get out and explore, or better yet start your Saturday at National Trails Day at the Cache Creek trailhead to help Friends of Pathways and the Bridger-Teton with some trail projects in the morning.  We will have coffee and bagels before and beer and brats after to thank you for your hard work keeping the trails in good shape.  You can also explore Munger and the lower portion of the Teton Pass trails.  The crew will start clearing at Phillips Canyon next week and work up as the snow line recedes.

Jay has been working hard to keep Teton Pass open for the past six weeks, even through the shutdown that considers him “nonessential staff.” If you believe Jay is an essential part of Teton Pass, consider chipping in to help Jay cover expenses. Give a gift through Friends of Pathways and we’ll make sure Jay gets paid for all his hard work.

GIVE A GIFT TO JAY!

 

From the Jackson Hole News and Guide

Pistono said he feels like if he doesn’t continue working, bad things could happen. With 400-plus cars a day parking at the top, it takes just one mistake.

“Without a little bit of refereeing it could get chaotic in a hurry,” he said. “I feel like if I don’t go up there, you might get that one glitch that closes the access. That kind of hanging by a thread thing will always be the situation.”

So he continues emptying trash cans full of dog poop, reminding people of where it’s unsafe to park, and trying to keep the relationship between Teton Valley commuters, skiers, snowboarders, snowmobilers, dogs and the Wyoming Department of Transportation intact. Luckily for Pistono, his former employer, the nonprofit Friends of Pathways, is helping somewhat pad the lack of paycheck. But he’ll soon be in the negative again.

“Hopefully it won’t last for too much longer,” he said. “There are a lot of us in the same situation, living paycheck to paycheck. I don’t know too many folks who are casual about it … it’s a weird feeling not to get money.”

Read more about how the shutdown is affecting workers in Teton County, including the Teton Pass Ambassador, who is employed by the Bridger-Teton National Forest and supported by Friends of Pathways.


Snow King and Munger trails are good to go and Teton Pass is slowly but surely melting out. The TFR trails on the south side of the pass are in pretty good shape and should be riding nicely for their Pass Bash on Saturday. Everything else is probably still and out and back exploration from the bottom until you hit the snow line. The one exception may be the Ridge trail which you can link from the Phillip’s trailhead to Fish Creek road by using portions of the BPA powerline road that tends to melt out quicker than the shaded trail around the Snotel section. On Saturday you should start your day with bagels and coffee and at the base of Old Pass Road and then stay and help us build some new bridges with the USFS for National Trails Day. We will finish up with lunch and beverages and then you can continue on to the Pass Bash and make a full day of supporting and enjoying the trails!

The Cache Game trails are a go for the season!  Things have melted out about 3 weeks ahead of last year and the crews cleared the Cache Game divide, West Game, and Wilson this week.  I would say the trails are 99.9% good with a few seeps and water problems that we will address this summer.  Munger is also in great shape after crews got a few more trees off of Tusky and Squaw.  Teton Pass continues to melt out and the snow line is receding daily.  All of the trails there make a good out and back starting from the bottom and exploring your way up to the snow line.  Again if you see any trees down on trails or other problems let us know and we will get he crews out to fix them.  Also a reminder that the Skyline trail remains closed until July 1 each year to protect elk calving in the area.  I would say Cache to Game is the trail choice for the holiday weekend so get out and enjoy!

There are many more trails melting out and would be dry if only the rain would let up. The Putt Putt side of the Cache Creek drainage is drier than the Hagen side which is still holding a few snow patches and muddy spots. Crystal Butte and Josie’s Ridge are in great shape and the Nelson Knoll loop too if you are looking for the best views. You can connect across Sink or Swim with only a little snow remaining on the face of Snow King, and Game Creek continues to dry out making for a longer out and back option. Once again remember to stay off the trails when they are wet. A good rule of thumb is to wait for the streets in town to dry before heading out, and always look behind you, if you are leaving tracks of any kind on the trail it may be better to wait a bit. I’ll definitely be waiting for Sunday which looks to be the nicest weather window this weekend. See you out there!

The trails continue to dry out and the crew had a busy week clearing 162 trees off of Wilson, Ferrin’s, and the Munger Mountain trails.  Munger is in good shape with only a few seeps and wet spots and a few trees left on Wally World where we ran out of time and gas.  Ferrin’s is dry up to the bottom of the meadow but there are several feet of drifted snow above that.  The upper reaches of Hagen and Putt Putt are also slowly melting out and you can make it several miles up Game Creek with a few spots where the creek is on the road or water is bubbling out of gopher holes but it is passable.  On Teton Pass Parallel is in good shape and the lower parts of Crater, History, Old Pass Road, Blacks, Ridge, Phillip’s Canyon, and Big Rocks are melting out and make good excursions to find where the snow line is each day.  The crew will be clearing trees and cleaning drains there starting next week.  Remember when we do get precipitation a good gauge of when the trails are dry enough to not cause damage is when the roads start to dry out.  Have a great weekend!

With the nice weather this weekend there are several trails around Snow King that are in great shape for short excursions.  The Sidewalk to Wiggle to Putt Putt link up offers a great 5K loop from the Cache or Nelson Dr. trailheads.  The Hagen Highway and Sink or Swim are clear of snow except for the usual 100 ft section as you cross the ski area.  All of the lower trails from the Wildlife Lane and Flat Creek trailheads are in good shape and Josie’s Ridge is snow free most of the way to the top.  Around the Summit Trail area please stay on the trail and don’t shortcut straight up and down the hill to avoid snow.  This causes highly erosive fall line trails to form.  Have a fun weekend and enjoy the warm weather!

The road to the Cache Creek Trailhead has reopened, showing that with a good team, you can accomplish almost anything!

The Bridger-Teton National Forest, Town of Jackson and Parks and Recreation staff worked together this week to remove ice and standing water, to reopen the road to the Cache Creek Trailhead. Conditions on the road are still rough and could be a challenge for smaller vehicles, but the road is open to the trailhead in time for the weekend.

Parks and Recreation will resume normal grooming on Monday, with a full run back to Noker Mine.

If you see any staff, please thank them for their exceptional efforts!

Friends of Pathways, Trail Manager, Chris Owen and Bridger-Teton National Forest staff were recognized on October 26, 2016 for enhancing recreational opportunities, building public relevancy and changing lives by involving conservation youth corps to sustain resources and experiences on the Bridger-Teton National Forest.

Jerry Balint   Tim Farris   Chris Owen   Jessica Shaw
David Cernicek   Adam Hansen   Kara Purser   David Wilkinson
Cory Cornett   Linda Merigliano   Richard Raione   Samantha Wilmot
Dale Dieter   Jahn Newman   Jay Romine   Sidney Woods

Jackson and Greys River Ranger Districts
Bridger-Teton National Forest

Friends of Pathways Youth Trail Crew put ten local high school students to work on our most loved close-to-home trails during the summer of 2016. We’re currently working to fund the 2017 Youth Trail Crew Program. If you are interested in helping, contact Katherine Dowson at katherine@friendsofpathways.org.