Over the last 2 weeks we have been busy taking care of a bunch of small projects including clearing trees off of the Skyline, Game, West Game, and Wilson Canyon trails. We have been brushing, fixing signs, looking for signs (if anyone knows the whereabouts of the Lithium sign I would very much like it back), and helping Jim Verdone and Evans with the Old Pass Road paving. The partnership with Jim and his work on maintaining the OPR over the years has led to amazing improvements to make sure this valuable piece of pathway remains usable for the future. Evans crews paved the upper section from Crater Lake to Teton Pass over the last 3 days. Additionally we have been working on the next batch of improvements for the Blair Dr. Bike Skills Park.
Finally something we have been working on for the last 5 years is data collection on the trails and pathways. We have been using EcoCounter units that have a small beam that counts travel in both directions and we have been working to get a solid number for how many people use the trail systems on Snow King and Teton Pass each day. The numbers above are from our summer counts (June 1 – August 31) and are an average of the past 5 years. Each counter gives a total count and shows a percentage of people going in to the forest and out back to the trailhead. Since the overall percentages are almost equal to 50% in and 50% out you infer that almost everyone is entering and leaving the forest on the same day. This means if you divide the total count by 2 you get the number of people using the forest each day. We have been using old monitoring data from the BTNF that showed while the 130 miles of frontcountry trail systems that Friends of Pathways maintains only make up 18% of the total trail mileage on the Jackson Ranger Distrcit, they see 84% of the use. The numbers we found from these counts indicate that percentage might be even higher. The trails around Snow King within the circle formed by Cache Creek and Game Creek saw 1,526 users per day while the Teton Pass trail system saw 910 users per day on average over the summer. This is why Friends of Pathways contributes $250,000 a year to the maintenance of the frontcountry trail system, to try and provide maintenance equal to the amount of use the trails get. If you enjoy the great access we have to high quality trails consider donating to Friends of Pathways at Old Bill’s to help us continue on the 20 years of trail work we have done with the Bridger-Teton.