We opened the Heinrich Demonstration Trail on Saturday, June 26, and it’s great to see our first singletrack sidewalk project come to fruition!
The approximately 4,000-foot-long, 36-inch-wide trail runs from the south end of the North Valley Rail-Trail to Norwood Street, running parallel to Heinrich Lane.
Wes Keller, a friend of the North Valley Trail who lives nearby, helped me out Saturday morning with a motorized auger to drill post holes for our new trail signs. BONUS! We knocked out the trail signs in about an hour, and ta da! The trail is open for the public to enjoy!
The non-motorized trail is open to hiking, running or biking. Pedal-assist ebikes are OK, too. VCP decided to hold off on any horseback use for now to see how the trail surface holds up to public use.
Construction started in Fall 2020. After seeing significant ground squirrel damage and thick vegetation growing on the trail surface following snowmelt, Valley County Pathways decided to spend extra funds to apply an all-weather surfacing composite mix to the top layer of the trail in June. This added more expense, time and complexity to the project, but it should be worth it. We want it to be durable and low-maintenance.
I’d like to thank about 15 hard-working volunteers, our trail contractor, Alex Ray with Payette Environmental, and a host of business partners in helping us stretch our nonprofit funds to the maximum extent possible. Since this is our first singletrack sidewalk project, it’s all kind of an experiment to see what will work best for a long-term sustainable trail for the public to enjoy.
VCP wishes to thank all of our business partners. Tates Rents donated the cost of a motorized tracked Whiteman “Mud Buggy” with a hydraulic bucket for spreading composite mix materials on the trail for 5 days, while Tony Meckel Excavation provided a discounted price on 130 yards of the composite road mix, the Southern Idaho Timber Protective Association (SITPA), referred to VCP by the McCall Fire Department, sprayed 3,000 gallons of water on the trail at no charge, and Todd Clouser with TMC Construction made multiple dump truck runs to drop piles of the road mix in strategic locations along the trail at a discounted price.
In the second week of June, over a series of three full work days, 5-7 volunteers worked behind the Mud Buggy to spread out the compositive mix 4-6 inches deep over the top of the trail in morning and afternoon shifts. The Central Idaho Mountain Biking Association (CIMBA) donated trail tools for the project. VCP Board member Andy Olavarria provided custom-ordered Subway sandwiches for our volunteers on each work day. And then Ray compacted the trail with an Ingerall Rand compactor/roller. A full application of water by SITPA completed the process.
VCP thanks our trail volunteers including John Platt, Tom Platt, Craig Strang, Jim Giuffre, Quinn Stuebner, Rhea and Gabriel James, Eric Geisler, Lucas and Lida Clouser, Tyler Hanson, Tom Menton, Maura Goldstein, Mike Bowen and Steve Baughman.
VCP is approved to build 70 miles of trails, including at least 30 miles of singletrack sidewalks in the valley to connect our communities – from Cascade to McCall and New Meadows. The next project aims to extend the Heinrich singletrack sidewalk over to Rogers Lane, and build walking and biking trails through the Carefree subdivision area and along Sampson Trail into McCall by the Payette Middle School to connect to existing pathways on Spring Mountain Road. That would provide a loop experience for users and a safe route to schools for the community.
VCP also wishes to thank Valley County Road Superintendent Jeff McFadden and the Valley County Commissioners for working with us to plan and build trails in the county right of way in our community to avoid private property issues along the old railroad line or in other locations. We also want to thank the West Central Mountains Economic Development Council for their ongoing support of our pathways vision and projects, including the creation of a singletrack sidewalks ordinance for Valley County. This is the first project out of the chute!