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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

The results are in! Your favorite pathway corridors in Valley County

Donnelly Elementary kids enjoy the Boulder Creek Trail near Donnelly.

Our public survey on people’s favorite pathway corridors between Cascade and New Meadows has closed. Thank you for participating!

We asked people to pick their top 3 highest priorities for the development of non-motorized pedestrian pathway corridors between Cascade, Donnelly, Lake Fork, McCall and New Meadows.  VCP officials also went to numerous public meetings and presented our long-range plan and options for development. The public outreach came following a feasibility study on singletrack sidewalks by the IMBA.

The study recommended the development of 70 miles of singletrack sidewalks in the valley. These would be walking and trails for local residents and tourists to enjoy.

And now, drum roll please, here are the results:

For McCall and surrounding areas:

  1. Extend the North Valley Trail south toward Donnelly via Norwood or Nisula, 54%
  2. Farm to Market Road from McCall to Roseberry, 29%
  3. West Mountain south to Tamarack and Cascade, 16.6%.
  4. Creating a singletrack sidewalk on Samson Trail going south of McCall to the Carefree subdivision was also indicated as a high priority.

For Donnelly and surrounding areas:

  1. Near dead heat between W. Roseberry to West Mountain to McCall on the west side of the valley (47%) vs. E. Roseberry to Norwood and the North Valley Trail to McCall (44%).
  2.  Third choice, Roseberry to Farm to Market to McCall.

For Cascade and surrounding areas:

  1. Extend the Crown Point Trail north toward Donnelly, 64%
  2. Cabarton Road to Smith’s Ferry, 25%
  3. West Mountain Road to Tamarack and Donnelly, 12.5%

For New Meadows and surrounding areas:

  1. Near dead heat between 1. Connecting from New Meadows to U.S. 95 and the Weiser River Trail, and 2, from Cemetery Road, connecting to Brundage, Bear Basin Trails and McCall.
    3. Find a route from New Meadows to Fish Lake Road, Bear Basin Trails and McCall.


The surveys were facilitated by Andrew Mentzer, a VCP board member, and executive director of the West Central Mountains Economic Development Council. Thanks Andrew!

Our next steps are to craft a Singletrack Sidewalks ordinance to be considered by the Valley County Planning & Zoning Commission, go through the process of getting that vetted, and then set our priorities for pathway development. The ordinance would guide how singletrack sidewalks would be developed along public road right of ways in Valley County.

Valley County P&Z has scheduled a public hearing on the ordinance on Dec. 12, 2019 at 6 p.m. If you’d like to send a letter of support, please do so to Cynda Herrick, P&Z Administrator, Thank you!

– Steve Stuebner

Pick your favorite pathway corridor!

We’re requesting public feedback one more time on three options for connecting our communities in Valley County and Long Valley between Cascade and McCall while also working to connect to New Meadows and the Weiser River Trail.The options are:

  • West Mountain Road from McCall to Cascade.
  • Mid-valley option on North Valley Trail going south toward Lake Fork, then Norwood or Nisula to Donnelly, and then working north on the Crown Point Trail from Cascade.
  • Farm to Market Road from McCall to Roseberry, and Sampson Trail from McCall to Farm to Market Road.

Please fill out the surveys below prior to Oct. 31, 2019.

Share with your friends! This is a long-term investment. We want to get this right!




New Meadows:

Many thanks!

Steve Stuebner and Andrew Mentzer, VCP board members

P.S. We’d like to give a special shout-out to Chelsea Tuttle for shooting the drone footage in the video and editing the video. Thanks Chelsea! Her web site for photography and video services is 

New proposed Donnelly Pathway – Town to Beach Flyway

We are proposing a new pathway in Donnelly to connect the community with one of its premier assets, the Donnelly Beach Park & Boat Docks area.

This project is the first step in the vision of the 2014 City of Donnelly Comprehensive Plan to enhance quality of life, highlight our natural surroundings and drive economic development.

This is a core piece to the area pathway design that will help drive enthusiasm for future pathway development by providing an amenity for residents and visitors alike to enjoy. It is designed to make our roadways safer and drive tourism dollars to the town.  We are calling this pathway, the Town to Beach Flyway.

Here’s a brief overview video of the project.

The pathway concept is an 6- to 8-foot pathway, with a 5-foot (minimum 3-foot) break between the path and roadway. The pathway surface may consist of ¾ inch or less gravel and/or possibly crusher stone material.

Distance/material summary:

Total distance: 6882’

Gravel: 5582′

Asphalt:  75′ at beginning, 340′ at dirt parking area.

Existing asphalt: 885’

Striping: 1300′ of striping from Hwy 55 to end of Roseberry Plaza.

Crosswalk Striping: 48”

Except where otherwise noted, the pathway will utilize one side of the existing  50 foot city or county transportation right of way.

All sections along roadways will incorporate a FHWA “Sidepath”- style design.

If you have any feedback on the project, please contact Brett Shepherd of Donnelly Pathways and Valley County Pathways, at, or the Donnelly City Clerk at

What’s your preference for pathway corridors?

Stopping by the beautiful North Fork of the Payette River on Smylie Lane.

We are looking for feedback on the recommendations made in the IMBA singletrack sidewalks study.

Which corridors are your highest priorities for connecting the communities of New Meadows, McCall, Lake Fork, Donnelly and Cascade?

The study recommends building pathway corridors on West Mountain Road on the west side of Long Valley, Farm to Market Road on the east side, and extending the North Valley Trail to points south via Norwood or Nisula to Donnelly, and then continuing south on the east side of Lake Cascade.

We also will need to find a good route to connect from McCall to New Meadows and the Weiser River Trail.

The pathways would be built in the county right of way along country roads. Again, what sounds best to you?

Please take a moment to take our survey and share with your friends.




New Meadows:

Many thanks!

Steve Stuebner and Andrew Mentzer, VCP board members

IMBA study recommends 70+ miles of singletrack sidewalks in Valley County, Idaho

Hi all,

The West Central Mountains Economic Development Council and Valley County Pathways have been working together with the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) on a feasibility study about the potential for “singletrack sidewalks” and other types of pathways in the Long Valley area between Cascade and McCall, with an eye toward connecting to New Meadows and the Weiser River Trail as well.

This has been a year-long study, funded with a grant from the Mountain Central Association of Realtors in McCall and the National Association of Realtors. We are excited to share the results!

IMBA recommends 70+ miles of singletrack sidewalks in the feasibility study, along with a variety of on-road bike lanes, detached bike paths, rail-trails and more.

Steve Stuebner of Valley County Pathways and Andrew Mentzer of the West Central Mountains Economic Development Council will be sharing the results of the study in the coming weeks with elected officials, county commissioners, city councils, chambers of commerce and more. See dates below. The public is welcome to attend these sessions.

Overall, the IMBA study validated the vision and scope of the 2018 VCP Master Plan, which seeks to connect the communities of Cascade, Donnelly, Lake Fork, and McCall in Long Valley with a system of pedestrian pathways. The vision is also to provide pathway connections to popular recreational and cultural destinations in the valley such as Jug Mountain Ranch, Tamarack Resort, Gold Fork Hot Springs, the historical burg of Roseberry, Ponderosa State Park, Lake Cascade State Park and Forest Service trailheads.

“We’re stoked to share the results of the study because it validates the vision of the VCP Master Plan, and it gives us a path forward looking at a number of options for building future pathways to fulfill our vision,” Stuebner said.

“We are looking forward to getting community feedback on the IMBA study and identifying priorities at the grass-roots, community level  with elected officials, community leaders and the general public,” added Mentzer.

What is a singletrack sidewalk?

Singletrack sidewalks are dirt paths about 2-3 feet wide that would parallel existing county roads. The trails would be built within the existing county right of ways. Trail difficulty would be beginner to intermediate. The purpose would be to create a safe place for walkers, runners and cyclists to travel along existing county roads separate from the county road itself.

The trails would be less expensive to build and maintain as a paved, detached bike path such as the Strand in Cascade, McCall city pathways, and the paved trail going through the Meadows area between Donnelly and Tamarack.

The IMBA study pegs the cost of singletrack sidewalks to be in the range of $1.85 – $3.75 million to build-out the vision of the feasibility study (70+ miles of pathways). This breaks down to a cost of $25,000-$53,000 per mile.

By comparison, detached, paved bike paths 8 feet wide cost approximately $100,000-$250,000 per mile, including design and engineering.

The Bear Basin Connector Trail from McCall to Bear Basin Road is an example of a detached, singletrack sidewalk in our local community. (photo courtesy McCall Parks & Recreation)

In a series of community meetings coming up in late April and May, we will be sharing the study results to get a sense of priorities for singletrack sidewalks and pathways near each community and beyond.

Our meetings planned so far include:

  • Tuesday, April 30, 10 a.m. – Valley County Commissioners, Valley County Road Department, Lake Cascade State Park and Bureau of Reclamation officials at the commissioners meeting room in Cascade.
  • Tuesday, May 7, Cascade Mobility Group, 1:15 p.m. in Cascade at the Cascade Cultural Arts Center, 106 E Pine St.
  • Thursday, May 9, 7:30 a.m., McCall Chamber of Commerce, Shore Lodge.
  • Thursday, May 9, 5:30 p.m., McCall City Council.
  • Monday, May 20, 5 p.m., New Meadows City Council.

If you have a group that would like to discuss the IMBA study, please let us know (see follow-up contact information below).

Public link to the 35-page IMBA study. Please understand that all of the recommendations in the study are very preliminary.

Top recommendations for each community:

  • Farm to Market Road
  • West Mountain Road
  • Norwood Road
  • Davis Creek Road
  • Gold Fork Road
  • Heinrich Lane
  • Lakeshore Drive
  • Smylie Lane
  • Tamarack Falls Road
  • Lake Fork Road

For more information, contact Steve Stuebner, 208-484-0295,, or Andrew Mentzer, 208-703-0161,

Vote “Yes!” on North County Recreation District on May 21

Valley County Pathways supports a Recreation District for the north side of Valley County … it would provide much-needed funds for pathway maintenance and new pathway projects in the region, and essential funds for other recreation needs in the community. Please support the rec district in the May 21 election. 

Reprinted with permission from The Star-News

Voters in and around McCall and Donnelly will get to decide on May 21 whether to create the Northern Valley Recreation District.

Valley County commissioners on Monday signed off on the ballot initiative after it gained over 1,000 signatures, satisfying all requirements that would allow it to be put to a vote.

Proponents paid the county about $5,000 to cover the cost of conducting the election.

Community meetings to discuss the proposed district are scheduled for Monday, May 13, at Idaho First Bank in McCall and Thursday, May 16, at the Donnelly Community Center. Both meetings will start at 6 p.m.

If approved, the new district would be a separate government agency with an independent board of directors.

The district would collect about $1 million per year in propertry taxes, Steering Committee Chair Sherry Maupin of McCall said.

The district would have the same boundaries as the McCall-Donnelly School District which extends from north of McCall to south of Donnelly.

The top three priorities for the district would be trails and open space, community health and welfare and the creation of a recreation center.

The recreation center would include outdoor sports fields, an indoor area with basketball courts and athletic practice areas and a pool, Maupin said.

Priority projects would include trail maintenance and expansion to create linked trails throughout the region.

Also planned is a push to secure open space to preserve and protect access to the North Fork of the Payette River and critical access points into recreation areas, Maupin said.

Proponents decided to fund the recreation district with property taxes, which would grow each year.

State law also allows recreation districts to be funded with flat annual fees on households.

The household fee is the funding method used by the Southern Valley County Recreation District, which built and operates the Cascade Aquatic and Recreation Center.

The recreation district was one of the inititatives of the West Central Mountains entrant into the 2017 America’s Best Communities contest.

Maupin chaired that effort, which competed with 350 other communities nationwide for $7 million in cash prizes.

Each entry had to develop an economic development plan for their communities, and a recreation district was one of the goals of the West Central Mountains proposal.

The local group advanced to the final round of eight entrants, but did not place in the top three winners that took home the cash prizes.