Gem State Roundup

Trail maintenance, campground update projects announced for Payette National Forest 

By: - June 24, 2022 4:25 am
Payette National Forest ranger headquarters

The Payette National Forest’s McCall Ranger District office is located on West Lake Street. The forest is in central western Idaho, in parts of Valley, Idaho, Adams, and Washington counties. (Christina Lords/Idaho Capital Sun)

The U.S. Forest Service is investing more than $2 million in deferred maintenance projects in the Payette National Forest this year using money authorized by the Great American Outdoors Act.

The money will be divided among four deferred maintenance projects for fiscal year 2022, according to a press release issued by Payette National Forest officials. 

The four projects call for:

  • Repairing several bridges on the Payette National Forest, including the Cottonwood, Weiser and Four Bit road bridges.
  • Deferred maintenance projects on 50 miles of trails in the East Fork Trail Complex, which are designed to improve visitor access.
  • Chip sealing and pavement leveling along the South Fork of the Salmon River Road, which forest officials said will help protect chinook salmon habitat.
  • Phase one of projects to reconstruct campgrounds in the west zone of the forest, including the Huckleberry and Cabin Creek campgrounds and the Horse Cabin Flat site. 

Deferred maintenance is often defined as scheduled maintenance that hasn’t gotten done. Overall, the projects are designed to improve public access to the forest and protect watersheds and wildlife habitat, Payette National Forest officials said. 

In 2021, the Great American Outdoors Act provided funding for nine projects on the Payette National Forest, including trail maintenance, road and bridge repairs and campground upgrades. 

The Payette National Forest, which includes Hells Canyon, is situated about 2.3 million acres of forest that stretch into parts of Valley, Adams, Idaho and Washington counties. Idahoans and visitors use the Payette National Forest for hiking, hunting, fishing, camping, snowmobiling, backcountry skiing and more. 

Former President Donald Trump signed the Great American Outdoors Act into law in 2020 after it was passed by the U.S. Congress. The act provides up to $9.5 billion over five years to address deferred maintenance through the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund, which is where the money for the Payette National Forest projects is coming from.

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Clark Corbin
Clark Corbin

Clark Corbin has more than a decade of experience covering Idaho government and politics. He has covered every Idaho legislative session since 2011 gavel-to-gavel. Prior to joining the Idaho Capital Sun he reported for the Idaho Falls Post Register and Idaho Education News. His reporting in Idaho has helped uncover a multimillion-dollar investment scam and exposed inaccurate data that school districts submitted to the state.

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