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Ketchum, Idaho 83340

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Current News & Issues: Trails & Recreation


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Spring 2003, Update 2005, 2006
Sawtooth National Recreation Area,
Sawtooth National Forest
Source: Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA)
SNRA Address: HC 64
Box 8291, Ketchum, ID  83340   Phone 208-727-5000   
Web Site:


Big and Little Casino Trails Reconstruction

This decision affects 20 miles of trails in the area known as the Casino Lakes region of the northwest White Cloud Mountains. The SNRA intends to relocate or reconstruct to MOTORIZED STANDARD up to four miles of Little Casino #232, Big Casino #646, Sunny Gulch #616, and segments near the Casino Lakes. Trail relocation/construction would move routes away from creeks, omit stream crossings, and use puncheons, bridges and short reroutes to avoid wet or steep trail sections. Project is being rescoped and comments are due January 29, 2006.

SNRA contacts: Ed Cannady.

Against conservation groupsí protest including ours, trail reconstruction will be done to motorized standards. All three trails are within conservationistsí proposed White Cloud Wilderness boundary, but not the Sawtooth Forests. In our comments on this project to the SNRA, we urged the Forest to delay improving these trails until the Wilderness issue is resolved in Congress. Also, to thoroughly analyze the projectís impacts to wildlife since improved trails means more motorized users including hunters. The Casino country is home to large elk herds, mule deer, gray wolves, black bear and mountain lions. We urged the SNRA to use the trail dollars elsewhere, and provided a long list of suggestions. A driving force to improve these trails is coming from anti-wilderness businesses in nearby Stanley, who want motorcycle routes close by for their motorized clientele.


Update 2005: Construction has not started yet on the Casino Lakes trail system project. One short new trail section that links Big and Little Casino trails near the Salmon River has been built. The Casino Creek campground next to the Salmon River, is undergoing some changes, including restoration of damaged areas, and designating camp sites.


Update 2006: The SNRA is determined to go through with this project, which will substantially increase motorized use in some of the best wildlife habitat in the Boulder-White Clouds. Unless the SNRA's decision document has extensive analysis to show that improved trails and more motorized use will not harm wildlife, then the decision may be subject to appeal.

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