Idaho Trails Association seeking new members

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(Courtesy photo) ITA volunteers ready to work on northern Idaho’s Beehive Lake trail.

The Idaho Trails Association is conducting its annual membership drive. The ITA is a non-profit organization that was founded in 2010 to promote the continued enjoyment of Idaho’s hiking trails. The ITA accomplishes this mission by conducting field projects to maintain or construct non-motorized trails and by teaching trail maintenance skills to volunteer workers. The purpose of this membership drive is to get more people to help maintain Idaho’s spectacular hiking trails.

Idaho is blessed with over 10,000 miles of non-motorized hiking trails on public lands throughout the State. These trails are a valuable resource that takes visitors to some of the most beautiful parts of Idaho. Unfortunately, funding for the care and upkeep of the trails is far short of what is needed to keep them open and usable.

ITA was formed in 2010 to help deal with this challenge. ITA uses volunteer workers who devote their time and efforts to help keep hiking trails usable. In their first year of operation, ITA conducted one trail project with a total of 13 volunteers. Those volunteers worked on 2½ miles of trail near McCall.

Only seven years later, in 2017 ITA completed 21 projects in 12 parts of the state. A total of 215 volunteers contributed more than 5,175 hours of work time in the field sawing over 1,000 logs off the trails, fixing water bars, cutting back brush, and repairing trail treads. ITA volunteers completed work on more than 103 miles of trails. Those 5,175 hours of volunteer work also saved a lot of our taxpayer money and enabled even more trail maintenance.

This year, ITA also expanded the types of trail work they do trail by conducting, for the first time, digital trails inventory and monitoring in the Gospel Hump and Seven Devils Wilderness areas. ITA volunteers hiked 167 miles of trail, inventoried 118 campsites, and developed and used smart phone apps to digitally map 56 user trails. The methods developed can now be used in other areas of the State to better understand the great recreational resources available to hikers using their public lands.

The ITA is asking people throughout Idaho, neighboring states, and wherever they live to help continue and expand this great work by signing up as a member. Membership dues will help enable ITA to complete even more work projects in 2018 in more parts of the state.

Since the ITA is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, membership dues are tax deductable. Plus, it’s just a great feeling as you hike along to know that you’ve done your part to keep Idaho’s trails open and accessible to all!

ITA needs new members to help keep Idaho’s trails open and usable. You can join or renew your membership with ITA by visiting IdahoTrailsAssociation.org and using the membership link.

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