Friday, May 24, 2013

Wild Sky Trails Plan Completed!

Posted by Sarah Krueger, Public Lands Programs Manager

Yesterday, the Forest Service unveiled the Wild Sky Trails Plan, providing a vision for new and improved access for both hikers and equestrians to the State's most recently-designated wilderness area.  When Congress established the Wild Sky Wilderness in 2008, the legislation called for a trail plan to establish system of trails to provide access to the wilderness area.

The Mountaineers and The Wilderness Society convened a focus group of hiking and wilderness enthusiasts in fall of 2011 to inform the planning process, providing a map and prioritized list of trail recommendations to the Forest Service.  We are happy to see many of our recommendations reflected in the new plan, which outlines over 50 miles of trails in or adjacent to the Wild Sky (including improvements to existing trails).

Plans are great, but action is even better.  Thankfully, the Wild Sky Trail Plan is already coming to fruition with several trail proposals already underway or completed including the Beckler Creek Trail, additions to the Iron Goat Trail, Frog Mountain Trail and relocation of the Kelly Creek Trail.  Each new trail will require site specific analysis and environmental review and it takes an average of 3-5 years to implement projects after funding is received.  The Wild Sky Trails Plan is an important tool that will help leverage funding for implementation and will guide Forest in prioritizing resources over the years to come.  Thanks to all who contributed to the planning effort!

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