Trail angels keep Idaho Foothills trails in prime shape

A tan ribbon of dirt snaking across the landscape serves many functions. It gets us from point A to point B, whether on foot, bike, motorcycle or horseback, and often in an interesting way. How often do you find yourself walking a straight line in the Foothills? Not often. Part of that is the topography doesn’t allow it, but it’s also more interesting for a trail to meander across the landscape. If you’re on a bike, you really appreciate a well-designed trail. You can cruise along without braking hard or having to go straight up or down hill. You can see far enough ahead to spot other trail users, and you have plenty of time to slow down. You know there won’t be any unexpected hazards. It’s no accident when that happens, it’s good trail design.

A well-designed trail also sheds water so it won’t erode and turn a smooth single-track trail into a rutted, rocky mess. Even the best designed trail can get damaged from excessive use, neglect, or using it when wet.

A big rainstorm or other weather event can also damage a trail. While not a big problem in the Treasure Valley, windstorms can knock down trees and wreak havoc on forest trails. When any of those things happen, people are out fixing trails. Unlike a fresh coat of paint or freshly mowed grass, their work isn’t always obvious.

But you will likely notice a poorly designed or unmaintained trail. It’s an ankle twisting, teeth-rattling nightmare, and fortunately, there are few examples of them in the Foothills because of the work done to prevent it from happening.

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