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Conversations with the Dean: Wildfires and Open Space Management

Blaine County, Idaho – Join the Wood River Land Trust, Idaho Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, and University of Idaho for a community conversation with Dennis Becker, Dean of the College of Natural Resources. Dennis will share his expertise on how the Wood River Valley community can mitigate and respond to wildland fires with cross-sector solutions. Scott Boettger, President of the Wood River Land Trust says, “In 2013, when the Beaver Creek fire burned 114,000 acres in our backyard, only one structure was lost. Credit is due to our local firefighters, as well as our local zoning codes— restricting development on hillsides and up remote drainages better prepared us to fight the fire.” In light of Dennis’ research and Blaine County’s wildfire history, Planning Director Cece Osborn at the Wood River Land Trust will discuss the interface between our built environment, community efforts, and surrounding open spaces. Tess O’Sullivan, The Nature Conservancy’s Land Conservation Strategy Lead, will share information about the Conservancy’s statewide approach to building resilient forests that includes the use of prescribed fire. Solutions to wildfires are multi-faceted, reliant on regional coordination, and key to preserving our community’s natural resources. Join us in a community conversation at Ketchum …

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Biking, What We're Made Of

What We’re Made Of: Wood River Trails Coalition

Originally founded in 2011 under the name the Wood River Bike Coalition, the Wood River Trails Coalition (renamed so in 2019) is a non-profit trail stewardship organization working to create, maintain and sustain the Wood River Valley’s network for all users. With so many locals and visitors alike using the trails for walking, hiking, biking, and enjoying with dogs and horses, trails in the area take a pretty good beating every year. According to the Wood River Valley Trail Study from 2012, the Ketchum Ranger District of the Sawtooth National Forest alone sees over 90,000 user days annually, 35,000 of those being visitor user days. Harsh winters mean that trails need even more maintenance after the snow melts to ensure they are up to snuff for summer outdoor enthusiasts. It is with the help of the Wood River Trails Coalition that this is made possible. Partnerships With more than 500 miles of single-track trails for various uses, land management agencies are tasked with the job of maintaining this vast area. Without predictable annual funding to pay for a proper trail crew to maintain current trails and begin projects on new ones, the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management have a difficult …