The mountain goat is a universal symbol, signifying the human need to find high, quiet places. In Idaho, the mountain goat license plate also symbolizes protecting and enhancing those high quiet places as well as the rest of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area.
When one purchases a goat license plate, they are giving money to a grant program that exclusively funds recreation-based projects within the Sawtooth NRA. The Sawtooth Society, a non-profit conservation group, manages this program. Four times per year the Society grants money to various organizations whose goal is to enhance the area.
A regular recipient of the Goat Grant fund is the Idaho Trails Association (ITA). ITA’s mission is to promote the continued enjoyment of Idaho’s trails. One way they do this is gathering volunteers to help maintain those trails.
Through the Sawtooth Society goat grant, ITA is able to annually bring a group of volunteers to the Sawtooth Mountains to work on the popular Alice-Toxaway loop for six days.
This past summer, volunteers cleared logs from the trail, widened certain sections, and resurfaced parts that had sloughed away. Perhaps more importantly, this trip allowed the volunteers time to become connected to the Sawtooth Mountains.
“We are grateful the Sawtooth Society supports our work and are looking forward to partnering on even more projects in the future,” ITA Executive Director Jeff Halligan said, “Sometimes these trips can change lives.”
While ITA helps maintain summer trails, the Sawtooth Ski Club devotes their time to maintaining winter trails of the Sawtooth Valley – the Alturas and Park Creek Nordic ski trails to be specific.
This past fall, the Club received money from the Goat Grant fund to help make these trails even better. The goat grant money was used to purchase a new compaction drag. As its name suggests, the compaction drag compacts the snow, making the groomed surface more solid.
“The compaction drag makes the whole trail more level,” Dave Keiski, Sawtooth Ski Club president said.
Keiski said that the equipment has helped immensely with keeping the trails flat and hard in this big snow winter. This is a very good thing for skate skiers who need level, solid trails on which to ski.
The Sawtooth Society reviews grant requests quarterly. To apply for a Goat License Plate grant, or to purchase a Goat Plate, visit www.sawtoothsociety.org.