You have likely heard about the “Stanley to Redfish Trail” over the last 15 years. Here is a brief review of the history of the trail. The Sawtooth Society has been on record as supporting this trail since 2005 when the private property easement was purchased, making the trail possible. This easement, designating a strip of permanent public land through private property, was purchased by the USFS with taxpayer money from the then owners of the large acreage of private property surrounding Pioneer Park in the City of Stanley, ID within the Sawtooth National Recreation Area.
The easement made possible access on a walking, horseback riding, and ADA accessible trail surface from Stanley’s Pioneer Park directly to Redfish Lake. The USFS developed trail plans over the next decade. Funding was secured and trail construction was to begin in 2019.
The current private landowner challenged the plan and the route in the Federal District Court seeking an injunction to halt construction. The Court let the USFS plans stand for trail construction and the route to be followed. This cleared the way for construction to begin the summer of 2020.
The landowner filed an amended complaint on August 8, 2019 asking for an
injunction based on additional claims. The judge in the case denied this second request for injunctive relief in her decision filed on June 30, 2020. This allowed summer construction to continue.
In light of our ongoing support for this trail, the Sawtooth Society wrote a letter of support to Kirk Flannigan, the Area Ranger, in September of 2020 to express strong support for expeditious completion of the trail along the route sustained in the court’s two denials and associated orders in the case.
During the summer of 2020, nearly all of the trail was constructed from Pioneer Park to Redfish Lake. Final construction is slated for the summer of 2021. We look forward to enjoying this enhancement of the trail system in the SNRA throughout the years to come and anticipate that many generations will tell inspiring tales of their experiences along the new trail.