A trail on Sinker Creek will be re-routed to improve habitat for redband trout
Boise, Idaho — A multiple use trail on a popular local creek got a facelift this past weekend as an army of volunteers descended on the canyon to obliterate portions of the old trail and construct a more fish friendly new route.
Trout Unlimited, ATV clubs, agencies and the Joyce Ranch, the oldest family owned ranch in Idaho, partnered to move the trail which crosses Sinker Creek multiple times in a steep canyon.
This cast of characters working together to do something good for both fish and recreation is good news for the broader public lands recreation community and for fish, said Greg McReynolds, field coordinator for Trout Unlimiteds Sportsmens Conservation Project. Were grateful to the local ATV clubs for partnering with us to preserve motorized access and at the same time improve fishing.
Sinker Creek is home to a population of redband trout. Known as the tenacious trout of the desert, redbands have been in decline across their historic habitat. The most stable populations are found at higher elevations where temperatures are cooler. However, populations in Sinker Creek are healthy and their genetic line is pure enough to be designated a conservation population.
Volunteers met April 25 and 26 for work days to scratch out the old trail and build the new. Idaho Parks and Recreation designed the trail and provided the equipment to build it, and funding came from Idaho Department of Lands as well as Trout Unlimited.
“I am excited to see this project to its conclusion, said Paul Nettleton with the Joyce Ranch. It’s a great example of how widely-diverse groups can come together and work for the good of the land.”
Part of the project involved taking some more drastic measures to move the trail out of the floodplain. The new trail design includes removing overhead brush to allow horseback riders comfortable access. In all, eleven stream crossings were removed by rerouting the trail. Reduced traffic in the stream reduces sedimentation and makes Sinker Creek an even better habitat for redband trout.
This is and always has been a multiple use area and we wanted to keep it that way, said Elizabeth Gilman, President of the Kuna Trail Riders. Riders, anglers, wildlife watchers – all recreationists -deserve to experience this unique creek. The Joyce Ranch and the State have been stewards of that concept, allowing access to Sinker. And we wanted to make sure the design of this trail reflected that mindset.
Trout Unlimited is the nation’s oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North America’s trout and salmon and their watersheds. Follow TU on Facebook and Twitter, and visit us online at tu.org.