Trail of the Month: October 2001
Wood River Trails, Idaho
With scenic vistas, mountainous terrain and rugged, wooded areas, the Wood River Valley in Blaine County, Idaho provides a dramatic backdrop for the 22-mile long Wood River Trail. Running from Ketchum in the north to Bellevue in the south, the paved Wood River Trail also passes through Sun Valley and Hailey, connecting numerous neighborhoods along the way to the downtown areas of these four towns. Just south of Ketchum, the Wood River Trail links with the Sun Valley Trail, adding an additional 10 miles of paved trail.
When the Union Pacific railroad company ceased operating on the Ketchum to Bellevue corridor in the mid-1970s, a rail-to-trail movement was started by a group of Blaine County residents who wanted a safer bicycling option than the local highways they were accustomed to riding.
Led by a woman named Mary Austin Crofts, this group was instrumental in the creation by county voters of the Blaine County Recreation District in 1976. With community support behind them, the newly formed Recreation District promptly appointed a Board of Directors, hired Mary Austin Crofts as its Executive Director (a position she retains today) and went about the difficult task of acquiring the land and funding necessary to create the Wood River Trail. The 1988 passage of a local bond finalized funding for the trail's completion, and in 1993 the Wood River Trail attained its present length of 22 miles.
"Promoting a Healthy Active Way of Life in Blaine County" is the Recreation District's motto, and the Wood River Trail certainly accomplishes this goal. In addition to providing a recreational outlet for Blaine County citizens, many people use the trail to run errands, visit friends or commute to and from work. In fact, one of the criteria for building the St. Luke's Medical Center just south of Ketchum was the site's easy trail access.
As we transition into the autumn season, please join us in celebrating this diverse rural Trail and the many faces and opportunities it has to offer to local residents and visitors throughout the Sun Valley Region of Idaho.