Phase one of a project to improve the trailhead to Mount Borah by adding parking spots, campsites and vault toilets will have to wait until at least 2023 since federal funds for the work weren’t awarded this year.
“A lot of that was due to how funding is structured,” Deputy District Ranger Clayton Collins with the Lost River Ranger District said. Forest officials had applied for money through the Great American Outdoors Act. It’s a competitive process to receive federal money for such projects, Collins said. The closer a project is to a final design, the more likely it is to receive money. The Borah trailhead project doesn’t have final cost estimates and didn’t make the cut this year. One reason the estimates aren’t yet complete is the recent retirement of District Ranger Allison Jackson. Collins is doing her work now and he’s been tasked with getting the project back on track. In July the ranger district will apply for the 2023 round of Great American Outdoors Act funding, he said.
Collins met with a landscape architect last month and tweaked the design in an attempt to make the project more competitive. Collins is optimistic the project will receive funding in the next go-round of grant awards.
While it may take several years to complete the full vision for improvements to the trailhead, Collins said forest personnel are working hard to get the first phase off the ground.
The eventual plan is to expand the current trailhead into a 29-acre complex with parking for between 50 and 100 autos, add 25 camping spots, develop a handicap-accessible trail, build an interpretive rotunda, drill a drinking water well, erect three more restrooms and establish an overflow camping area below the existing trailhead.
The proposed improvements are intended to better accommodate the increasing number of visitors to Mount Borah.