The Sawtooth Interpretive and Historical Association, whose mission is to protect and advance the natural and cultural history of Idaho’s Sawtooth-Salmon River Country through preservation and education, strongly supports the Stanley to Redfish Lake trail as designed by the Forest Service. The trail is under construction now, and will provide expansive views of the Sawtooths that will be enjoyed by anyone, including families with strollers and individuals using wheelchairs.

SIHA has supported this trail since it was first conceived by the local Stanley community more than two decades ago. The Forest Service purchased the trail easement in 2005, and over the last 15 years has done a thorough and thoughtful job of planning to provide world-class recreation opportunities for a variety of trail users. The planning of this trail was conducted with extensive public involvement and due diligence.

A recently publicized proposal to “Build a Better Trail” falls far short of the benefits of the existing layout and design. We believe the Forest Service has addressed concerns regarding environmental impact, safety, scenic preservation and heritage resources. Moving the northern 1.2 miles of trail as suggested would offer little in the way of experiencing the scenic grandeur of the Sawtooths, require significant excavation and stabilization of an alluvial hillside, put users closer to traffic, impact a designated wetland for parking, and raise other grave concerns for enjoyment and safety of the public’s trail use. We stand with the city of Stanley, the Forest Service and many others in support of the current plan as the best trail and look forward to its completion for the enhancement of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area experience for years to come.

W. Stewart Wilder, president

Sawtooth Interpretive and Historical Association, Stanley

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