Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Temporary Bridge keeps Snowmobiles on the Trails

  Garden Valley trail groomer, Rick Woytko, was the first person to drive over the recently installed Scriver Creek Bridge. “It’s a very awesome bridge that is only on loan for our snowmobilers this year,” he says, “but the Forest Service is working on getting a permanent bridge.”
The 1996 bridge was snowmobilers' community effort.
  Snowmobilers are grateful to the Forest Service, Boise County Commissioners, and the Idaho State Snowmobilers Association (ISSA), for making it happen. Snowmobiler, Rick Van Valkenburgh, says, “I think it’s great—it’s steel—it won’t rot.”
  Van Valkenburgh was “one of the older ones”, including Woytko and Dave Reimer, who built the old log bridge in 1996. By 2011, the bridge was rotted and usage was warned against by Forest Service officials.
  According to Woytko, County Commissioner, Jamie Anderson, went to bat for a bridge replacement, and after two meetings with the Forest Service and ISSA, the Garden Valley Snowmobilers Club was told there was a temporary bridge that they could use.
  “They hauled it in two halves on a log truck, unloaded it, and installed the forty-foot-long bridge before we knew what happened!” says Woytko. “At one meeting, we were talking about the possibility of having to clear snow to install it, and the next thing we knew, someone had gone up on a 4-wheeler before the snow, came back and said, ‘It’s up!’”
The old Scriver Creek Bridge was new once, and
although she has been replaced, she was a
sturdy old gal who faithfully served snowmobilers
and various "non-approved" vehicles for many years.
  Woytko avers that this is a vital bridge, which hooks up all trails around here. The Garden Valley trailhead is located at Terrace Lakes Resort and offers seventeen miles of groomed trails, to the Packer John Trail system to the north. The GV system also connects with the Smith’s Ferry system. Groomed trails go to Silver Lake, Six Mile, Boiling Springs, and Clear Creek. The Packer John system offers a 31-mile loop. From Terrace Lakes, you can actually access the 50-mile groomed trail to Cougar Mountain Lodge, in Cascade, and keep on going.
  “Scriver Creek is a big creek when it starts to melt—spanning forty-feet across the water,” says the busy groomer. “Snowmobilers are funny. If they can load and unload their snowmobiles once, rather than load and unload again, that’s where they want to go. It would really hurt the economy up here, without this very vital bridge. They would go elsewhere.”
  Van Valkenburgh agrees. “The bridge serves the snowmobile community as a whole and also summer recreation.”
  There was no ceremony to celebrate this critical and, from the sounds of it, much appreciated bridge, which crosses Scriver Creek about five miles up the road from the Middle Fork—just a trail groomer who was thrilled to his bones to know this bridge would make it possible for many snowmobilers to pursue this popular winter sport.
  Woytko says ruefully, “They put signs on it that say it’s for snowmobiles and groomers only. The first week, one-hundred-and-fifty cars and pick-ups went over it, looking for Christmas trees. I won’t tell you the license plate numbers, but I think when the Forest Service puts up the permanent bridge, they will put up gates.”


  1. I seem to remember that the 1996 bridge project was greatly "funded" by Ron Heffner and his donation of logs for the project.

  2. Gosh, thanks for that information!They look like great logs--I understand part of one was put aside to be saved. Not sure where it is.