Homestead Trail Now Open
The popular Homestead Trail – part of the Boise River Wildlife Management Area (WMA) – is once again open for use by foothills recreationists. The trail was closed after the Table Rock wildfire roared through the area, burning more than 2,500 acres, and nearly 1,000 acres of wildlife habitat on the WMA. “We’re happy to re-open the trail to foothills users,” Fish and game regional habitat manager Jerry Deal noted.
The only caveat is that users stay on the trail; cross-country travel through any burned area within the WMA is prohibited.
Directly east of the Table Rock wildlife, the Mile Marker 14 wildfire is now out, having scorched nearly 4,300 acres of the best wildlife habitat on the WMA. ‘This was a tremendous blow to wildlife, particularly wintering mule deer,” Deal said. “The area last burned in 1957. It will be decades before we see full recovery.”
Portion of Shaw Mountain Road Reopens
With one exception, all roads and trails encompassed by the Mile Marker 14 wildfire perimeter remain closed to all public travel. The exception is a small portion of the Shaw Mountain Road, which links the West Highland Valley Trail with the Lucky Peak Trail. “That section of the Shaw Mountain Road is now again open to the public,” Deal said. “It’s a key linkage for users of the Homestead, West Highland Valley, Cobb, and Lucky Peak Trails, so we wanted to make it available to users as soon as possible.” As with the Homestead Trail, off-trail travel is prohibited in this area.
Fish and Game staff continue to work with Bureau of Land Management staff to develop a recovery plan for both burned areas. “A multi-year rehabilitation effort will begin this fall, continuing into the winter and next spring,” Deal said. “Re-establishing wildlife habitat is not like rebuilding a structure. Habitat recovery will take many years of effort.”
Looking For Volunteers
News of the wildfires has motivated a number of citizen volunteers to step forward and offer to help with the rehabilitation effort. “More than two hundred people, individuals, scout groups, and other organized groups have already signed up to help with rehabilitation efforts which will include sagebrush and bitterbrush seed collection and planting,” Fish and Game volunteer coordinator Michael Young noted. “It’s gratifying to see how many folks care enough about foothills wildlife to want to help with the rehabilitation effort.” Learn more about the volunteer effort or sign up to help at https://idfg.idaho.gov/form/boise-river-wma-rehab.
Contact: Evin Oneale, Idaho Department of Fish & Game, 208-465-8465