COMMUNITY ASKED TO JOIN TRAIL EFFORT
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EMPHASIS ON TRAILS 4-17-13 LMS

The Youth Employment Program (YEP) is putting its formidable energy into local trails and is inviting all those with similar interests to join the effort.

During a public comment opportunity at the April 17 meeting of the Salmon City Council, YEP representative Steve Adams gave council members a brief overview of the YEP program’s current focus.

Adams said YEP has written a grant to the CHC Foundation for the purpose of funding two cargo trailers that will be filled with tools and be made available, on loan, for work on local trail projects. YEP will coordinate the trail effort and is inviting groups such as Back Country Horsemen and the Ridge Runners, as well as hiking and walking groups, to join in on inventorying and tracking of local trail use. The information gathered will be used to make recommendations to the public land agencies and to develop trail project plans for possible state funding.

Adams said funding has come from an unusual direction, by way of a great deal of hard work on the part of YEP and many local residents. He said the revenue source is the Federal Highway Transportation Bill. Adams said how Idaho’s share of the bill’s the ”Map 21 Program” money would be used was up to the Idaho Transportation Board. The choices available were; just retain the trail funds that were in the bill, use the funds for road projects or put it into trails as they were designated.

Adams said that in the beginning the state board was tending towards using the money on roads rather than allocate the $3 million to communities for trails. Thanks to the YEP staff and local, dedicated trail users the board was persuaded to retain the money for community trails which will include pathways, bikeways and recreational trails. Adams said, “That was a huge effort! To get that money was very important to communities like Salmon.” He said the trails are not only important to the people who live here but for visitors who may want to stay longer because of them.

Since it was founded the Youth Employment Program has employed in the neighborhood of 600 young people. 2013 is its 19th year.

Adams invited council members to a social evening of fish tacos and Film Fest at the Odd Fellows Hall on Friday April 19. He said the event was planned in conjunction with Earth Day to provide information about the YEP and its goals.


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