Little Sand Creek Watershed - Lower Basin Trail Network Buildout

Project Purpose

Pend Oreille Pedalers is Sandpoint’s local bike club and trails organization. We are responsible for the development and maintenance of trails on City of Sandpoint property in the Little Sand Creek Watershed, where the city owns around 5,000 acres. At present there are 5 miles of trails in the Little Sand Creek’s Lower Basin, which encompasses an area of around 600 acres east of Schweitzer Mountain Road.

In 2020 the Lower Basin trails, as they are known, saw record usage, with an average of 200 riders per day using the trails between July 19th and 28th, as documented by POP’s game cameras.

All users, both on foot and on bike, both uphill and downhill, are currently funneled into a shared two-mile stretch of trail above the lower trailhead. User conflicts are inevitable and constant, as downhill traffic is forced to yield to uphill traffic, resulting in heavy braking, which causes wear and tear on the trail, contributing to tread degradation, rutting, and erosion. The steep gradient of the existing trail (9% average) means the majority of users rely on vehicle shuttles, further endangering the brave few who choose to hike up or climb the trail on their bikes

The Lower Basin Trail Network has not seen a new trail since 2015. In the mean time the level of usage has grown exponentially, resulting in environmental and safety impacts within the network. POP, as the stewards of these trails, is looking to expand the network to mitigate the effects of overuse.

POP’s proposed solution is to build out the Lower Basin trail network to offer users more route options, including designating downhill only routes so as to increase safety for mountain bikers and make the uphill route an attractive option for hikers and trail runners.

POP's Lower Basin Buildout project will occur in two phases.

Lower Basin Trail Network lies 3 miles north of downtown Sandpoint
Existing (solid) and proposed (dashed) Lower Basin Trails

Phase 1 - to be completed in 2021

A new, three mile, multi-user (hiker and biker), multi-directional "green" trail to the east of the existing trail below switchback 4 with an average gradient of 6%. This uphill-friendly trail will incentivize more users to travel uphill in the Basin, reducing dependence on vehicle shuttles and assuring a safe route for hikers and bikers.

Lower Phase 1
Upper Phase 1

Phase 2 - to be completed in 2021 and 2022

A 1.5 mile "blue" flow trail to the west of the existing DH trail between switchbacks 6 and 4, improvements to the existing DH trail between switchbacks 6 and 4, a new DH trail below switchback 4, and resurfacing of existing XC trail for the last 1 mile above the lower trailhead.

Lower Phase 2
Upper Phase 2

Scope of work

In total we will build approximately 5 miles of new trail and do restoration and improvements along approximately 1.5 miles of existing trail.

The ultimate vision is to have three distinct, separate corridors for riders to choose from in the Lower Basin trail network:

  • A “green”, uphill-friendly trail consisting of the new 3-mile route between switchbacks 2 and 4 and the existing XC trail between switchbacks 4 and 6.
  • A “blue”, intermediate, downhill-only trail consisting of the existing XC trail between switchbacks 2 and 4 and a new, flow-trail between switchbacks 4 and 6.
  • A “black”, expert, downhill-only trail consisting of an improved version of the DH trail below switchback 6 and a rerouted DH trail below switchback 4, which will make use of portions of the existing DH trail corridor.

Budget and funding sources

Phase 1

For Phase 1 we are seeking $18,000 in funds from the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation mountain bike license plate fund. To this $10,000 in matching funds will be added from the City of Sandpoint's 2021 Watershed Trail construction and maintenance budget. $6,000 will be sought from the Equinox Foundation. POP will do fundraising among club members to contribute approximately $2,700, and $1,450 of labor (200 hours at $7.25/hr) will be contributed by volunteers.

Total Phase 1 cost: $38,073

Project timeline

Phase 2

For Phase 2 we are seeking $40,000 in funds from the Recreational Trails Program (RTP), also administered by Idaho's Department of Parks and Recreation. $10,000 will be added from the City's 2022 Watershed trail maintenance and construction budget, and we will seek an additional $6,000 in funds from the Equinox Foundation. $1,740 of volunteer labor (240 hours at $7.25/hr) will be contributed by volunteers.

Total Phase 2 cost: $59,740

Phase 1 Budget detail

Professional trail building services provided by Collaborative Trails

  • 12-16 weeks of two full-time and one part-time laborers (two machine operators and one "shovel guy") - $24,960
  • Materials - $2,500
  • Fuel - $1,260
  • Excavator 1 (Kubota U17) - $2,463
  • Excavator 2 (Kubota U25) - $2,440

Total Collaborative Trails bid: $33,623

Collaborative Trails phase 1 bid

Other costs:

  • Force account labor (POP staff salary pertaining to project) - $3,000
  • Volunteer labor (200 hours @ $7.25/hr) - $1,450

Phase 1 estimated cost breakdown

Total phase 1 cost: $38,073

Phase 1 budget narrative

A beginner-level, uphill-friendly, multi-directional trail.

  • Approximately 3 miles in length.
  • Bench: 24-30’’ (Minimal exposure or risk).
  • Slope: 3-6%, with 8% max as ideal (stretches of trail more the 8% will not exceed 100’).

In addition, approximately 1/4 total mile of new DH-only trails to be built as needed. DH-only Specs:

  • Width: 48”-72’’. Slope: -3-6%, with -20% max as ideal (stretches of trail more the 8% will not exceed 500’).
  • Features will be Family Friendly (no gaps). All wood features to be free from arsenic preservatives.

Materials include approximately 100’ of elevated bridging, with instances of railing. Estimated timeframe for completion is 60 to 90 days.

Phase 2 Budget Detail

Professional trail building services provided by Collaborative Trails:

  • 18-22 weeks of two full-time and one part-time laborers (two machine operators and one "shovel guy") - $37,440
  • Materials - $5,000
  • Fuel - $1,890
  • Excavator 1 (Kubota U-17) - $3,696
  • Excavator 2 (Kubota U-25) - $3,660

Total Collaborative Trails bid - $51,686

Collaborative Trails phase 2 bid

Other costs:

  • Force account labor (POP staff salary pertaining to project) - $4,000
  • Volunteer labor (240 hours @$7.25/hr) - $1,740

Phase 2 estimated cost breakdown

Total phase 2 cost estimate - $57,426

Phase 2 budget narrative

A 1.5 mile intermediate (Blue), DH/Flow trail, a .75 mile advanced (Black), DH/Jump trail, and rebuilding of ~1 mile of the existing Lower Basin XC into a DH/Flow trail.

  • Width: 48”-72’’
  • Slope: -3-6%, with -20% max as ideal (stretches of trail more the 8% will not exceed 500’).
  • Features will be family friendly (no gaps).

Materials include approximately 100’ of elevated bridging, with instances of railing. Estimated timeframe is 90 to 120 days.

Phase 1 and 2 details

  • Native surface (mineral soil) and wood.
  • Remove all organic materials and spread evenly in the forest.
  • Shape the in-slope and out-slope to blend into the environment. Borrow pits may be used, if needed (*approval required*).
  • Tread out-sloped whenever possible.
  • Gravity-dips and out-sloping, will serve as the primary drainage structures.
  • Minimal culverts and French drains to be used.
  • Extreme attention to sediment and erosion minimization and
  • Silt fencing to be used as necessary.
  • SEEP and CESCL certified employees on site at all times.
  • 6’ wide by 10’ high (mature trees that do not impact trail alignment can remain).
  • Clear/establish adequate sight-lines around corners.
  • Clear corridor on the uphill/downhill side of the trail.
  • Slash from corridor may be used to close social trails or scattered in the forest.
  • Radius- 20-75’ climbing turns (no switchbacks).
  • Good sight-lines throughout turns.
Other details:
  • Machine 1 is a 2-ton at $1232/mo.
  • Machine 2 is a 3-ton at $1220/mo.
  • Excavator rate based on 50% local Sun Rentals monthly rate for similar machine.
  • Crew size is minimum of two operators and one hand-tool builder.

Letters of support

To communicate the support for our efforts to expand Sandpoint's Lower Basin Trail Network we reached out to stakeholders we believe stand to benefit both directly and indirectly from the project.

  • Schweitzer Mountain Resort, which owns much of the property above the Lower Basin and operates from June - September as a summer recreation destination, strongly supports the project.
  • Kaniksu Land Trust, whose mission is to connect communities to natural places, also supports our project.
  • Businesses, who benefit from increased spending on trail-related activities and increased tourism from riders who come to experience our trails, are represented by the Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce
  • The residents of Schweitzer Mountain are represented by the Selkirk Recreation District, which itself builds and maintains trails further up in the Sand Creek and Schweitzer Basins.
  • Many other groups support our project, as voiced in the letters below.

Schweitzer Mountain Resort

Sandpoint Mayor Shelby Rognstad

Bonner County Recreation Department

Sandpoint Nordic Club

Kaniksu Land Trust

Idaho Trails Association

Selkirk Recreation District

Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce

Selkirk Association of Realtors

9B Trails

Examples of planned features

Project Urgency

a) Describe the urgency of this project due to potential resource damage, or other impacts that may cause an opportunity to be lost if no action is taken. If this project is not funded, what effects will it have?

Spreading rider traffic out with a new trail will minimize the erosive effect of the excessive traffic experienced on the existing trails. Building the trail using sustainable trail design and construction techniques as described by the International Mountain Biking Association, in partnership with the City of Sandpoint’s environmental and water quality experts, will set a new standard for trails in the city’s Watershed. As more riders use the new trails, the environmental and safety risks arising from the overuse of the existing trail will be mitigated, resulting in opportunities for resource conservation that would otherwise be lost.

If this project is not funded, then user conflicts will continue to multiply, resulting in more and more accidents and injuries, while trail degradation and the resulting threat to environmental sustainability, and specifically the City's drinking water supply, will persist, requiring more frequent and focused maintenance efforts by POP volunteers.

b) How does the project address public health and safety issues?

As has been stated, nearly all of the traffic above the switchback 2 trailhead currently funnels onto a single, 2 mile stretch of trail (which we refer to as “Lower Basin XC”). The trail was constructed by POP in 2015, but the trail’s 9% gradient is too steep for the typical recreational mountain biker to climb in comfort, therefore the vast majority of the traffic on this trail consists of downhill, vehicle shuttled, mountain bikers. Those who wish to ride uphill, therefore, must contend with large amounts of high speed, downhill traffic.

A new, longer, gentler gradient trail between 2,600 feet and 3,400 feet (switchbacks 2 and 4 on Schweitzer Mountain Road) will vastly increase safety among the thousands of mountain bikers who ride the Lower Basin Trails each year. What follows is a summary of the health and safety benefits the proposed trail improvements will provide:

  1. A separate, climber-friendly trail will disperse bicycle traffic in the Lower Basin, and all but eliminate the uphill/downhill rider conflicts that happen dozens if not hundreds of times per day on a busy summer day. Fewer collisions and unexpected slamming of the brakes will occur, increasing both rider safety and leading to reduced rutting, erosion, and general wear and tear on the trail surface.
  2. Younger riders, beginners, and novice riders will have the option to ride down the new trail, providing them with a safer, gentler, and therefore more enjoyable “beginner” downhill mountain biking experience compared to the existing Lower Basin XC and DH options that exist (which have average gradients of 9% and 13% respectively). While the new trail will be built with uphill riders in mind, it will be open to downhill traffic, but designed and built in a way that will make riding it at extremely high speeds impossible.
  3. The new trail will be open to all non-motorized users (not including horses), and given its gentler gradient and relative lack of downhill mountain bike traffic, it will likely be an appealing route for hikers, trail runners, and, in particular, huckleberry pickers. The south facing slope, in fact, is prime huckleberry habitat, and we envision hundreds of pickers taking advantage of the new trail in July and early August when the berries are ripe at this elevation. More people outside hiking on trails improves public health and well-being.

Project Impact

Describe how the project creates new opportunities not currently available?

To meet local demand for trails

2020 saw unprecedented demand for outdoor recreation in general and for mountain bike trails in particular. The bike industry, as is well known, saw a historic boom in sales, as millions of Americans got into the sport for the first time or returned to it after years off due to the unusual circumstances posed by the pandemic. In their efforts to experience adventure closer to home, tens of thousands of road trippers, and nearly all locals, made Sandpoint their summer vacation destination (or “staycation” for us locals). Sandpoint’s economy boomed throughout the pandemic, and no small portion of our visitors arrived here with mountain bikes on the backs of their vehicles. As a result, the trailheads along Schweitzer Mountain Road, on any given day in the summer, contained cars with plates from as many as six different states, along with the “regular” local riders who have ridden the Basin Trails for years.

Despite record usage, our local trail networks have not grown to keep up with demand. The last new trail built in the Lower Basin was the POP-funded, Lower Basin “XC” below switchback 4, which in 2015 added about 1 mile to the existing network. In the five years since then, usage has quadrupled while route options have remained the same. By expanding the Lower Basin network POP will meet the demands of the local and visiting mountain biking communities.

To make Sandpoint a "trail town"

By investing in our local trail networks, which are already a popular stop on visitors’ agendas, POP hopes to help make Sandpoint a true “Trail Town,” to which people wish to come specifically because of our amazing trails. While the Lower Basin trails network’s high level of usage points to its popularity, if it is to continue providing local and visiting riders with high levels of amenity it must be expanded to make it safer and more environmentally sustainable.

To continue progress on the Watershed Crest Trail

In 2020 POP received an Idaho MTB license plate fund grant to complete a high alpine trail that is part of the broader Little Sand Creek Watershed trail network, connecting the existing High Point trail to Uleda Ridge high above the Lower Basin of the watershed. After opening this trail in early September, it saw incredibly high levels of usage and drew riders from out of town who came to experience a unique high alpine mountain biking experience in the “front country” of Sandpoint. 

The Uleda trail (which we ultimately named “Solar Ecstasy”) is, in effect, the highest segment of trail within the Little Sand Creek Watershed trail network, of which the Lower Basin is a part. Many mountain bikers who begin their rides in the Lower Basin at 2,600 feet eventually climb all the way to Solar Ecstacy, which tops out at 6,100 feet. The proposed "green" trail would provide provide users with a new option covering the first three miles of this contiguous route that would match the final three miles in design, construction quality, and level of enjoyment. At present, Lower Basin XC trail, with its 9% grade, is twice as steep as Solar Ecstacy, which while beginning 3,100 higher up in the network offers riders a much easier and more enjoyable 4.5% average gradient.

POP plans to eventually extend the Uleda trail beyond the point we ended at in 2020, ultimately completing the “Watershed Crest Trail” that will circle the entire Little Sand Creek Watershed. While our priorities in 2021 and 2022 lie are in relieving pressure in the more intensively used Lower Basin area, our plans for 2023 and beyond include completing the WCT, which will entail building 12 more miles from Uleda Ridge back to the Lower Basin.

Plan or Survey

Is this project included in an outdoor recreation plan or survey? How does this project relate to the recommendations of the plan?

Bonner County Trails Plan

The 2016 Bonner County Trails Plan, which aimed to “identify the highest-priority areas for connecting and expanding in-town and backcountry trail systems.” ranked trails by priority in several phases based on the value placed on various proposed trails in Bonner County. The Watershed Crest Trail (WCT), of which this project would include the first three miles, “had the highest weighted score of any proposed trail.”

Read: Bonner County Trails Plan

City of Sandpoint Watershed Master Plan

In 2020 the City of Sandpoint undertook a detailed environmental assessment covering the city’s 5,000+ acres of property in the watershed, with the aim of creating a formalized process for permitting continued development of the watershed for recreation and other purposes as part of its development of a new Watershed Master Plan. In February of 2021 city council will vote to approve the new permit process, after which time POP and any other group wishing to develop recreational amenities in the watershed will be able to formally apply for a permit. 

In the interim, POP has been communicating closely with city staff about our desire to build new trails on city property in the watershed, an effort towards which the city has been supportive, even offering POP city funds to put forward as a match for any grant we are able to secure.

POP currently holds a “Watershed Trails License Agreement” with the City of Sandpoint, wherein Sandpoint city council “approves an agreement with Pend Oreille Pedalers for the construction, maintenance, and preservation of selected aspects of the new Watershed Crest Trail.” In the agreement, it is acknowledged that, “Pend Oreille Pedalers desire to construct trails in the Little Sand Creek Watershed and will be responsible for ongoing care and maintenance of the trails.” 

Read: City of Sandpoint Letter of Support for WCT

Read: POP and City of Sandpoint License Agreement

Idaho's Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP)

City and County plans for trails in the Watershed are not the only plans into which the proposed trail fits. The 2018 Idaho Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) said, 

“As Idaho’s urban areas continue to grow, the demand for urban outdoor recreation opportunities will increase, and much of that burden will fall on local governments to provide the appropriate facilities and programs within these areas. Additionally, public lands and open space adjacent to these urban areas will continue to see increased pressure on the existing facilities and resources, challenging land managers to balance opportunities with the preservation of the natural resources.”

Sandpoint, and more broadly Bonner and Kootenai Counties, are some of fastest growing regions in the state of Idaho today. According to Sandpoint’s 2020 draft Comprehensive Plan, “a 3.4% growth rate through 2025 is forecasted,” and, “an annual overall growth rate of 2.7% through 2040 is projected considering historic census data as well as recent development trends and is shown in the chart below. At this rate, Sandpoint could reach around 16,700 residents by 2040, nearly doubling in size.” 

Source: Sandpoint Comprehensive Plan Update, Existing Conditions Summary: July 1, 2020

The pressure this growth brings on existing trail infrastructure is intense, as evidenced by the record usage POP-maintained trails have experienced in recent years. Given POP’s relationship with the city of Sandpoint, it is our organization’s responsibility to assure user safety and environmental sustainability of our recreational trails on city-owned property. 

The 2018 Idaho SCORP also stated,

“Impacts on recreational use and demand from large population centers proximate to Idaho’s borders must also be considered. Recreational facilities in the northern regions of Idaho see considerable use from the Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA Metropolitan area (population 540,915). Much of this use occurs on Idaho’s... non-motorized trails.”

With Spokane just over an hour drive away, and with limited access to mountain biking trails in that area, many Spokane mountain bikers make the drive to Sandpoint on weekends to enjoy POP-maintained trails, most notably the Lower Basin trails, of which the proposed project is a part. Out of state riders of POP-maintained trails bring benefits to the Sandpoint community, including consumer spending at outdoor retail outlets, restaurants, accommodation providers, and so on. 

Read: Idaho Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan

Why support POP's Lower Basin Buildout?

After an extraordinarily successful project building the High Point to Uleda Ridge trail (Solar Ecstasy) in summer 2020 using MTB license plate grant funds, POP is eager to keep the momentum going towards the completion of the WCT. 2021 will mark five years since the initiation of the Bonner County Trails plan, within which the WCT was the highest prioritized trail. 2020 saw huge progress on the highest segment of the trail, and in 2021 POP wishes to pursue the “low hanging fruit” in the Lower Basin, which also happens to be THE most heavily used zone within the entire Watershed.

In summary, the Watershed Crest Trail, as described in the Bonner County Trails Plan, is the highest priority proposed trail in the entire 1,920 square mile area the plan covers. Furthermore, Idaho’s State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan raises the issues that Sandpoint’s local trails are experiencing as a direct result of local population growth and growing demand from population centers in adjacent states, notably Spokane and Spokane Valley. The city of Sandpoint’s Watershed management and recreation plan, currently in development, identifies Pend Oreille Pedalers as the party with the responsibility to “construct trails in the Little Sand Creek Watershed” and for the “ongoing care and maintenance of the trails.” 

By supporting the current project, therefore, the IDPR will help meet the urgent need for improved safety, sustainability, and public health, while supporting economic and community development in the North Idaho region.

58 thoughts on “Lower Basin Buildout – two-year plan”

  1. As a volunteer trail builder and avid mountain biker I fully support building out the lower basin trail system. Too many times I have had close calls with cars as I peddle back up the road as the existing trail is not uphill friendly. New trails in the Sandpoint area will help in attracting more tourism as well. That in turn will help our local small businesses.

  2. Designated up and down one way trails are exactly what that area needs to relieve pressure and to increase safety for ALL users! Great spot close to population that is popular for good reason.

  3. Not having to rely on a shuttle and being able to utilize a trail to ride up would be awesome. That is the main reason we dont spend more time on that trail system. We enjoy earning the down hill. We love all the bike trails available and really enjoy riding all year around

  4. Looks like a great plan, very comprehensive and detailed. Very happy to see some emphasis put toward recreational multiuse trails. I’m both a novice and a geezer and recreational trails are definitely my cup of tea. My experience is the lower basin varies between busy and very busy during much of year and it’s fantastic you’re taking the time to come up with solutions to address the loading the area sees.
    Thanks… you’re doing a great job with this.

  5. The Lower Basin Downhill trail system is one of the best parts about living in Sandpoint – which is saying something. Having access to this trail network, right out the back door, where you can climb around 4k feet, is amazing. We’ve lived in Bend and Bozeman and these trails are one of the main reasons we moved to Sandpoint. They’re well built, fun, and a really important part of this community, especially in years like this where we’re dealing with Covid. As the town grows, along with Schweitzer, these biking trails will continue to be a reason people choose to stay and invest in N. Idaho. We love the trails, support the trails, and can’t believe how fortunate we are to have access to these right in our backyard. Cheers!

  6. POP is the most beneficial and well backed organization I have come across in my mountain bike travels throughout the country!

  7. This plan would greatly increase the fun and safety on the lower basin trail network; I might even ride up hill more than once this coming summer.

  8. POP works tirelessly to create and promote AMAZING trail opportunities for our small, rural community. Hikers, bikers, walkers and runners of all abilities utilize these trails for recreational purposes. The local trails, in particular the Lower Basin network, are a HUGE attraction to our area. People come from all over to use these trails, even from out of the country. Adding additional trails will make Lower Basin safe for all users!

  9. This proposed trail addition in the Lower Basin is a great additional asset to the community. In addition, it creates a much safer environment for mixed trail use and uphill users. The support of grant providers does so much to further the mission of POP and help offset the impacts of the increased recreational demand.

  10. I support the current project for the lower basin buildout. I ride it quite a bit, which is why I felt it necessary to donate to the POP and become a member. I think this would greatly improve safety, and expand the types of people that can access the trail. I hope to see the trail system continue to grow and I will continue to use it and financially donate when I can. I think that the trail system will see increased demand year over year, especially as word gets out about this special trail system. Thus improvements are extremely necessary to ensure that the trails are rideable, and safe.

    Thanks for all the hard work, and I look forward to the improvements.

  11. As Designated Agent for Selkirk Powder Company, a duly licensed Idaho Outfitter and Guide service, I can attest for the great job POP has done managing and improving the Lower Basin Trail system. Their concerted efforts re: safety signage, lines of sight, standing water mitigation and tread surface maintenance schedule have vastly improved the trail system and it’s evident with the huge increase in ridership. With this increased use comes even more challenges but the group running POP is adeptly handling these challenges. I wholeheartedly support their mission and humbly request that their grant requests are approved.
    Thank you,
    Ken Barrett, President & Designated Agent
    Selkirk Powder Company
    IOGLB license #13314

  12. After reviewing the proposed trail construction I am in support of the proposed project. Adding the Blue and Green rated trails will make for safer riding on this popular section in Sand Creek.

  13. The new trails are perfect for this growing community of biking enthusiasts. Seems like trails are being built for all levels and types of riders the projects like these are key to this community.

  14. First of all just wanted to comment on the amazing job you all are doing with the trails in Sandpoint. I live in Spokane most of the year but for the last 10 years my wife, kids and I spends most of the summer in Sandpoint. I am a POP member, well I need to renew this year and I will. The growth of the trails is great but it is the quality of the trails that is amazing. I am a little biased at nearly 50 YO as I mostly ride cross country. Designated uphill trails in Basin area would be great. Used to be I would see 1 maybe 2 people coming down when climbing but now it is getting dangerous. I am not a big fan of some of the structures that you are proposing. I have seen other areas build wooden structures and I have seen them deteriorate quickly and don’t feel that they hold well compared to the amount of time and money they require to build. I have spent a lot of time in Bend, OR and they have amazing trails with awesome jumps but I don’t recall any wooden structures. On the other hand when I first started riding the area i ride in Rossland and saw many wooded bridges and jumps built but within a few years many needed to be knocked down because they were unsafe. I would suggest sticking with dirt. My biggest wish is to get the trail moving towards Mount Baldy. I like cross country high mountain loops. Again! Great job and much appreciated…

    1. Hey Christian!
      Our wood structures are non-toxic, family-friendly, and professionally engineered. Additionally, they aren’t expensive to build. I promise that anything we build from wood will be beyond satisfactory of your standards! If you’d like a tour of Collaborative Trails’ techniques we can schedule a ride-along. We love dirt, rock, and wood equally. You are correct that it can be utilized poorly, but it has its’ place. 🙂

  15. This is a great plan! I think the build out of Watershed Crest will really put Sandpoint on the map as a biking destination. That can be a significant economic driver for the community!

    Thanks for the work!

  16. I like the idea of climbing trails. I also would like to see drop/jump session park.

  17. Hello!
    I am an avid fan of mountain biking on the lower basin trail system in Sandpoint, Idaho. As it turns out, I’m not alone in this sentiment. The system is getting busier and busier every year, which is great! It’s important to get outside and be active. What’s not great is unnecessary trail damage and the potential for injury resulting from overuse caused by the abundance of trail users. To mitigate this we need more trails (and jumps) to space the people out and keep the good times rolling. So please give us license plate money and well keep having a good time. Yeehaw!

  18. Hi! This sounds fantastic!! Having a green trail for beginners and kids will bring more into the sport. The nicely graded uphill trail is also huge for reducing all the traffic on Schweitzer mountain rd. Sign me up!

  19. Adding more trails of different skill levels is not only exciting for those of us that love to ride but also for new, up and coming biking enthusiasts!! The more miles we can add means more miles to share the love and give people of all abilities the chance to experience something really fun and incredible! I love the new Uleda trail and I cannot wait to see what’s in store for the future!

  20. Love the desire to make the uphill more appealing to ride. Although I LOVE it now! It will be great to have more options to disperse the users.

  21. As a hiker I love the existing trail. This will be a huge improvement. Well thought out and planned. Great job POP.

  22. I agree that the addition of an uphill trail and downhill only trails are essential for the basin trails. This is something that us uphill peddlers have been talking about due to the increase in downhill traffic on the trails.
    It would be a safer alternative and allow for more users including hikers, runners, walkers and families.
    Thanks for all that you do POP!

  23. This is a well thought out plan that will be an economic boost to the local economy and add / improve outdoor recreational opportunities to both Bonner County residents and visitors. The expansion of the trail system will allow more people to get into nature which offers a wealth of benefits to society.

  24. This expansion is going to make the Basin Trail system so much more enjoyable to ride. Direction specific trails offer better safety for those riding and result in a more fun trail experience. The uphill trail is going to be a game changer for reducing shuttle traffic on a road that already has lots of vehicle and road bike traffic on it. Great job! Cant wait to see it happen.

  25. These plans all sound excellent! Flow trails are fun and popular. My one suggestion is that there is a great need for directional trails. There should be one designated climbing trail and the other trails should be downhill only. It’s dangerous to be flying down the lower part of lower basin xc where there are some super fun jumps, but you never know if you’re going to land on someone climbing. The popular trail network in Spokane, “Beacon Hill”, has made directional trails and it makes a huge difference. It makes the trails safer and more enjoyable. Keep up the good work!

    1. Great suggestion, Jenna! That is our plan with the first trail we hope to build using funds from the license plate grant this summer!

  26. That area is in desperate need of more trails. The bike community here is impressive as are the trail systems adding a more miles at that location can only help. Super excited to see what comes next.

  27. As an avid MTB’r and property owner at Schweitzer Ski Resort, I utilize the Basin trail quite often. Sometimes, shuttling and sometime riding up from the lower parking lot. I agree having optional climbing routes will increase safety as well as enjoyment! I support this plan!

  28. This has been a long time coming and it is great to see all the hard work coming together. I applaud Jason for this amazing informative report and opportunity to acquire grant money. A big thanks to our wonderful trail builders and all of our volunteers for cleaning up the tread. Looking forward to riding bottom to top to bottom!

  29. Great plan – I’m super excited for an uphill friendly trail. I’m not one to use a shuttle and would rather ride up under my own power. Now, it’s a grunt and I have to get off my bike to ride the current “cross-country” trail. This multi-direction trail will help create connectivity with community trails in the Sandpoint/Ponderay area from Schweitzer. Thanks!

  30. Pend Oreille Pedalers has been doing an incredible job planning and implementing new trails in the Sandpoint area. They also put a huge effort into improving and maintaining the existing trails. These proposed trails in the lower basin are much needed. My family regularly rides these trails during the summer months and would love to see some directional trails added that would increase the safety (and fun) for all trail users.

  31. I am super excited to volunteer to help build and to ride these proposed trails. Proposed additions will greatly increase the safety of the system and exponentially increase the fun factor. The lower basin system along with the Rec trail system and Schweitzer have put our area on the map for mountain biking. I am always excited when I meet riders from out of the area that are here exploring what we have built. Keep up the good work.

  32. This is a great plan. Thanks POP. The directional trail plan is greatly needed, and the rebuilding of existing trail segments will ensure their sustainability. Two options for downhill only is a huge improvement. Has there been any thought to designating the XC trail/“green” trail as uphill only for cyclists (and maybe up/down for hikers)? As it is, it seems many uphill xc riders will opt to also descend on that trail rather than the downhill trails, and not necessarily at a slow pace. A downhill only xc trail could be a future phase, essentially creating a xc loop in the lower basin, if space allows.

    1. This project includes a new, 3-mile uphill trail between switchbacks 2 and 4. Not described here, but also a plan we have, is to improve the existing XC trail between 4 and 6, maybe reworking some of the steep sections to make them more climbable. The hope is when this work is all finished riders can climb the new green trail and the existing XC trail all the way to switchback 6, then descend either the blue flow trail or the black trail back to 4, then hop on the NEW black trail or the existing Lower Basin XC trail for the last two miles back to switchback 2.

    2. Hey Charles! The new XC/Green/Uphill will be built in a way to keep DH speeds VERY low. It’s pretty easy to build a trail that’s not fun to descend at speed. I want to keep this trail multi-directional so that Beginners and Kids can ride back down. It will be a very chill descent. That said, I do like your idea to build a new XC/DH-Only trail! I’m all-in!!!!

  33. The commitment that POP has made to the trail systems here is very impressive. In my opinion your work is leaving our amazing landscapes looking even better. The attention to detail and responsibility taken in your projects definitely has my support for this project. Let’s make it happen!

  34. So excited for the new trail projects!
    I feel like the uphill trail will be a big positive for all trail users, and the flow and advanced trails will be great additions. Love how the community is really embracing the sport and taking charge of progressing and maintaining our trails. Huge thanks to POP and everyone involved

  35. I fully support this plan and am excited to see it get started! As a long time Bonner county resident I’ve seen first hand the amazing work done by POP and Kaniksu Land Trust in creating/providing public land and trail systems. The lower basin trails are a personal favorite mtb riding location and the addition of an uphill trail option sounds amazing! Riding up Schweitzer Mtn road is sketchy given the lack of shoulder space and the consistent car traffic… and riding up the xc trail is risking a head on crash with downhill bike riders. Keep up the good work POP! The expansion of trails in the last few years is exciting and impressive… makes me want to get out there to help with trails and to ride more.

  36. I look forward to improvements on the climbing portions of Lower Basin to make it a bit more user-friendly for those of us that like to earn our downhill after a good climb. Making trails directional will also improve that experience. Thanks POP for all your hard work on making this a great mountain biking town!

  37. As a former road cyclist turned mountain mountain biker primarily because of the limited options to ride safely in Sandpoint without vehicle traffic, I strongly support this project. POP builds high quality trails and the demand is certainly growing as more work from home people are finding Sandpoint desirable.

  38. I am one of the new comers in the Sandpoint region, I moved my family here to be able to enjoy more of the outdoor scene! With the rise in population I feel it is important to expand and enhance all the great assets this area has to offer. This plan sounds great for both the people of the community as well as the preservation on the land in question. Allowing people to continue doing the activities they live here to do, in a safer and more enjoyable way! Thank you to everyone putting this together, I am looking forward to helping out in any way possible.

  39. As a mountain biker and a trail runner I’m excited for the new green trails on lower basin! It will be awesome to not have to worry about crashing into someone peddling or running up the nice, flowing downhill sections.

  40. Excellent work. Having separate uphill/downhill trails is crucial to 1) avoid conflict 2) make for a better user experience. Some more long “epic” loop trails would be nice as well (think wasatch crest trail, colorado trail etc..) Having more trails that are rideable from town will continue to improve Sandpoint as a mtb destination.

  41. As a former Evergreen East Board member, covering Eastern Washington, this proposed trail system will significantly contribute to our regional network and further the economic impact with the active lifestyle (ie. sprinter van) tourism to our corner of the PNW. This coupled with Highspeed connectivity that opens living options outside of metropolitan areas, this compliments the quality of life the Inland Northwest residents value. We completely support this effort! Very well presented.

    1. Thank you Jonathan!
      And thank you for your performance as a former Evergreen East Board Member.

  42. Love all the thought y’all are putting into the expansion. I love the ascending trails out in Washington, as they help to reduce accidents, and make for a fun cruise up. Thanks for all the hard work, see you on trail crew!

  43. I’ve been riding these trails for close to ten years, the latest additions and improvements make them epic in every way. I’ve also been lucky enough to ride in many states and few different country’s, this system of trails, plus the community support make this an amazing destination to live, play, ride, work and raise kids that is unparalleled. It is so awesome how we can all appreciate the majestic forests and all that the inland northwest has to offer. I am so proud to know the people behind these improvements, worked along side them, ridden with them, laughed with them and shared in their vision. In a word I am stoked for what the future brings!

  44. This is exactly what Sandpoint’s trails has needed for years! I can’t wait to be a part of building this recourse for the community. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen bikers (and have been that biker) headed down the lower bason DH and have intersected uphill traffic in the bottlenecks of DH and XC merged trails. It scares me every time I don’t see the other rider(s) around the corner, and I’m sure they feel the same. Additionally, with the work put into the Uleda point trail, this section sees more uphill traffic than ever before. Having an multidirectional green trail would make all players happy to share the space. Great work POP!

  45. Yet another value add to the Greater Sandpoint area. My family and I enjoy the benefits of the efforts put forth by PoP and look forward to years of outdoor activity thanks to the continued thoughtful trail development.

  46. I’ve been part of this trail net work for a long time. sitting with the city,Schweitzer,Selkirk rec,Independent why. It has been in the works for many years It is nice that P.O.P. has a E.D. now to be able to spend more time with all the stake holders Thanks Mike Murray

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