PUBLIC LANDS -- Trail maintenance budgets for work on national forests continue to shrink.
Here's an excerpt from an interview I did recently with Mike Ball, the Forest Service river ranger for the Idaho side of the Hells Canyon National Recreation area and wilderness.
“I started here eight years ago and the money for trail maintenance has been cut about 50 percent in that time,” he said.
The Forest Service each year maintains only about a third of the 207 trail miles on the Idaho side, he said.
“Kathy Conover, our trails maintenance coordinator out of Riggins, has been on staff for years. But our budget is so poor, I can’t even hire a seasonal worker to partner with her out on the wilderness trails where chainsaws aren't allowed.
"It’s pretty hard to work a two-man cross-cut saw with only one person.”