POCATELLO — Some of the paths within the City Creek Trail system are no longer choked by overgrown brush and overhanging branches, thanks to a new volunteer group.
The volunteers meet twice per month to conduct City Creek trail maintenance. They say trail users should expect to see more sections of the popular recreation area better manicured in the near future.
Old Town Pocatello-based East Fork Bikes has partnered with the staff at Fairway Independent Mortgage to organize regular volunteer trail maintenance shifts, starting at 7 p.m. on the first and third Tuesdays of each summer month. The group launched on June 18 and plans to continue with trail maintenance through September.
Volunteers meet at East Fork, 346 N. Main St., and gather back at the shop after completing their work for a free dinner. The Sand Trap Grill caters the food at a discounted rate, and a few local businesses, such as Brizzee Family Medicine and Art of Motion Chiropractic pitch in to help buy the meals.
“If we want the quality of the trails to stay the same then more people are going to have to start pitching in on the maintenance of the trails,” said Ty Nelson, owner of East Fork. “You don’t have to be a biker to come help with the trail maintenance.”
Jeremy Lambson, with Fairway Independent Mortgage, said he and his staff were mulling ways to do community service. As an avid cyclist since 1994, he thought trail maintenance at City Creek would be an apt way to give back to the community — especially given that the former Pedal Fest mountain bike race, which used to raise funds for building bridges and other projects at City Creek — has been discontinued.
“We felt somebody needed to keep that up,” Lambson said, referring to the void left in the absence of Pedal Fest. “We just saw a need.”
Lambson approached Nelson about the concept. Nelson already had similar plans in mind. During the most recent maintenance session, about 17 volunteers showed up to work for about two hours, trimming branches throughout the entire main stem trail of City Creek.
During the next maintenance session, Lambson said the group will focus on the Burrito and Prison Loop trails — cutting weeds, installing erosion bars and filling in ruts.
Lambson anticipates participation in the maintenance sessions will grow considerably.
“On any give day, we’ve got 400 to 500 trail users on City Creek alone, and I would say we’ve got another 400 to 500 runners,” Lambson said. “It shouldn’t be hard to get 40 (volunteers) one day for an hour and a half.”
The group works closely with the city in planning its projects.
Lambson also envisions organizing a bike festival in August, to be called the Rubber Side Down Festival. He’s planning to host road cycling and mountain biking relay races for teams of four.
“We want to involve anybody who cycles in any capacity,” Lambson said.
Though the group is devoted to trail maintenance, Lambson also plans to pursue approval for a new trail this fall, which would be an advanced course for downhill bikers spanning from the Ritalin trail to 911.
Casey Hyde, another volunteer from the mortgage company, hopes the maintenance nights will “gain traction” so that they become a local summer tradition.
For more information about the group, visit East Fork Bikes on Facebook.