Kelly O'Neill - Frank Church Lead Wilderness Steward
Marble Creek Trail is a portion of the Idaho Centennial Trail that has been notoriously rugged and tricky to navigate in years past. As it meanders along Marble Creek, the trail encounters numerous creek crossings and passes through miles of burned area. In preparation for this year’s volunteer trip, I scoured resources for information on the trail condition, location, etc. I was answered with many unknowns and find-out-when-you-get-theres. Thrilling! What I did know was that the trail head was quite remote—true. There would be no radio communication—very true. The condition of the road was poor—true, and worse for the horse trailer. The jury was completely out on the trail status and type of work to be done. Turns out 2016 SBFC did an excellent job and made our time on Marble Creek significantly smoother.
Last year SBFC ran two volunteer projects on Marble Creek. During this time they cleared at least 6 miles of trail (maybe more?) and cleaned up a log jam that had been rendering the trail impassable for some users, and super hairy for others. The work completed in 2016 allowed our group to, comparatively, waltz in 6 miles and work south from a far more convenient base camp. We spent two days clearing fallen trees, and two days fixing rock wall and creek crossing blow-outs. During our short time on the Marble Creek trail, we cleared to a point just shy of Buck Creek, and repaired some retaining walls that were separating from the slope and slipping away with the waters.
On the trip there were 6 volunteers, 2 SBFC interns, Sally for a few days, and Jesse Forest Service Ranger for a few other days. Mr. John Binninger packed us in and out—it was a true treat to have him. I owe many thanks to this list of people! Simply getting out to Marble Creek was tough work, but I continued to be impressed and humbled by the helpfulness and positivity of each person on the trip. I had been rather anxious in the days leading up to the project – hoping for everything to go smoothly, eager to get plenty of good work done. As it turned out all my fretting was for not, because the group of people I got to work with made my job breezy. Every volunteer was so willing to work hard! Both interns, Steve and Gabe, were nonstop on point! Sally made food shopping ten times easier and was a very supportive presence! Jesse FS cleared our way to basecamp—road and trail! Jon and his string provided endless delight, lighter loads and great coffee!
So, if it is not clear by my overuse of the exclamation point, I am incredibly grateful to these folks. I could not be more pleased with the work we accomplished. Perhaps Marble Creek is becoming a bit of a legacy for SBFC. It is a beautiful slice of wilderness, and a prominent example of why we do what we do.