FAQ on Trail Access between Troy & Kendrick
Can I go from Troy to Kendrick?
No. While Latah County now owns much of the right-of-way in Bear Creek Canyon between Troy and Kendrick, several pieces are owned by others, which the public has no right to access. We must respect our neighboring landowners by not trespassing on their land. It is also important to protect our land, and our neighbors’ land by preventing inappropriate uses—no motorized vehicles, fires or camping. It is critical to prevent fire in Bear Creek Canyon.
How far can I go?
Permissible public access on the trail is clearly marked. Respect posted signs and fences. Now that bridge improvements are made, the first 4 miles of trail leaving from Troy City Park are open.
When can I go on more of the trail?
The Latah Trail Foundation will be raising money to support Latah County’s efforts to acquire additional right-of-way and improve the trail.
What will it take for the trail to go all the way to Kendrick?
If and when the remainder of private property in Bear Creek Canyon can be acquired, the trail will connect the entire length of the old rail bed between Troy and Kendrick. However, private landowners currently own entire segments of right-of-way, including full ownership of 1 bridge and 1.3 miles of right-of-way.
What is the condition of the trail and will it be paved?
The trail is a currently a graveled surface. Trail paving is a question that will be decided by the County in the future.
FAQ on Moscow-Troy Trail
Throughout the planning process, members of the planning team and the general public raised several recurring questions. The following questions and answers provide insight into how various issues were addressed.
Why not leave the old railroad alone?
Some people have suggested that the trail just be left alone and not "developed;" they enjoy walking on it as it is right now. They wonder why we can’t just leave it that way.
In order for a non-motorized trail to be useful for a wide variety of users, issues of ownership, safety, and public access must be addressed. If the rail bed were just left alone, it is likely that neighboring landowners would treat it as they saw fit for the piece of ground adjacent to them. Some may choose to purchase it and convert the rail bed to a motorized or non-motorized trail past their property; others may convert it into other uses. By maintaining the rail bed as one unified trail between Moscow and Troy, a standard treatment for a trail can be established, and members of both communities will have access to this alternative transportation/recreation corridor. Trail users will be using County-owned land for non-motorized transportation and recreation, crossing safe bridges and staying off the highway. More people will reap the benefits.
Is this a "rail trail?"
While this trail is being built upon a former rail bed, it is not considered a rail trail as defined by the federal law that allows for "rail banking." That federal statute requires that provisions for setting aside land for the trail occur within a short period of time after the rail line is abandoned. Rail banking means that a railroad can come back and convert the trail back into a rail line. This was the case for the Bill Chipman-Palouse Trail. In contrast, the Latah Trail was abandoned in 1984. Trail discussions didn't start in earnest until 1997, about 13 years too late for rail banking protection. Therefore, Latah County purchased much of the rail bed from the railroad salvage company and acquired permanent easements for the remaining parcels from neighboring landowners.
Who is going to use the trail?
The Latah Trail provides non-motorized users a safe route between Troy and Moscow. Many non-motorized users can be found on the trail, including bicyclists, walkers, runners, in-line skaters, wheelchair users, strollers, and cross-country skiers. Motorized users will continue to use State Highway 8, and/or county roads.
What type of surface will be on the trail?
When the tracks were removed, the railroad salvage company left a variety of surfaces along the route of the trail. Different users prefer different surfaces, but asphalt is a commonly used surface for bicyclists, walkers, runners, in-line skaters, wheelchairs, and strollers. As a surface to accommodate a variety of non-motorized transportation and to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards, asphalt is the most versatile, because it is firm, smooth, durable, affordable, and available.
Will there be a dirt or natural surfaced path?
Although the most desired surface was asphalt, the community survey demonstrated that a sizeable minority of the community would like to see a second parallel path adjacent to the asphalt one. This path could potentially allow for trail running, equestrian use, and mountain biking. However, issues of parking (for horse trailers) and potential user conflicts still need to be worked out. After considerable discussion, the planning team decided that the best course of action would be to construct the asphalt trail and then hold some planning meetings and field trips to determine the feasibility of a dual path.
Who is paying for the trail?
Major funding for this trail has been provided by the Idaho Transportation Department, with local match from Latah County and private contributions secured by the Latah Trail Foundation. Additional funds have been awarded through the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, with matching funds from the Latah Trail Foundation and the City of Troy.
The Idaho Transportation Department money is made available from the Federal Highway Administration for the purpose of improving non-motorized transportation. For this enhancement project, federal regulations required that the state of Idaho spend at least 0.25% (one quarter of one percent) of its budget on alternative transportation. Every year, through an application process, towns from Idaho have competed for these funds. If the Latah Trail had not received these funds, another community in Idaho would be using the funds for a different project. As of 2008, Idaho Transportation Department ceased awarding these transportation enhancement funds, the future of funding projects with this money is uncertain
Money from the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation is made available for non-motorized recreation purposes from fees collected by the department. County money comes from the County general fund. The Latah Trail Foundation has raised over $350,000 in private donations from the area. That money has been used for acquisition of right-of-way and matching funds for construction, but future donations will help pay for maintenance costs and amenities such as rest areas, benches, drinking fountains, and trees. Our trails system is beginning to take form, but it needs your continued support.
When will the trail be built?
The trail is being constructed in sections based on availability of funds. The City of Moscow paved the Paradise Path from Blaine to the beginning of the Latah Trail near Carmichael Road. Thanks to an Idaho State Parks Department grant, the first mile of the Latah Trail, beginning at Troy City Park, was paved in September 2002, and the second mile was paved in September 2003. Paving the section from Moscow's city limits to Eastman Acres began in 2004 and was completed in 2005. The final 1.7 mile section, connecting the two ends of the Latah Trail, was completed in October 2008. It is now possible to enjoy 22-miles of paved trail from Pullman, WA - Troy, ID.
Our county officials deserve thanks for their efforts to keep the Latah Trail project on schedule. After the environmental study was approved, engineering for the right-of-way plan was completed, land was appraised, and rights-of-way were acquired from adjacent landowners.
How will the trail affect farming practices and private property issues?
Historical approaches across the trail will be preserved so that farmers can easily access their fields on both sides of the trail. Farmers who apply pesticides to their crops will continue to abide by the current laws requiring a buffer zone.
Regulatory signage will alert trail users to trail boundaries and remind them of the importance of respecting private properties adjacent to the trail. Revegetation and vegetative screening with shrubs and trees will ensure that neighbors retain their privacy. In some areas, fencing may be considered. Permission is required to hunt or hike on private property. There will be no hunting or shooting on the trail itself.
How can volunteers help?
We continue to be moved by the enthusiasm of individuals, groups, and businesses that donate their time, energy, and resources. In spring 2002, thanks to a $2,250 grant from Latah County's Community Forest Program, the Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute organized a planting of 680 native trees and shrubs along the Latah Trail at Eastman Acres; volunteer groups included the University of Idaho's Saturday of Service, WSU's Community Service Learning Center, and the Latah Trail Foundation.
In addition to plantings, volunteers assist the Latah Trail Foundation with planning and organizing fundraising events, research grant opportunities, and help build community awareness about the Latah Trail. Volunteers created the Latah Trail Foundation web site and have helped plan and design the trail. If you wish to volunteer please use the volunteering page.