Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the awesome surroundings of Bonners Ferry were safely accessible by trails for anyone and everyone who wanted to stroll by a river, go for an invigorating mountain hike or bike along a smooth path through natural beauty?
And wouldn’t it be wonderful if people cooped up in a noisy city glutted with traffic could get away to Bonners Ferry for a few precious days to listen to the hushed current of a stream and walk out, hike out or bike out the tension knotting up their shoulders?
Well it’s about to happen!
9B Trails, a local nonprofit volunteer organization aimed at creating new trails in Boundary, has a trail-blazing announcement! Thanks to a recent $25,000 Urban Renewal grant, the new Riverside Park Trail System is finally about to become a reality.
“This project originally began in 1998; however, due to a variety of issues, it was never completed,” explains 9B Trails Treasurer Tess Rae. “Now because of the efforts of 9B Trail volunteers and this grant, we are ready to move forward on the project. It’s a happy day for Downtown Bonners Ferry!”
In collaboration with the City of Bonners Ferry and the Parks and Recreation Department, 9B Trails will create at least 2 miles of connected trails. This trail system will start at the north end of the Kootenai River Bridge, meander down towards the river, under the bridge and around the park. “It will be a delight for families, bikers and pedestrians alike, and will also provide easy access from Downtown Bonners Ferry to the park, District 2 Road and out along the gorgeous Kootenai River.”
Safety is a critical factor in creating an outdoor environment. As Tess expresses it, “Moms pushing strollers want to feel safe.” Safety means everything from lighted paths to easy, complete access to the park. “Parents want somewhere to go with their children to take them on safe paths. Bonners Ferry has always lacked sidewalks, which is why I wanted to get involved with this project. As a mom, I didn’t feel quite safe driving the kids to the mountains in order for them to ride their bikes or go for a walk.”
The road to a green light for this project has been a long one. “We’ve been in the advocacy and land acquisition phase, bringing stakeholders and land holders together to make The Riverside Park Project a reality in Bonners Ferry,” Tess says. “With the receipt of this grant, we are working on securing lease agreements and final plan approval. We plan to build an 8-foot hard-surface trail with lights for safety and connect a trail system that will go around the park and up onto the dike so people can enjoy the river.”
But as Tess says, “Great trails don’t just happen,” so 9B Trails is reaching out to the community for assistance.
Does creating a more beautiful future for Bonners Ferry appeal to you? Would you like to help out and at the same time get to know some of the best people on earth—Bonners Ferry residents just like you? There are many ways you can do so. Some volunteers like to help create the trails. If your tool knowledge is limited to a rake, that’s perfect! For the more tool-savvy, there are other projects to be constructed. Getting the whole family together to help blaze a trail can open young eyes to a world no mobile screen can ever convey. If physical activity isn’t your forte, it’s a wonderful thing to become a Friend of 9B Trails. Your donation of any amount is needed, welcomed and appreciated, and your tax-deductible donation will go directly toward the projects.
Volunteers are the very heart of 9B Trails. They are outdoor enthusiasts from all walks of life, ages, interests and backgrounds. The big-hearted, hard-working 9B members volunteer across the board in so many areas of the organization it’s impossible to tether any of them to just one title. They are deeply rooted in the Bonners Ferry community.
“Together, with community involvement and partnerships, our mission is to provide accessible, non-motorized public trails in the local area through advocacy, planning, building, maintaining and fundraising,” Tess says. That noble goal requires skill sets of every kind and financial support as well.
Together 9B Trails volunteers have ignited a grassroots movement that has accomplished astonishing things since their beginning in March 2018.
Last summer, through the generosity of Xmas Hills, LLC and in loving memory of Caroline Farnsworth, 9B Trails acquired more than 1,100 acres of private land on the outskirts of Bonners Ferry to develop 25 miles of trails for hiking, biking, equestrian, snowshoeing and Nordic opportunities for people of all levels of skill and ability. “Our volunteers have already built 3 miles of those trails, with another 5 miles slated for this summer,” Tess says. “The Enchanted Forest promises to be a magical, forested retreat.”
In partnership with the Idaho Department of Lands, 9B Trails is also working toward creating a new trail system located in Paradise Valley. With over 8 miles of trails in the works, this system will offer mountain biking, hiking, snowshoeing and Nordic opportunities for families and individuals alike with breathtaking views of the Kootenai Valley.
“We hope everyone will strongly consider joining 9B Trails in giving our community the gift of a happy, active, outdoor life in our beautiful community,” Tess says. “We need your help in making a difference in our community for today and generations to come!”
For more information, email Tess at email@example.com or, better yet, check out their
website at 9BTrails.org. Thank you and happy trails!