Snow on Scout Mountain (copy)

A calf grazes near the trailhead for Scout Mountain in this 2019 photo.

The popular East Mink Creek recreation area just south of Pocatello will see some major improvements this year starting Monday courtesy of the Great American Outdoors Act.

The Caribou-Targhee National Forest announced several projects costing just over $900,000 to spruce up campgrounds and trailheads, repair roads, and refurbish trails in the area about 5 miles from Pocatello.

“Each year approximately two million individuals recreate on the forest. (Great American Outdoors Act) funding is a great opportunity to improve many of our local facilities and enhance access to these popular areas,” said Mel Bolling, Caribou-Targhee supervisor.

The East Mink Creek area is heavily used year-round for dispersed camping, motorized and non-motorized trail use, picnicking, hiking, horseback riding, wildlife watching, archery, mountain biking, hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, shooting and cross-country skiing.

“We looked at our submittal holistically,” said Wes Stumbo, Caribou-Targhee branch chief. “We wanted the biggest bang for the buck and to use funding in an area accessible to a variety of users and East Mink Creek fit those requirements.”

Sarah Wheeler, spokesperson for the Caribou-Targhee, said the series of projects kick off this coming week with work on the Lead Draw trailhead parking lot, new signs, trash clean up and trail work.

Other revitalization projects for the year include:

• Repairing and chip sealing 5.31 miles of road up to Scout Mountain Campground through an agreement with Bannock County.

• Improving the Kinney Creek Trailhead by adding gravel, increasing parking spaces, adding kiosks and maintaining the trail.

• Repaving the Cherry Springs Nature Area and making sure it complies with disability act standards.

• Giving portions of Scout Mountain Campground a much-needed face-lift by restoring picnic tables, installing new toilets, upgrading the water system and ensuring it complies with disability act standards.

• Improving the East Fork of Mink Creek Trailhead and Trail No. 164 by putting in new trail bridges, refurbishing the kiosk, adding water dips and replacing culverts.

“As we continue to implement the Great American Outdoors Act across the Forest, our highest priorities will be those projects that reduce deferred maintenance, are ready to implement and provide the greatest immediate benefit to the public,” Stumbo said.