POCATELLO — The city plans to apply for a grant soon through the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation to fund the regrading of City Creek Road and to expand the Cusick Creek trailhead.
Hannah Sanger, the city's science and environment division manager, intends to apply for roughly $40,000 by the month's end to fund both projects, as well as additional signage and buck-and-rail fencing at the Cusick Creek parking lot.
She said staff time to design the parking lot and oversee the project and volunteer help with installing fencing and trimming trees along City Creek Road to accommodate heavy equipment access would constitute the city's match toward the grant.
Sanger said the Cusick Creek parking lot, located off of the roadway to the Pocatello Women's Correctional Center, has become overcrowded in recent years — and the problem has been exacerbated by increased use of the trail system amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Too often, she said vehicles must park along the roadway leading up to the women's prison, which damages adjacent vegetation.
Sanger said the expansion would also make it easier for trucks hauling trailers to turn within the parking area.
The lower third of City Creek Road has been regraded a couple of times during the past several years, but it's been a long time since any work has been done on the upper two thirds of the rocky, dirt roadway. Sanger said the road is the single greatest contributor of sediment into City Creek, and regrading the road all the way up to the top of Kinport Peak would enable water to run off more quickly, thereby limiting erosion.
Sanger said the area where the road makes a dog leg by the entrance to Sap Tree Trail presents an especially significant erosion concern.
"We want to get a handle on that as well as (erosion from) the single-track trails," Sanger said, adding the city has no plans to use grant funds for any trail work.
Because a small portion of the road crosses U.S. Forest Service property, Sanger said the Forest Service would likely do the regrading work. She said some of the trail also crosses Idaho Department of Lands property, and the city is negotiating with the state to determine what its involvement in the project might entail.
Sanger said the city previously applied for the same grant last year but was denied. The city will learn if it will receive the grant in late summer, and work on the project would commence during 2022. Sanger said the cost of regrading alone would be about $25,000 and the city doesn't have funding available to do the projects without the outside funding.
If the application is denied again, Sanger said the city will likely reapply next year.