Pass, the 1975
Charles Bronson movie based on an Alistair McClean
novel set in the Colorado rockies, starred the Camas Prarie
Railroad in the part of the high trestled railroad track
through the rockies.
to Trails Conservancy is an organization working all across
the nation to preserve railroad lines for use as pedestrian
Should This stretch of
the Camas Prairie Railroad become available we need to be
ready to support local, state, and regional efforts to preserve
One of Many Trestles
Northern Idaho has its
Trail, now Bill Mannschreck implores the TRC to become
an advocate for railbanking
the remaining working stretch of rail from Reubens to CuldeSac.
Let's call it the Breakheart Trail until
we have something official.
What Can I do?
Okay, its not going to be cheap. It's not
going to be easy. Leo Hennesy of the State Dept. of Parks
and Rec says putting railings on the trestles alone could
run a million bucks. On top of that, the land, should it
revert to original owners, would mostly go to the Nez Perce
Tribe. They will have to be involved in any decisions. In
addition, funding sources can be very specific. Will motorized
vehicles be allowed access? Doing so gives us access to
one large pool of grant money but denies access to another
for long term maintenance. Clearly we need to have a local
organization; local governements, and the Tribe involved.
And, of course, the railroad is not yet available.
July 19, 2008 Trail Hike Report
- Bill Mannschreck, Mike Warnock, and Charlie Woods lead
a hike on Saturday, July 19, 2008. Bill invited Joe Stegner,
Idaho State Senator, to join the group. Carol Ellis, Jan
Abernathy, Cheryl ?, Nicki Riddle, and Ken McKim joined
them. Joe Stegner is a cyclist himself and, having grown
up in Grangeville, he remembers riding this Camas Prairie
Rail Line in a railroad car.
Leo Hennessey of the Idaho State Parks and Rec department
is encouraged by our event. Hennessey says our goal should
be having this corridor set aside a Rail
Bank. Many of the original contracts with the railroads
stipulated the property would return to the original owners
should it no longer be used for railroading.
- The Rail Banking program was set up specifically to preserver
these corridors for future use for railroading. In a time
when we are looking for more mass transit, perhaps some
of these railbank holdings will actually be returned to
railroading use. However, in the meantime, the corridors
can be developed as p;ublic acces trails without endangering
their availability for future railroad use and thus reverting
them to private ownership.
Joe Stegner is doubtful we could get the Idaho legislature
to pay the cost of developing and maintain the corridor
but Hennesy says we could put it under Winchester State
Park and ask legislature for maintenance costs.
.Since much of the corridor passes through tribal lands,
the Nez Perce Tribe's support of the project will be important.
To make all this possible of course, the property must become
available. Mannschrek is contancting Carl Nelson of Kamiah,
local manager for owner in Kansas City. Railbanking is the
goal to preserve this valuable corridor.
Bill Mannschreck, Mike Warnock, and Charlie
Woods reconnoitered the railroad route in April and report
that it is about 5.5 miles and took them a leisurely 3
hours and 20 minutes of level or downhill walking.
- Call Bill at 208 743-4226.
- I talked with Karl Nelson and he assures me that the line
will not be abandoned in 2008. He is still sympathetic with
our cause and would like to see it become a bike path if
ever abandoned. We must remain alert because under one of
the methods of closure we have only about a month to react
if thay filed for abandonment. It is well outlined in the
Rails-to-trails book that I gave Carol. Bill
- Write your Idaho legislators.
Rails to Trails Conservancy to support efforts for trail
building around the nation.
- Join Twin Rivers Cyclists if you are not already a member to support
this and other cycling advocacy efforts.