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Sustainable Idaho: Portneuf Greenway

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http://portneufgreenway.org/

This week we take a look at the Portneuf Greenway, a nature area and trail system that runs throughout all of Pocatello.

To learn more about these trails, I spoke to Taelor Jordan-Moss, the current president of the Pocatello Greenway foundation and longtime volunteer.

To start, what is the history of the Greenway Foundation?

The Greenway Foundation was founded in 1991 as a nonprofit organization to build walking and biking trails along the river corridor. The foundation has expanded trails to other areas of town, and has completed over 17 miles of trails with more expansion planned.

And what is the current focus of the Greenway Foundation?

The mission of the foundation is to help facilitate walking and biking trails throughout Pocatello and Chubbuck, though the trails are not all connected. We just want to make sure the community has a free and safe place to recreate.

I followed up with Jordan-Moss by asking her if the Greenway foundation was working on plans to connect those trails throughout town.

We would love to have things connected, especially if people want to use the trails to commute, we really want to focus on what progress we can make here and now. Progress will be slow and steady and that means some trails won’t be connected right away. We will take opportunities to build trails in a steady manner and hopefully get them connected along the way.

The Greenway trails can be found throughout Pocatello and Chubbuck, so there are bound to be obstacles to completing a master plan connecting everything.

The two main challenges to expanding the greenway system are access to funding and access to the trail. We are currently working with willing landowners to secure easements to build trails. Construction of the greenway trails is expensive, and we have secured grants from local organizations. We will always be seeking other grants and the city developers have been really proactive in including these trails in their projects in development.

These trails are a free and open resource to the public, and in turn, the community contributes a great deal to the building and maintenance of the greenway.

The Greenway Foundation has a board of volunteers and we work with several different types of grants. The city of Pocatello and the city of Chubbuck both help facilitate funds and maintenance. We work with a lot of local organizations such as the Portneuf Health Trust.

And what benefits are our community members getting back from The Greenway trails?

The Greenway is important to the community because it offers a safe and free place for individuals and families to recreate, exercise, and enjoy the environment. It’s also an asset to the community, raising property values as people want to live in a place with such a neat asset. People want to be able to be proud of their surroundings and what their community looks like. We live in such a unique area where we have access to so many resources for recreation, people really do want to take more advantage of that. The Greenway is another vehicle to help facilitate that lifestyle.

I asked Jordan-Moss to tell us about the future projects the foundation has planned.

The Greenway is focusing on four projects, the most significant being connecting Pocatello Creek Road with the Bannock County events center and the wellness center. The Greenway Foundation is working with the Idaho Transportation Department and Bannock County and it should be completed in 2024. We are also working on a project along the I15 corridor to connect the Monte Vista overpass with pocatello creek road. The two other projects are on the Portneuf river corridor. One will extend the Brennan Trail from Sacajawea Park, the other will connect South Second to Century High School.

Sounds like some great projects, I'm looking forward to getting to walk along those trails.

If anybody else would like to get involved where can they go for more information?

Any community member can use our website, protneufgreenway.org if they have questions or want to get involved with the board or volunteer committees. They can always email us at portneufgreenwayfoundation@gmail.com. We meet once a month for board meetings and also for working trails meetings and community members are welcome to join at any time.

That was Taelor Jordan-Moss from the Portneuf Greenway Foundation. To find trails in your neighborhood, visit portneufgreenway.org/trails

Join us next week when we revisit how to enjoy outdoor recreation sustainably.

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Katie Kelshaw is a graduate of Boise State University with a Masters of Arts in Political Science where she has since taught as an adjunct professor. She is born and raised in Pocatello, where her family are farmers and business owners. Katie is an active member in an advocacy organization called Action Corps Idaho, where she helps run campaigns around Climate Justice and a Global COVID Response.