The Boardman Bridge, located in the Sawtooth National Forest, was closed in 2012 due to failing piers. Multiple agencies contributed on the installation of a new bridge.
The bridge was originally installed in 1978 as a sheep bridge. Since then it has become increasingly popular for trail users. This is the only bridge within 25 miles that allows trail users to safely cross the South Fork of the Boise River for trail system access.
As the bridge is over 100 feet in length and replacement costs were estimated at over $249,000, the Fairfield District realized that it was going to need outside help to fund a new bridge and would need to partner with others or the bridge would continue to be closed for public use. At risk was connectivity to over 150 miles of trail that is open to both motorized and non-motorized users. The bridge also offers access into prime big game habitat during hunting season, provides sheep herders a safe river crossing for livestock, and allows the state Fish and Game Department access to one of their elk feeding sites in the winter. Even during low-flow times of the year, the river at this crossing is deep and swift, posing a threat to sweep people, animals and equipment downstream.
This bridge plays a key role in connecting the south half of the Fairfield District’s trail system to the north half, which has a direct impact on the economic viability of the City of Fairfield and regionally as well since the Fairfield District trail system is world renowned among off-highway motorcycle riders.
The district received three grants to fund the purchase and installation of a new bridge: $83,000 from the Recreational Trails Program, $83,000 from the Off-Road Motor Vehicle Fund and $83,000 from the Motorbike Account. In the summer of 2013, Fairfield District personnel removed the old bridge and prepared the new bridge abutments. Over the winter, district engineers designed the bridge and put it out for bid. The new bridge arrived in August 2014 and it was installed.
The Fairfield District could not have done this alone. The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, Federal Highway Administration, Camas County and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game all played significant roles in either funding or supporting the installation of the bridge.