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Jefferson County commissioners discuss Kelly Canyon Rd. closure

Jefferson County commissioners discuss Kelly Canyon Rd. clos

RIRIE, Idaho - Monday afternoon Jefferson County commissioners heard from the Idaho Falls Ski Club and Kelly Canyon Ski Resort regarding access to a stretch of county road.

Kelly Canyon Ski Resort has two gates on Kelly Canyon Rd. The "upper gate," east of the resort, has been up every winter for several years. The stretch of Kelly Canyon Road east of the "upper gate" is closed for the winter by the Caribou-Targhee National Forest Service. The "lower gate" near the resort's parking lot is new this year.

"The arrangement that we've had this year is one that we think works for everyone," said Neil Brown, manager of Kelly Canyon Ski Resort.

The Idaho Falls Ski Club begs to differ. The club uses cross country trails in the canyon, and the new policy has kept the club from leaving its trailer full of maintenance equipment up the canyon.

"We have track setters, we have groomers and other equipment that we pull up and down the trails with a snowmobile," said Donald Rasch, President of the Idaho Falls Ski Club.

Rasch said it's a hassle to bring the trailer to the canyon from Idaho Falls on a regular basis.

Brown said closing the stretch of road beside Kelly Canyon Resort ensures the safety of it's skiers. He also said the resort's insurance company doesn't want equipment that isn't their own on the resort's property.

"We definitely don't want skiers to feel like we're trying to stop them from coming," said Brown.

"We've had a very good working relationship with them for many, many years," said Rasch. "It just seems the insurance thing, right now, is somewhat coming between us."

In the meeting on Monday, commissioners tabled the decision, and stated they would personally go and inspect the area before deciding if the lower gate is okay. Friday, the county told the resort to take the lower gate down, which they did. Monday, though, the commissioners said the resort could leave the gate up unlocked, or take it down altogether until a permanent decision is made.

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