Howardpost1We here at ITA are proud to have grown beyond our Boise roots into the beautiful backcountry of North Idaho. From the Selkirks to the St. Joe, you’re sure to find some of the most pristine forests in the mountain West. Our volunteers have been hard at work improving trails for all to enjoy.

As part of our 2016 Membership Drive we are giving credit to some of the folks that keep the ITA moving. Sandpoint volunteers Howard and Connie Shay have showed up to project after project, showing us all what can be accomplished with a can-do attitude and some handtools.

We are excited to have them as part of the Idaho Trails Association community in North Idaho. They are kind people, and fine stewards of Idaho’s backcountry trail system. The following letter of support was provided by Howard.

 Volunteer Spotlight: Howard Shay, Sandpoint


Life in North Idaho provides four seasons of outdoor activities.  Our favorite summer and early fall activity is hiking the Howardphoto2hundreds of non-motorized trails in Bonner and Boundary county.  Some of the trails have washouts, narrow tread and overgrown sections. I wondered if there were any organized efforts to work with the USFS to maintain trails. Then, last year I attended a Long Distance Hikers presentation in Sandpoint and my question was answered when I met Tom Dabrowski manning an ITA information table in the foyer. Tom was a mountain of information about the ITA Northern Idaho Chapter, as well as an accomplished mountaineer and hiker.

I am not usually a ‘joiner’, but this organization attracted me because they were not lobbying for a political or environmental cause, but actually working to improve the trails we use.

In 2016, my wife and I worked with Tom and Clay Jacobson on 3 projects in North Idaho. Each project had unique requirements and there was a task for everyone to perform regardless of age or ability. We used crosscut saw, silky saws, Howardphoto1lopper, Mcleod and Pulaskis. The tools were provided by the USFS and prior to the work day, a safety meeting was held and protective equipment handed out. We succeeded in our effort to improve the Bee Hive lake trail, the new Bee Top Connector and retreaded a section of Boulder Meadows trail.

Volunteers, young and old, men and women alike can swing a pulaski, lob an overhanging branch and put the finishing touches on a tread that will take hikers to some of the most beautiful destinations imaginable.

Check out the web site at and consider joining the Idaho Trails Association.


-Howard Shay

Expect to see a new list of volunteer opportunities in North Idaho when we announce our projects next Spring. Until then, we would love to have you join us for the 2017 season by becoming a member today.