Josie’s gets a facelift as B-T trail crew led by Ferris keeps Jackson Hole hiking

JACKSON, Wyo. — Work is wrapping up this spring on a popular front country trail connecting town residents with a quick hike off the pathway.

Trail supervisor for the Bridger-Teton NF, Tim Ferris, is spearheading the project on Josie’s Ridge Trail, now in its 3rd year. Ferris has a crew of five at his disposal but often relies on volunteer man- and womanpower from local organizations like Friends of Pathways, Teton Freedom Riders, Backcountry Horsemen, Teton Trail Runners, and others.

Last year and the year before, Ferris and company worked mainly on the lower portions of the 3.4-mile trail, replacing water bars to prevent erosion and putting in steps where the trail is steepest.

Then, last spring, the area was closed briefly as trail crews took delivery of rock while helping with a helitack training mission. Three locations further up the trail received large boulders via helicopter. These rocks were put in place this spring as crews concentrated on the trail’s switchbacks to prevent erosion and provide a better walking surface.

The work detail from the Forest Service and much of the costs to do the trail work have come from Wyoming Recreational Trails Program (RTP) grants that are administered through the Federal Highway Administration.

Ferris works closely with Chris Owen, Friends of Pathways trails guru, in determining how best to apply the funds and which town-interface trails need the most help.

Part of the work on Josie’s was fixing shortcuts and additional trails and ruts made by bikers, hikers, and dogs that sometimes cut corners. Hopefully, the work of Forest Service trail crew will be respected and practices that cause trail erosion will be discontinued. Courtesy photo

For Ferris, his crew will now head into the backcountry where they do the bulk of their work repairing and maintaining trail systems deep in the Bridger-Teton National Forest.

“My crews focuses mainly on backcountry,” Farris says. “We clear trails, fix bridges, prioritizing these by safety hazards like mud holes that could swallow a horse or places where resource damage is a concern; something really washed out or eroding.”

Come fall, Ferris and his team will make sure outfitter camps and trails accessed heavily by hunters are ready to go and in good shape.

Josie’s Ridge Trail is a steep 3.4-mile front country trail accessing Sink or Swim and several other Snow King area trails. Map image: AllTrails

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