A new operator is now in place and Idaho City’s Steamboat Gulch sled hill will be open by Christmas.
Doug Pottenger, owner of Seasons Mountain Dining & Grocery in Idaho City, signed a 2-year land use permit with Idaho Department of Lands (IDL). Pottenger and his employees will manage the sled hill.
Pottenger stepped up after finding out the sled hill would close this season because the Mores Creek Recreational Foundation no longer had funding for the permit or sledding operations. IDL found it necessary to close the hill to protect restoration efforts, as well as for safety reasons.
“Our hope was that someone could secure a permit and manage and operate the sled hill,” said Todd Wernex, IDL recreation program specialist. “This is a great example of how working together, we can maintain and protect our valuable endowment lands, while also providing recreation opportunities that don’t do damage to those lands.”
The sled hill is on endowment land owned by the public school beneficiary, meaning the land and its uses are not taxpayer funded. Last year, the sled hill was kept open despite the lack of an operator. Without oversight, the area was damaged by people driving vehicles on the hill, leaving garbage, and shooting trees. Funds used for restoration to the endowment trust land was paid for with money that should have gone to support K-12 education.
IDL expects that the new operator will provide an exciting opportunity for the public, while encouraging users to be good stewards of this public school endowment land.