Work has begun in central Idaho on a four-and-a-half mile long trail that will join two popular area lakes. After years of planning and campaigning for support from area residents, Stanley Mayor Steve Botti, along with members of the Idaho Forest Service, officially launched a trail project through the Sawtooth National Recreation Area that will join Stanley and Redfish Lakes.

A ribbon cutting took place on August 12 at the site where work will begin on the nearly five mile, unpaved path. According to information shared by idahostatesman.com, the trail will not be open for motorized vehicles. Horseback riding, hiking and cycling will be allowed.

Stanley Lake is located seven miles west of the city of Stanley. Redfish Lake is the largest in all the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, with a 17.5 mile trail that surrounds the body of water that connects to both the Snake River and Pacific Ocean.

Recreation area officials first announced plans to clear a path to both lakes in 2014. Nearly two miles of it will run through Sawtooth Mountain Ranch, which supplies drinking water to close to 80,000 people. A request for further environmental studies regarding the project has been issued in the form of a complaint in Boise federal court. It was filed in April of 2019.

Information on a projected completion date of the trail could not be found at this time. The lakes are located approximately 150 miles northwest of Twin Falls, in Custer County. Both are regarded as heavily used recreational lakes in the warmer months.