The Idaho County Board of Commissioners approved the order, officially validating the historic Milner Trail after reviewing Matt Jessup’s findings of fact and conclusions of law. (Jessup serves as the County’s civil attorney in addition to deputy prosecutor). He described the route as across the Salmon River from the mouth of French Creek to Mount Idaho.
Idaho County only has jurisdiction over the route when it is not within another highway district. He noted the Mt. Idaho area is within the Grangeville Highway district.
He explained that the legal basis to validate the [Milner Trail] route relied on Idaho County Commissioners validating it in July 1872 and never abandoning it. If a legal reroute is established, the county could vacate the route across private lands.
In response to a question from commissioner Ted Lindsley, Jessup confirmed that the county is not obligated to maintain the route. However, if they begin maintaining it, the county must continue to maintain it.
The debate over Milner Trail heated up last summer when a landowner blocked through traffic on the popular motorized route. Several landowners cited concerns with trespass, shooting and other disruptive behavior. Efforts to develop a suitable route to bypass private lands in the Fish Creek area will resume later this year when the ground is accessible.