As big as Yellowstone National Park is -- 63 miles north to south and 54 miles east to west -- perhaps it's not too surprising that someone not interested in driving to a trailhead in the park decided to make their own on the edge of the park. But by this fall, that trail should be erased as park crews finish the second of two years' work in removing signs of the illegal trail.
Work on rehabilitating the area started last summer, and is scheduled to conclude a bit later this year.
The trail that meanders into the Bechler region in the park's southwestern corner from U.S. Forest Service lands just west of Yellowstone was marked with blazes on trees, according to Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk.
"There was more or less an incursion from the Idaho side down near the Bechler area," said the superintendent. "They were parking on Forest Service land, they had blazed trails into the park. They had gone through some pretty sensitive areas, we thought, so we closed off those trails and are spending some energy and manpower trying to rehabilitate those trails. There was damage being done to the resources."
According to Superintendent Wenk, in some areas downed trees were being moved out of the way.
"We were trying to keep them on the established trails and we're rehabilitating that one," he said. ""They would connect up with other Bechler trails. It's somewhat an outgrowth of the very close quarters at Bechler and the high demand in that area. It was people looking for relief, looking for other ways to access the park. They were looking for the rivers and falls and the beauty of the Bechler area."