End of the line for MaVTEC: The group that helped build Canyon Rim Trail is counting successes and stopping it. | Local


TWIN FALLS – The Canyon Rim Trail is a gem for outdoor enthusiasts in south-central Idaho, frequented by countless residents and visitors. The Magic Valley Trail Improvement Committee (MaVTEC), led by Jaime Tigue, is an organization that has helped play a role in connecting the trail. Today, after 11 years of hard work and success, Tigue retires from MaVTEC and the organization is dissolved.

“It’s been a long and great race,” said Tigue. “And I’m super delighted with the results of what our team did.”

Today the trail offers seven and a half miles of paved walking, running and biking trails along the Snake River Canyon, stretching from Shoshone Falls in the east to Federation Point in the west. For many years, however, the Canyon Rim Trail existed as multiple segments, separated by private land.

During its existence, MaVTEC has raised a total of $ 819,763 to build the last missing sections of the trail. The money came from years of registrations for well-known events like the Falls to Falls Half-Race, as well as auctions, private donations and grants through partner organizations.

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“We feel really accomplished. Tigue said. “The work carried out by MaVTEC was the result of teamwork. A group of people who were just as passionate as I was about the health of our community. “

The town of Twin Falls has built portions of the trail over the years as new development has taken place along the rim of the canyon. But some sections were kept private by landowners who had no intention of developing. The city was unable to acquire the land to complete the trail, and this is what prompted MaVTEC to form in 2010 to attempt to forge partnerships between public and private interests to connect portions of the trail.

Tigue and MaVTEC have carried out endless awareness raising actions, reaching out to private landowners, businesses and local organizations, carrying the vision of a better space for walkers, runners and cyclists. These efforts made it possible to negotiate the sale of part of the private land to allow the construction of the trail. Then they had to raise $ 600,000 for the purchase price before they could hand over the land to the city.

“The part I love is connecting with people,” Tigue said “and the relationships we have built, the partnerships and the respect I have for the people who have donated and made this possible. . Without them, without the community, without the support, this would not have been a success. It’s about building those relationships and partnerships, and that was the fun part. “

MaVTEC has notably raised funds by organizing a number of races which have become well known annual events. Races like the Spirit of the Magic Valley 5k, the Falls to Falls Half Marathon and the Santa Run 5k which held its 8th event last weekend. With the bills paid and the t-shirts distributed, all proceeds from the events were spent on completing the last missing segments of the Canyon Rim Trail.

Although MaVTEC will no longer exist, the races they organized will continue to take place under the direction of community members.

Shelley McEeun was a volunteer for MaVTEC and has supported many races that have taken place over the years. For her, the events were a great opportunity for people to achieve personal results, while also helping MaVTEC achieve its fundraising goals.

“Each event was special,” McEeun said. “I’ve always been the type to cheer on people in a corner, I just loved this hands-on opportunity to see people achieve their goals at the events themselves.”

McEeun and her husband have both devoted a lot of time to MaVTEC’s efforts over the years, and she said what was amazing about it was that the group brought together people who otherwise could not s. ‘associate with each other. They were united by a common goal.

“We were there as a grassroots group working towards this goal of improving the trails and creating better opportunities for people to use and access the trails,” McEeun said. “It gave us that commonality, this thing to work together for, and I don’t think enough about what’s going on today.”

In 2017, after countless fundraisers, auctions, open houses and door-to-door outreach events, the eastern section of the trail from Eastland Dr. to the Evel Knievel jump site was completed, connecting the center home to Shoshone Falls for the first time. The eastern portion of the trail from the Visitor Center to Washington Street was completed in 2019.

Twin Falls Parks and Recreation Director Wendy Davis said MaVTEC was a great partnership and their contribution was vital in connecting the trail.

“You can hope for an organization like MaVTEC,” Davis said. “And the beautiful thing about them is that they are organic. These are people who have a passion for something and are willing to do the work to make it happen. Sometimes as a public entity you want to create this sort of thing, but it has to happen organically, and Mavtec was organic. It was a group of people with a leader who had a vision.

“I think it will be a real loss for the Parks and Recreation Department and the City of Twin Falls to lose this partnership,” said Davis.

Cindy Collins was with MaVTEC from the start. An avid fitness enthusiast, the Twin Falls realtor frequently joined running groups in the area for practice runs.

“We knew we needed safer places for people to run, walk, cycle and enjoy our beautiful canyon with their families,” Collins said.

While there are even more dreams for trail improvements at Twin Falls, Collins said, maybe it is up to others to make the effort.

“It makes me sad to think that MaVTEC is going to go away because we were able to accomplish a lot of things,” Collins said. “We’ve talked about how we’d like to see it now come down to Rock Creek Canyon… but it looks like it might be for another organization.”

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