e Weiser River Trail runs through
forests, basalt canyons, rural towns and
farmlands as it descends from near New
Meadows to Weiser in southwestern
Idaho. Last autumn, I met with Pattie to
talk about the trail and her involvement
over the years.
By Natalie Bartley
founding member of
Pattie Heldt is a longtime board member of the 650-member non-
profit, which oversees maintenance and development of the Idaho
rail-trail. From her home near Cambridge, Idaho, she’s played a
role since 1996 in all aspects of the trail project, at first serving as
a grant writer. Currently, her main contributions are spearheading
fundraising activities and managing the noxious weed treatment
program along the 85.6-mile corridor. rough her efforts, she
raises approximately half the money needed for the trail’s annual
maintenance and operation.
Originally the local and state governments
declined to take on the former railroad
corridor, so we made the decision to do it
ourselves. FWRT formed as a nonprofit
volunteer group in 1996 and opened the
initial section of the trail in 1997.
e Weiser River Trail received status
as a National Recreation Trail within the
National Trails System in 2010 and would
not exist without the continual support,
dedication and volunteer work of many
individuals. Founding member Dick
Pugh volunteered his own backhoe and
dump truck to start the trail development.
During the following years, Dick and
other volunteers planked trestles, installed
handrails, fixed washouts, constructed
bank bars and replaced culverts. FWRT
presently owns a variety of trail mainte-
nance and weed treatment equipment.
What drew you to the FWRT?
It was my twin sister Shirley Atteberry’s
enthusiasm. She was a board officer and
later was elected president of FWRT.
ere was much for her to do during the
trail’s early years of development along the
former Pacific & Idaho Northern Railway
Friends of the Weiser River Trail
has been able to develop and
maintain the longest non-
motorized rail-trail in Idaho
without the support of municipal-
ities or a county or state agency.
How have you done it?