BOISE -- A portion of a popular backcountry ski system in central Idaho will open this winter following a wildfire that burned through the area this summer.
The U.S. Forest Service and Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation in a statement Thursday say two yurts, the Banner Ridge and Stargaze, in the Idaho City Backcountry Yurt System deemed safe will be available possibly as early as November.
The Idaho Parks and Recreation Department Director David Langhorst says although the Banner Ridge and Stargaze yurts will be open, grooming for cross country, and snowshoeing will not happen due to safety concerns on the trail system. Snowmobiling access is still under review by the department.
Currently, there is no timetable on when the other four yurts will open.
"The two yurts that are open, folks that have reservations for those won't be affected. The ones that have reservations for the other four, beginning today, we'll be contacting them and begin processing refunds," Langhorst said.
Yurts are round, tent-like structures with a dome roof and plastic skin. In winter, the yurts are booked months in advance by backcountry skiers.
The Whispering Pines/Gold Fork yurt was destroyed in the fire, and three others are deemed to be in areas too dangerous for travel.
Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Jennifer Okerlund says officials are looking at the possibility of rebuilding the destroyed yurt.
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