Blaine County can trace its rich history to the beginning of the 1862 Boise Basin mining boom. Towns like Bellevue and Hailey grew overnight in the frantic scramble for gold, silver and lead. Although not as prominent as the mining industry, a similar economic strength in the early years, starting in 1880, was the feeding and shipping of sheep. With the construction of Sun Valley Resort in 1936, Blaine County experienced a second surge as a first-class resort for skiers, the first in the United States.
For so many people in Blaine County, recreation is the most essential part of life. Blaine County Recreation District provides many opportunities for being outdoors, playing sports, and exercising for its residents. The facilities include the Blaine County Aquatic Center, the Hub Youth Center, providing a safe and supervised environment for young adults and the Community Campus, a multi-use facility enhancing the quality of life of area residents through education, recreation and culture. Additionally, nearby recreational destinations include Craters of the Moon National Monument and the Little Wood River. Every Labor Day weekend, Ketchum hosts the Wagon Days festival, an old west themed carnival featuring wagon trains, a parade, and even simulated street gunfights. The world class trails include the North Valley Trail's cross-country ski and snowshoe system, the Quigley Nordic ski system, the Harriman Trail and the Wood River Trails.
Renowned as a winter haven, summer is now a bustling season for outdoor activities as well. Now activities like kayaking, backpacking, hiking, golf, swimming, water-skiing, mountain biking, camping, sailing and fishing attract recreation lovers from around the world looking for world-class outdoor activities. Among them is the world class flying fishing on legendary Silver Creek. The Salmon River, also known as the River of No Return with its headwaters in the north and the Snake River in the south offer solitude and spectacular white water rafting.
Bald Mountain, due to its great variety of terrain and snow conditions, has been consistently rated as one of the finest ski facilities in the United States. The Sawtooth, Boulder, Smokey, and Pioneer Mountain ranges provide high alpine country as beautiful and inspiring as any to be found in the United States and breathtaking helicopter-ski opportunities. The Great Rift area in the southeast portion of the County is a unique landform with lava formations similar to a lunar landscape. It is the diversity of the environment, the recreational opportunities and overall quality of life that makes Blaine County a great place to call home.
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