Trail maintenance is certainly not as sexy as building new singletrack. But it is just as important. Improving an existing trail can make all the difference in the quality of our local rides. It can convert a muddy, tree-blocked, brush-covered, rutted mess into trail that is sustainable and fun to ride.
Less tangible is the reputation factor. Volunteer trail maintenance gives local users groups credibility when it comes to requesting new trails. The land management agency knows that your club will be able to deliver volunteer man hours and resources that these projects need.
In this spirit, I met with NID staff at Scott's Flat Lake on Monday to walk, discuss and flag BONC and YBONC trailwork on 11/13. This lakeside trail is rather popular with local mountain bikers who ride Scott's Drop from the Pioneer Trail. It offers some very nice vistas and swimming opportunities in the summer. BONC has worked on it before, but there are some sections that collect water, are rutted or need brushing.
The IMBA Trail Care Crew will be in town soon to teach us the latest ideas and techniques for designing and building sustainable trails. All area staff and trail enthusiasts are invited and enrollment is free. BONC and YBONC be hosting the program at and near Twin Cities Church starting at 9AM on Saturday 11/6.
This program is for all volunteers, staff, teams and trail users: 1/2 day classroom; 1/2 field work. Everyone who likes trails and wants to help maintain and improve them is welcome. The day begins with a morning of class time where we will learn the latest techniques in trail design and improvement. YBONC will provide lunch for a $5 donation. In the afternoon, we will apply what we learned on singletrack at Kenney Ranch property adjacent to Twin Cities.
If you have not attended an IMBA TCC trail building class, be prepared to be inspired and excited. You'll learn what it takes to create great trails that include outstanding switchbacks, drainage and flow. The crew will also talk about what it takes to get permission to build a trail (which is ALWAYS the hardest part). Hope you can join us.
Join BONC and YBONC as we improve the lakeside trail at Scott's Lake on Saturday, November 13 @ 10AM. Meet at the boat launch (inside Gate #2) at Scott's Flat Rec area (see map below).
On this lakeside trail, volunteers will improve drainage at muddy spots, trim back brush that crosses the trail and install a culvert where the trail has washed out. Please bring long pants, gloves, shoes and a long sleeved shirt. If you have loppers, bring those too. Thank you to NID for letting us improve this important local trail for everyone.
The revised Diamond Arrow Trail project is moving along just as planned. This trail will extend ~2.3 miles west from the Round Mountain trailhead to the Diamond Arrow conference center on BLM land, resulting in a six mile loop along the ridge and many other riding possibilities.
We have poured over maps and done some field reconnaissance to identify a corridor that avoids crazy steep terrain and private property. This map shows the latest version of a possible trail route.
Next up: we will flag a trail route in the field, but are waiting for the poison oak leaves to die out so this will be a bit more pleasant. Once we have accomplished this and doubled check our work with some pros, we will gain BLM approval and apply for grant money in 2011 to fund construction. The BLM will administer this grant money, not BONC. We will ask them to consider using appropriate equipment for the terrain so the end product is optimal.
This is only part of what we hope to accomplish on Round Mountain. We are also considering a re-route of the Up-and-Over Trail as it descends steeply to the RM trailhead, create a connector trail and more. Please let me know if you want to join us in the field once the PO settles down; it is always an adventure.
I spoke with Bill Haire this morning. As usual, he is quietly very busy making new local trails happen for all of us to enjoy. As many of you know, much of Hirschman's Pond trail off Cement Hill Road is now complete. Word is that it is super fun to ride and the contractor did a terrific job constructing it. One additional section is needed (handicapped accessible) and this portion will go out to bid within the month.
As for the Tribute Trail (aka Deer Creek Trail), after many complications, the project is moving along now briskly. Once complete, the trail will connect Nevada City and Grass Valley. Many of you helped work on this trail as part of the IMBA Trail Care Crew visit in 2008. Grant money is now available to complete much the project. Randy Martin of Trailscape will soon build the section of trail from where we worked in 2008 down to the creekside road. Randy is a great local trail builder, advocate and mountain biker. He will also help us flag the recently changed Diamond Arrow trail.
Once again, thank you Bill! I hope everyone will consider supporting these great projects by volunteering or donating to the Nevada County Land Trust. They continue to be by far the preeminent local trail building organization.
~60 equestrians, mountain bikers and motocycle riders put in a stellar effort at this year's Unified Trail Days to improve Burlington Ridge trails. In many ways, this was the most productive, impressive event yet. Pictures.
Volunteers focused on the following:
HALLELUJAH TRAIL: This team cut 100 yards of brand new singletrack right out of Skillman campground. It looked great and will allow riders to avoid Burlington Ridge Road altogether.
EXCELSIOR TRAIL (aka Ghost Train): This group rebuilt several of the steep rutted switchbacks, re-routed a section, built rock walls and and built a completely new switchback. This was fascinating project to work on, as I learned firsthand what it takes to make a switchback work for both motos and mountain bikes. Burlington has plenty of shared use trails that could use work like this, and Excelsior in particular has many sub-ideal switchbacks. My hope is that we can continue to improve these switchbacks so they work for everyone. The Nevada County Woods Riders were FANTASTIC to work with and were very responsive to our input.
SIGNAGE: A third team installed signs at various trailhead in the area. Burlington can be confusing for new users and this effort went a long way in helping solve this problem.
FOOD: The food was unreal this year! Like a catered BBQ but only better. Tri tip (buffalo and beef), several kinds of sausages, salad, macroni, potato sala, drinks, desert, you name it. A big thank you to the NCWR who staged this part of the event.
Mountain bikers represented 11-13 of the volunteers yesterday, so we were underrepresented. My hope is that in future years, different local mtb groups will choose to contribute to this important event that builds our reputation with equestrians and moto users. If you want better trails, action is a lot more effective than talk.
After decades of effort, the 25 mile South Fork American River Trail has opened. Capitol Public Radio produced a story on the creation of this trail and acquisition of private lands the trail crosses. You can listen to the story here.
Thank you to all parties who worked so hard to make this happen, including the American River Conservancy and the BLM Mother Lode office.