Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bowman Mountain Trail and Beyond

Jon Pritchett led the two of us on a fantastic loop in the Grouse Ridge area. The highlight was the Bowman Mountain Trail. This singletrack affords amazing vistas as you ride high above Bowman Lake and look north toward the Sierra Buttes.

As mentioned in a previous blog post, the Gold Country Council is working on a great project whereby the Bowman Lake Trail will comprise of a full loop off the Lindsey Lakes Trail. This terrific volunteer project shows that local recreational user groups can and should be building trails on Forest Service land. We have the skills, motivation and ability to create great riding experiences as mountain bikers and equestrians.

It was nice to ride with someone who shares my love of Grouse Ridge's technical trails and amazing scenery. Jon is passionate about expanding local riding opportunities; we are all fortunate to have him as a leader of BONC. Like myself, he sees no reason why we should have to go to Oregon or Utah to experience first class riding when we can develop it in our own backyard. We have lots of public land, cooperative land managers, user groups and the Land Trust to make it happen. In fact, more trails near Grouse Ridge will see expansion/re-routes in the future with mtb/equestrian trail expertise and efforts.

If you are curious about our route: Fuller Lake > Bowman Lake Road > Lindsey Lakes Trail turnoff > a bunch of fireroads > Bowman Mountain Trail > Lindsey Lakes > Crooked Lakes > Carr/Feely > roads back to the Fuller. Next time, I plan to add Grouse Ridge Trail + Spaulding Lake Trail to the end of this loop.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Downed Trees and the Dakine Builder's Pack

This evening, I bucked the downed oak and cedar that blocked the Scott's Flat Trail for the past few months or so. With NID permission of course.

To access this section, I rode in wearing my Dakine Builder's Pack. This nifty backpack held my chainsaw and chaps, with lots of room for other tools, water, hardware, first aid supplies, etc. The Builder's Pack is a worthy investment for anyone who wants to access trailwork sections on bike or foot.

My chainsaw fits securely on the outside pocket with the saw bar sticking upward (I use a protective plastic cover to prevent a crash from turning exceptionally nasty). I wouldn't want to climb anything especially steep or long with this setup and and I noticed that my rear suspension and tire compressed more with the added weight. Also, you have to watch out for low hanging limbs, as the bar sticks up above and behind your head.

However, riding with it is surprisingly easy. I was able to ride all of the Scott's Flat Trail (including over the step-up bridges and roots) without a problem. Dakine did a good job designing the pack such that your chainsaw is balanced well the user's back. Chris Rose borrowed mine for a while and found it "ninja". I sorta had to pry it back from him :-)

The Builder's Pack is not cheap ($170 or so), but I'll use it so much over the years working on local trails, no doubt I'll get my money's worth from it.

Friday, August 26, 2011

September BONC Newsletter

The September BONC newsletter is online. Read about the latest in Nevada County mtb advocacy, riding and social events.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Grouse Ridge Trailwork by the GCTC

My blog probably under reports the local volunteer efforts of our equestrian friends, but here is some recognition for last weekend's trail improvement event by the Gold Country Trails Council.

Nine hearty souls from the GCTC cleared overgrowth and downed trees from Loney Meadow, Crooked Lakes and Bowman Mountain trails north of Grouse Ridge. They cleared all the way to Penner Lake, to the back of Bowman Mountain and everything from the Loney Meadow campground to the access roads/trails to those places.

The Grouse Ridge trail network still needs some additional love, especially with so many downed trees on the Grouse Ridge Trail. The area is a beautiful corner of Nevada County and on behalf of all trail users, I thank the GCTC volunteers.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sample Letter of Support - Scott's Drop Trail

Below is a letter of support I've authored for the Scott's Flat Trail project. Please feel free to use it, edit any part of it or write your own. Please submit your letter by September 16!

Genice Froehlich
District Ranger
Yuba River Ranger Station
15924 Highway 49
Camptonville, CA 95922

Dear Genice Froehlich,

This letter is in support of the Scott’s Flat Trail proposal. This is an outstanding project which replaces a steep, user-built trail with a longer, more environmentally sustainable one.

This trail provides key connectivity between the Pioneer National Recreational Trail and the highly popular Scott’s Flat Lake recreational area. The US Forest Service and Nevada Irrigation District have worked together to ensure that the chosen trail route respects acceptable environmental standards as it passes across both private and public land. Volunteers have contributed significant amount of time supporting the US Forest Service as it plans this trail. The Bear Yuba Land Trust has donated time to establish a public trail easement to protect permanent access to this important recreational amenity.

As a local mountain biker, I recognize the need for environmentally sustainable trails which provide important outdoor recreational opportunities. I thank the different agencies, non-profits and volunteers who have contributed to this cause. The project deserves the continued support of the Forest Service.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Scotts Flat Trail - Proposed Route Map

View Scott's Flat Trail in a larger map

Joe Chavez of the US Forest Service forwarded a map to me to share that shows the final proposed route (see full-sized map). The trail follows a moderate grade as it descends from the Five Mile House to join the existing lakeside trail.

This map is *approximate* and I'll update it as necessary. The route may be subject to change before the final docs are approved. Where the trail crosses NID property, NID requires a trail easement which the Land Trust is working to provide. And of course, funding and volunteers are needed to support construction.

But we should end up with a great local trail. Please consider supporting this endeavor as you can. Jon Pritchett can answer your questions. See my earlier post on this trail.

From everything I hear, last night's fundraiser for the Scott's Flat Trail was a resounding success. Good job everyone! Lots of interest and excitement about this project. Sorry to miss this event, as I was out of town on business.

UPDATE 8/13 - You can view the original USFS map of this trail here. Also, the entire trail measures to be about 4.5 miles from the 5 Mile House to the dam.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Accolades for BONC-FATRAC Volunteers

A few notes from the Truckee Donner Land Trust. First from John Svahn:
I work for the Truckee Donner Land Trust. I just wanted to say thanks for coming out and volunteering on the trails at Waddle Ranch, and I look forward to riding on your new work! I also wanted to pass along that both of our trails guys, Kevin and I, are avid mountain bikers as is our entire staff. (Entire staff of 5...) We try to design trails for a fun mtb experience whenever possible, and look to “retrofit” existing ones to make mtb riding more fun as well. Our flagship trails project, the Donner Lake Rim Trail, has sections that were designed with mountain bikes as the primary user, and hopefully they deliver.
And from Kevin Starr:
I just wanted to say thanks again to all those who participated and helped with this last weekend’s event. It was great to see so many people fired up on the trail work and I look forward to getting this event going next year again.

Monday, August 01, 2011

BONC Gala Ride - 8/6/11

Join us for a BONC Gala Ride as we explore Osborne Hill area trails. Meet at Penn Gate at Empire Mine on Saturday, August 6, 2011 at 9AM.

We'll ride formal and informal trails in this network. As usual, we'll have beer and drinks for participants. Looking for another ride leader or two, please let us know if you want to ride and help out. Helmets and waiver signature required.

See you there!

Recap: MTB Tahoe North 2011

BONC, FATRAC and Hammering Wheels hooked up with the Truckee Donner Land Trust for a exceptional weekend of building and riding Tahoe singletrack.

Volunteers converted 460 yards of old fireroad into swoopy singletrack at Waddle Ranch, a 1600 acre Land Trust acquisition adjacent to Martis Valley and Northstar. The Land Trust was very receptive to our ideas about trail design and enabled us to implement berms and mtb-friendly features. The vision is to create an area-wide trail network for all of us to enjoy.

As always, we took in lots of primo North Shore riding, including Tahoe Rim Trail, Sawtooth and Northstar area trails. IMHO, Tahoe riding is the best in California and mountain bikers will do well to support the Land Trust, TRT Association and other organizations that create these A+ trails.

Big thanks to New Belgium Brewing, who kindly donated their excellent beers for volunteers to enjoy.

Pictures of the event. Hope you can join us next year!