Friday, September 30, 2011

October BONC Newsletter

The BONC October newsletter is now available online. Be sure to check it out.

This issue includes an article about the NU Miners high school mountain bike team, plus details about upcoming local mountain bike events.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

FHDL Trail Story

Today, the Sacramento Bee published a very positive story about FATRAC and the Forest Hill Divide Loop Trail. This is indeed a great trail and one of my favorites to ride in the winter months once the temperatures cool down.

Thank you FATRAC!

United Trail Day - Saturday October 8th

Please join us United Trails Day on Saturday 10/8/11, 9AM at Skillman Campground. It is probably the most important trail volunteer day of the year and by far the most rewarding.

We will again be cutting new singletrack as we extend the Hallelujah Trail east past Skillman. Cyclists will volunteer alongside moto riders and equestrians as we build more trail for everyone to enjoy.

This event is important as it shows other local trail users that mountain bikers are committed to working cooperatively on our trails. All participants will enjoy BBQ; the spread last year was amazing!

Read that last sentence again.... FREE HIGH QUALITY FOOD! See you there!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Joe Chavez Speaks to BONC

A great big thank you to Joe Chavez of the Tahoe National Forest, who spoke at our BONC gathering last night. As recreational officer, Joe talked about trail projects in four areas of the Tahoe NF: Highway 20, Downieville, Forest City and Grouse Ridge. Each region has a specific trail initiatives. We talked about many items, but like BONC, itself, this recap is focused on Highway 20 and Grouse Ridge. Joe made the following points pertinent to BONC:

In Highway 20 trail projects/re-routes include Scott's Flat and the Pipeline Trail (reroute of the steep trail down to Rock Creek Nature Study Area), whereas Grouse Ridge projects involve extension of the Bowman Mountain Trail, the Lindsey Lakes and Crooked Lakes re-routes and a new trail between Fuller, Rucker and Blue Lakes. You'll see some BONC volunteer efforts at Grouse Ridge soon.

The capitol improvement budget the USFS had for constructing and maintaining trails has all but vanished. Because of this, the Tahoe National Forest relies heavily on BONC, GCTC, etc. to fill the gap. Joe mentioned that focus on new trail projects may be metered out in coming years, as the TNF has so many other projects to focus on and no additional staff or resources.

According to Joe, there is good progress on the Scott's Flat Trail. The Land Trust required some modifications to the original route and the ologists asked for some changes as well, but these are resolved now. Next steps include finalizing the NEPA (environmental docs) for the USFS portion of the trail, then NID will need file CEQA (state enviro docs) for the trail on their lands. NID management is still sorting through all this, so who knows how long it may be before the trail comes down to the lake. Joe hopes to start construction on the trail this fall, if only on the USFS portion.

We still hope to bring in RTP funding for the South Yuba Ridge Trail project, but it may require some volunteer labor. A necessary easement across private land is still in the works.

A terrific meeting. Look for more great speakers at upcoming BONC gatherings soon! You can always support BONC by becoming a member.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Trail Between Grass Valley and Nevada City

Today's Union has an article about Jerry Henderson's effort to create a trail between Grass Valley and Nevada City. Jerry has quietly plugged away at this initiative for years and now is seeing some traction for his efforts.

Trails close to town like this are crucial and I applaud Jerry's efforts to collaborate on this trail.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Scott's Flat Trail Web Page

BONC has launched a web page devoted to the Scott's Flat Trail project. Learn about this exciting endeavor, read news, view maps, volunteer and donate. We will update the page as the project progresses, so be sure to bookmark.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Building a Destination

Several friends and I spent most of last week riding the incredible trail system of Park City, Utah. What strikes me about PC riding is how varied it is: buff singletrack, stunt riding, DH lift, rocky chutes, epic cross country, bike park jump lines, paved bike paths, you name it. Hundreds of miles of singletrack weave through the aspen forests above PC.

So as a trail advocate, I wonder how all this came to be. Locals tell me it is the result of collaboration between local and federal government, ski resorts, bike shops and different user groups. There is perpetual trail building in PC; I spied trail building equipment and freshly cut bench on almost all of the sections I rode, all of it high quality construction.

Park City is a wealthy resort town and has decided to partly fund trail planning and construction with a restaurant tax. It makes sense. In the non-ski season, there is a massive excess inventory of accommodations, restaurant seats, etc. A world class trail system brings many visitors to the PC and keeps the cash registers humming in the off-season.

It takes a lot of vision, determination, time and perseverance to create what Park City has. Mountain bike destinations do not happen overnight. There is a lot to learn from the success of Park City trail advocates and clearly, no one group can take all the credit.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Equestrians, Hikers and Mountain Bikers Welcome

On Sunday, I saw the cover of the Union Sunday edition and it made me smile ear to ear. The front page headline shouted out: "On the Trail: Equestrians, Hikers and Mountain Bikers Welcome".

I've long preached the virtues of working together with different user groups to produce a larger inventory of local trails. The Gold Country Trails Council shares this vision, which is wonderful. Sometimes, I think that as a trail community, we take this cooperative spirit for granted. In Marin, Folsom, Santa Rosa and other Northern California locals, different user groups can be at each others throats fighting over trail access. Here we do things different.

Including multi-use trails in our planning means that we all have more trails to use. We can and should build mountain-bike specific features or even entire trails for sure. But it is worth recognizing that a shared use approach leverages the collective interests and resources of all of us, instead of just one group.

If you have not see the Union article, check it out.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Help Move a Trail Project Along

The hardest part of creating a new trail is acquiring all the necessary permissions to do so. This sucks but it is undeniable. Designing and building the trail can almost seem incidental when compared to the lengthy, arduous process of planning and advocacy. It can be frustrating to those of us who want to just start cutting singletrack.

The Scott's Flat Trail is no different. The volunteer group leading this effort has a done an exceptional job moving the process along. But of course hurdles remain: a trail easement needs to be established and NID has to author and submit CEQA documentation (state environmental review). Sometimes unforeseen additional hurdles pop up months down the road.

But you don't need to just cross your fingers. You can help this great project in one very key way. The USFS is accepting public comments about the proposed trail. Your letters of support are needed. Please send yours as soon as possible, as the deadline of September 16 is fast approaching. Here is a sample letter.

You can also view a map of the proposed route here.