Sunday, May 16, 2010

The power of volunteers

Just got back from a trailbuilding conference/training put on by the Tahoe Rim Trail Association. Pretty amazing deal all the way around - it's impressive beyond belief to see what the volunteers there have been able to accomplish over the years.

I'm pretty beat - long drive back after a long day building trail - but I have to tell you - we have the potential here to build every bit as exciting organization, capable of getting this trail going as well as other trails all over these Ruby Mountains. All it takes is energy, cooperation, and a refusal to take "no" for an answer. I know we can do it - all we have to do is pitch in.


  1. The vast majority of Elko residents visit the mountains to get away from development, for the beauty and the solitude. There are already a number of underutilized trails in the Ruby Mountans. Such as the trail to Seitz Lake or up Ruby Dome or the South Fork of Lamoille Creek. We do not want or need more trails, Sue.

  2. One of the reasons so many trails in the Rubies are underused is that accessing them requires a hiker to either trespass or hike overland, risking arrest, resource damage or potential injury. Both the Seitz Lake trail and the Griswold Lake trail you mentioned in your post fall into that category. Both of those trails are inaccessible to people who don't have permission to enter through locked gates.

    For those not familiar with this area, the Griswold Lake trail provides the most ready access to Ruby Dome, and can be accessed only through the Spring Creek picnic ground, privately owned by Spring Creek Association's homeowners. All other reasonable routes accessing Ruby Dome are locked behind private property, as is the trail up Seitz Canyon to Seitz Lake.

    Demand for access to these areas has increased radically in recent years, as has resource damage caused by overland hikers. If you are one of those people who seek out solitude, then you're likely one of the people who has made his way overland to Echo Lake from Box Canyon. The damage caused by overland hikers in the cirque above the lake is heartbreaking and will take decades to heal - and that only if a new trail is built on that route to prevent further damage. The likelihood of ever negotiating public access to the Echo Canyon trail is slim to none, so would-be visitors can't help but contribute to the destruction of the beautiful lake they're visiting by hiking there off-trail. The amount of damage that's been done to that route in the last 30 years is staggering.

    Right now, there are very few trails accessable to the majority of Ruby Mountain visitors - 108 miles worth, to be exact, according to the USFS website. An additional 234 miles worth of trail are situated behind locked gates and are not accessible to forest users. That's not many trails in a 450,000-acre mountain range, and many of those don't really exist as anything beyond a label on the USFS website.

    Taxpayers deserve access to the mountains their tax dollars support. They shouldn't have to break the law to get to trails; nor should they have to risk breaking their legs by climbing in areas beyond their fitness or skill levels.

  3. Well said Susan, well said!

  4. Next we will here from the ATVrs that they want access, and someone like Sue Kennedy will get it for them. Then, handicapped people will demand a road, and a dirt road will be put in. Then, the road will have to be paved. Then, concessionaires will demand access. Then, we will need a McDonalds and a Hotel. Sue is simply helping to destroy the natural world.

  5. Heh. You pretty obviously have never met me, "Anonymous." That's pretty funny ;)

    I hope you can get out there and enjoy the trail. I've been up on the route for the past few days and it's beyond spectacular. And if you choose to avoid it - that's your choice. There are plenty of other hills to climb.