Sunday, June 6, 2010

Breaking ground and blazing trails

I have to say that this entire project has done more to impress me with the citizens of Elko County than I could ever have imagined. Yesterday, we celebrated our first National Trails Day with this project - and even on graduation weekend for Elko and Spring Creek high schools... even with it being about the first decent day we've had all spring... even with all of that, we had more than 40 folks show up to roll up their sleeves and get this trail underway.

Best of all, they had a great time and are going to bring their friends when we do this again. Awesome!


We had the official groundbreaking for the project on Friday, and had a nice crowd on hand for the speechifying. We've had some amazing support for this project (check the list of partners over to the right) and it was really great to hear their take on why all of this work has been worthwhile. Gerry Miller from the Northeastern Nevada Stewardship Group emceed, with comments from Lou Schack from Barrick, commissioners Sheri Eklund-Brown and Warren Russell, and USFS District Ranger Gar Abbas. After the brief ceremonies, everybody grabbed a shovel and headed to the trail to turn some dirt... the cool part is that most folks stuck around for a while to take a short hike up the route. How fun is that?

Then, yesterday, folks started showing up to roll up their sleeves... what an amazing community celebration! We got about 3 switchbacks worth of trail on the ground, on top of the work the Americorps kids did last week. Boy, will they be surprised at all the new trail that happened while they were gone! They'll be showing up again tomorrow evening... I can't wait to see their faces. ;)

We had all kinds of folks there... kids as young as 9 and as old as 86... fisher folks, horsemen, mountain bikers, hikers. David Ashby, the former USFS recreation planner for this area and one of the key people to get this project off the ground, came down from Burley, Idaho with his family in tow... so cool to see them and to celebrate his part in the project. We had a dozen kids from NYTC, who did a great job and had a blast doing it. A real cross-section of our community.

Best of all, people had a chance to "pay it forward"... we've all been enjoying the trails other folks built all those years ago, now it's our turn to build a trail for people who'll enjoy it 50 years from now.


  1. Just a note that the AmeriCorps members are part of the Nevada Conservation Corps program. They typically range in age from 20-26. They get paid very little money work work very hard. Most are college graduates who are doing good things for their communities by participating in a National Service Program.

  2. I have seen the switchbacks that extend up from across the parking area. How high does the trail go before it begins its traverse to the East?

  3. It switchbacks up 360' in a mile and then starts contouring around. We needed to clear a rock band and the private property at the mouth of the canyon.

  4. Have you reached Wendover yet? Can one see the trail from Lamoille? I really wish you would turn your attention to Seitz Lake and Griswold Lake. They are short, Spring Creekers and anyone with a pocketbook can get access.

  5. Seitz was always next on my list... waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in the beginning we figured the NEPA process would be easier if we worked on reconstructing an existing trail rather than build a new one. As it turns out that wasn't the case - we'll need to do an EA rather than a less difficult CE going forward - but that was the original thought.

    Here's the opportunity for you and for anybody else interested in getting to Seitz and/or Griswold - I've just demonstrated to you all that this CAN BE DONE. All it takes is the willingness to work your butt off and to get a little creative in your thinking.

    For a variety of reasons, it's time for me to turn my attention to other projects and leave the Ruby Mountain detail to the next set of champions. Those of you who know me personally know that I'm hugely tied up with work this week and next, but we're in the process of turning the blog and the Friends volunteer group over to Gerry Miller from the Northeastern Nevada Stewardship Group. The NNSG Rec Pod is gearing up to start looking at what we want to tackle next... on the table is a trail project right outside of Elko as well as some other ideas that people have mentioned over the years. Anyone who is interested in heading up an effort to get to Seitz is more than welcome to pick my brain for ideas, but it's time for me to move on to other projects.

    I'll have more about this transition in a week or two, after I get my big work projects behind me.

  6. Good luck to you. Please post what you'll be doing. Must be motorcycles this weekend.