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.