Well, I've been pretty quiet for the last month and a half, and I owe you all an explanation.
The long and the short of it is - I've resigned from the project.
I could go into a lot of angry details about why I've left, but the bottom line is that I fundamentally disagree with the way the project is being managed and consider it to be a betrayal of what we were trying to do in the first place - to get a trail on the ground, yes... but do it in a way that reflected the values and interests of this community. This was a project driven by the community and for the community. It isn't that, any more... hell, they've even posted a "no hiking" sign at the trailhead. What a waste.
That all said, if they get this first segment of trail on the ground, and there's no reason to think that they won't, we'll have good trail to Talbot Creek. The Talbot Canyon trail needs a whole lot of work to be sustainable, but it's there and people will once again be able to use it to reach Verdi Lake. Not only that, but the existing Conrad Creek and Thorpe Creek trails will be accessible, as will the existing Secret-Lamoille Trail. None of them is in good shape, but they're there and you'll be able to use them.
There's a whole lot of work yet to be done, if somebody else wants to take the lead and see this thing through. The NEPA work for the rest of the project remains to be done, as does the trail design and fundraising. Those are the things that I've been able to coordinate along with my previous partners, primarily Bill Wolf. All of those things have to be completed before the project can go an inch past Talbot Creek (or for that matter, do the badly needed repairs on the Talbot Canyon trail.) Bill's already raised most of the money to get the trail to Conrad Creek, and to do the repairs on the Talbot Canyon trail, if they manage the project right. Without the NEPA, though, the project can't proceed. Maybe the Forest Service can get it done, or one of the other folks running the show these days. Who's to say, but without the team we had in place I don't envision anything happening quickly.
Dreams die, and life goes on. One of my friends has approached me about working on a mountain bike trail system in the hills around Elko, and that sounds like a worthwhile endeavor to me. There's tremendous potential there, if we can get the checkerboard problem worked out. Based on how the community made this project happen, there's no doubt in my mind that we can. I'll just be a lot more careful, next time, about who we bring in to help.