Dream of Truckee-to-North Tahoe trail becoming reality
The dream of building a trail from North Tahoe to Truckee got a big boost last week when the Placer County Board of Supervisors approved $500,000 to fund a large section of the proposed path.The funds will go toward a trail through Northstar-at-Tahoe, a path that organizers hope will become the middle link of a Truckee-to-Tahoe trail.”It is really the first component of that regional trail,” said Nancy Ives, a Northstar resident who has followed the trail planning. “It really is looking like it is going to happen.”Half a million dollars in funding should finance all of the planning and environmental documents necessary for the Northstar portion of the trail to go to construction, said Steve Teshara, executive director of the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association.From there, millions of dollars will be needed to make the regional, paved trail a reality. But Teshara is not intimidated by the monumental task.”We are not dissuaded by the price tag,” Teshara said. “We think it is doable.”His optimism is largely based on regional efforts to make agreements with private and public land holders that will allow the path to wind its way across the property between Tahoe and Truckee.”Obviously, we were not going to move forward unless we knew there was a routing system to actually go through to the Truckee Legacy Trail,” Teshara said.With two counties, and more than a handful of property owners needing to work together for the trial to be built, cooperation will be a key. But Teshara and other trail organizers said they are optimistic that many of those kinks have already been worked out.Finding the fundingThe next hurdle will be money. The trail will rely heavily on state, federal and local money available for trail projects, said Teshara. But the investment will be worth it in the long run, he said.”We think it will be a tremendous asset for the community and the visitors,” Teshara said.While Teshara sees the trail as a tourist draw and recreational asset to the area, Ives sees it also as a very practical, day-to-day benefit for many locals.”We have seen a lot of people commuting to Northstar in the [Martis Valley] and wouldn’t it be tremendous if they could do that on a paved trail,” she said.The trail was included in the resort association’s tourism master plan last year. And the county funding will be handed over to them. The association will then distribute the money to the Northstar Community Services District, which is expected to organize much of the planning work for the Northstar section of trail.”What is exciting is we have this public money … to begin this trail,” Ives said.Northstar TrailWhile the Northstar trail is looked at as the middle link in the Truckee to Tahoe trail, it will also be a stand-alone recreational path in itself, proponents say.The section is expected to be six miles on length, and would connect the top ridge of the resort – at the Fibreboard Freeway – to the resort’s village before it drops down to the Martis Valley.Construction of the paved Class 1 trail could cost up to $10 million, according to the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association. Construction should begin in 2008, the resort association said.The $500,000 in Placer County funding will come from the county’s transient occupancy tax, a tax levied on hotels and motels.The resort association estimates that the trail would be used approximately 6,000 times each year.