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Foundation funds intern for rim trail

Staff Reports

It takes a lot more than wishing and hoping for a dream to come true.

Thanks to the Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation, the Tahoe Rim Trail Association got something they’ve needed for the past 15 years – an intern to coordinate the hundreds of volunteers that build trails all summer long. In April, the foundation awarded $3,000 to the non-profit organization making their dream a reality.

“Having someone to assist us is really exciting,” says executive director Lynda McDowell. The new summer intern position, filled by UNR student Mark Aamundstad, enables the Tahoe Rim Trail staff to do more than they ever could in previous seasons.

“We’re really excited about the grant because it allows us to double our efforts and to set up systems that will make our work easier in years to come,” says Shannon Raborn, Program and Development Coordinator.

“It’s a fabulous opportunity for our community to have the Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation here,” she adds. “It’s a great community resource and working with Lisa, the president, is a real pleasure.”

Each summer, 400 to 500 volunteers work on clearing trails for the 150-mile project, working up to eight hours in a single day. Several return to work multiple days on the trail. Aamundstad fields telephone calls, replies to e-mails, coordinates and signs up individuals and groups for trail-building activities, and initiates outreach calls to civic groups, such as the boy scouts and girl scouts. He currently spends two days a week in the office. The staff eagerly awaits for him to join them in the field where he can lead and coordinate crews.

“Mark is learning a lot and is so enthusiastic,” says Raborn. “I hope we can get him back next year, too.”

The Tahoe Rim Trail, organized in 1981, began trail building in 1984, when the first crew leader was U.S. Forest Service employee, Robert McDowell. Since then, McDowell and his wife Lynda, along with a minimal crew, have organized volunteers, raised money, built trails and struggled to keep the project a reality. Last year Shannon Raborn joined the staff. Now life on the dusty trail is getting better every day.

This summer, crews hope to finish a two-mile section of trail south of Tahoe City, in the Paige Meadows area. The association is working with the U.S. Forest Service to help restore the sensitive eco-system by bringing a current trail out of the meadow on to drier land.

A half-mile section of trail by Ward Canyon is also roughed out. The Tahoe Rim Trail still needs TRPA approval to finish a 10-mile span near Mt. Rose, which will require three building seasons because of the rocky terrain.

“It will take a lot of effort and the building seasons will be slow,” says Raborn. The association expects to complete the 150-mile loop by fall 2001.

“Having a summer intern to help set up systems of communication with volunteers really improves our efforts,” emphasizes Raborn.

The Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation was established in March 1998 with a $1 million donation from William Hewlett. A longtime Donner Summit and Lake Tahoe visitor, Mr. Hewlett also gifted $1 million for matching funds.

Information

For more information about the Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation or to make donations, contact Lisa Dobey, president, at 587-1776 or Linda Brown, grants committee, at 562-0510.

For information about volunteering for the Tahoe Rim Trail, contact Shannon Raborn at (775) 588-0686.


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