Biking, Rim Trail associations building recreation for Tahoe future
Special to the Sierra Sun
Construction began recently on the Lily Lake Trail that the Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association says will be a key segment in completing a path around Lake Tahoe.
The approximately 2-mile single-track connection between Angora Lakes and Lily Lake will feature stunning views and provide access to the Glen-Alpine area.
Work started when the snow melted and will continue until the snow flies.
“It’s the mountain bike season,” said Ben Fish, TAMBA president and chairman of the board.
The Lily Lake Trail is just one of many trail projects taken on this summer by TAMBA and Tahoe Rim Trail Association.
And that’s the way it works. The associations pack in as many projects and events into the summer and fall until the weather changes.
Fish said TAMBA has four major projects happening this summer all around Lake Tahoe and also just finished a new trail in at Kingsbury that he compared to skiing a double black diamond.
Two hundred feet of the Lily Lake Trail was built a couple of weeks ago on the South Shore. Five miles of trail was built last year. The construction has been slow going compared to some other trails due to granite gardens. When finished, the trail will connect Angora Ridge to the south side of Fallen Leaf Lake.
“We’re definitely gonna need some more help with that trail,” Fish said. “It would be a huge accomplishment if we finished that next year, but it’s probably gonna be the year after.”
WHAT’S AROUND THE BEND
Over on the West Shore, between Homewood and Tahoe City, the Stanford Rock Trail has been two years in the works.
TAMBA has taken what was once a logging road that has been closed for years to vehicles and is reworking five sections that eliminate eroded areas and replacing it with single track.
“We’re hoping to finish that next year,” Fish said. “It will be pretty exciting and a lot more fun to ride that loop. Most of our projects are working toward the larger vision of having all these trails connect around the lake.”
On the North Shore, Tamba is working on a pair of projects, the Tamarack Trail in the Mount Rose area and upgrades in the Kings Beach area.
Every Monday in August, volunteers have been invited to help paid crews work on Tamarack Trail near the Mount Rose summit on Nevada State Route 431.
Finishing projects are especially satisfying for Fish.
“I feel like that trail becomes part of the community,” Fish said. “I have a kid growing up and now he is riding all these trails. You’re out there and riding things, features, that weren’t there before. I feel really proud. You realize you’re building something for the future that will hopefully last. And there’s been more and more people helping to build, people have more pride and become stewards of the forest.”
TAMBA will also reach a milestone at the end of the month. The group is hiring an executive director to coordinate all the volunteers and projects. They have had seasonal employees but nothing like hiring someone to oversee everything.
“That’s super exciting,” Fish said. “It’s a huge milestone for any organization.”
The TRTA is about to begin its major project for the year on the South Shore, a 1.3-mile reroute at Echo Summit on the co-aligned Tahoe Rim and Pacific Crest trails. The plan was several years in the making and involved a partnership between the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit of the US Forest Service, El Dorado National Forest and Pacific Crest Trail Association. The over one mile section of trail will be re-routed a further distance away from Highway 50.
WANTED: VOLUNTEER SWEAT EQUITY
Work was scheduled to begin at Aug. 11, and continue on most Tuesdays and Saturdays through mid-September, said Justine Lentz, operation and marketing manager for TRTA.
Lentz said volunteers are always needed and if interested they should show up in work clothes, including close-toed shoes, and bring water, snacks and lunch. Work is scheduled to last through 4 p.m.
The TRTA also hosts trail maintenance backpacking trips and have a couple planned over the next few weeks.
About two weeks ago a group of 12 volunteers and four horse packers helped build 18 steps, dismantle a failed bridge, brushed over a half mile of trail, build two stone water bars and armored five drains in the Desolation Wilderness. In all, there were 505 hours of volunteer labor, according to the association’s Facebook page.
The association also just completed work on the symbolic start of the rim trail on the North Shore in Tahoe City.
The area suffered from erosion and the group built some water bars, steps and also widened a section of trail to eliminate a blind spot that was dangerous if a hiker and biker were to meet.
Finishing multi-year projects, the association, just like TAMBA, feels that sense of pride. Last year after finishing a multi-year trail re-route off a steep, dusty grade, they had an official opening much like the christening of a new boat.
“When that was finished, they took a beer can and smashed it over a sign,” Lentz said. “They made a plaque out of it. Finishing, it’s just a fun time for us, It’s a great feeling.”
Bill Rozak is a reporter with the Tahoe Daily Tribune, a sister publication of the Sierra Sun based in South Lake Tahoe.