Martis Valley trail proposal to undergo environmental review process
TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; A proposed 9.25-mile paved trail that would connect Truckee with Northstar-at-Tahoe and the Fibreboard freeway leading to Lake Tahoe has split residents over two routes: to cut through the Martis Valley or to follow Highway 267.
The routes for the Martis Valley Trail were announced at a public workshop last week organized by the Northstar Community Service District, representing Placer County.
Mike Staudenmayer, NCSD general manager, said construction of the trail would cost about $6.8 million for completion and#8212; $3.5 million from Truckee to Northstarand#8217;s village and $3.3 million from Northstar to the Fibreboard freeway leading to Lake Tahoe.
Total funding for both design and construction and#8212; estimated at about $18 million and#8212; will be paid for by Placer County, the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association and a community facility district bond with all funds earmarked for recreation purposes, according to NCSD.
Staudenmayer said the alternate route along Highway 267 was created from resident input at a January 19 workshop and scoping meeting.
Many residents, Staudenmayer said, had voiced a concern that the original trail alignment from Truckee to Northstar and#8212; now dubbed the Valley Trail and starting from the Hampton Inn off Highway 267 and ending at Northstar and#8212; would interfere with current recreationalists including hikers, dog walkers and mountain bikers, in addition to compromising the scenic landscape with a line of asphalt across valley.
Despite suggestions for the 267 alignment, Staudenmayer said this option would have more complications including higher costs, as it would be a longer route, and it would create more noise pollution to trail users.
However, understanding the need for public consensus and seeing virtues in both options, Staudenmayer said the timeline for the project will be delayed to perform a full environmental study for both routes.
and#8220;At the end of the day … weand#8217;re going to have a complete apples to apples comparison on the two alignments that are proposed at this time,and#8221; Staudenmayer said.
The EIR could be ready, roughly, by the end of 2011, Staudenmayer said.
Paco Lindsay, board member for the Truckee Trails Foundation, spoke as a resident during public comment to ask for a show of hands who supported a paved trail, whatever the route might be. Attendees responded, with dominant majority supporting a paved trail.
A few, however, argued against trail construction.
Jacqui Grandfield, a local wildlife biologist and environmental policy analyst, said while she thought the Valley Trail route would have the least impact to the area, neither of the proposed routes would greatly benefit the regionand#8217;s ecosystem.
and#8220;Iand#8217;m here for the natural resources; Iand#8217;m here for Mother Nature and this wetland,and#8221; said Grandfield, and#8220;I challenge anyone to tell me when humans are introduced into an ecosystem how the natural resources benefit.and#8221;
Grandfield also said she is concerned about safety and skeptical about estimated costs. Above all, though, she is concerned about potential damage done by trail users.
and#8220;We talk a lot about invasive species around here, and the one we should be concerned with is us,and#8221; Grandfield said.
Proponents said the perceived negative effects of construction would be environmentally negligible, as much of the construction will be on already-existing dirt trail systems. They added the trail itself would provide a safe route for cyclists, pedestrians and the disabled.
Peter Werbel, a board member for the Truckee-Donner Recreation and Park District, spoke as a resident. He said the link between the basin and Truckee would provide a much needed boost to the local economy whatever route is chosen.
and#8220;According to the Truckee visitor 2008-2009 profile in active summer activities, the No. 1 activity was shopping, followed by hiking and biking,and#8221; Werbel said.
Furthermore, a 2005 survey conducted by Tahoe City officials, Werbel said, showed that in Tahoe, the average cyclist spent between $6 million and $23 million per year.
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