Rotary hopes to leave legacy of Truckee River trail |

Rotary hopes to leave legacy of Truckee River trail

The Truckee Rotary Club has set out to leave the community with a legacy.

Rotary is working to establish a series of multi-use trails along the Truckee River to provide access to and encourage appreciation for the river’s natural habitat. The club hopes the trail will eventually connect Glenshire, Donner Lake, Northstar, Highway 89, West Lake Tahoe and North Lake Tahoe.

The trails will be designed for jogging, biking, walking dogs or simply getting in touch with nature. They will also be wheelchair accessible.

“The river is the center of our town, and along its banks it is beautiful. It feels tranquil and sounds inviting. You can easily lose track of the freeway and of the town itself, you get so wrapped up in the river,” said Frank Bulkley, one of the project directors. “One hundred years ago, if we had known what the town would become, people would have treated the river differently. Nobody was thinking about it then. Now we want to make the river what it should be, as the heart of our town.

“Anything is possible in 100 years,” he said.

Marshall Lewis, the other director of the now-incorporated Rotary Legacy Foundation, agreed.

“The river is indeed our No. 1 natural asset,” he said. “We want to keep that, not a row of condos between here and Reno.”

The river trail, which will be about eight feet wide with a compacted dirt surface, will be designed in six independently planned segments. The first segment of approximately one-half mile will run from the already existing pedestrian bridge at the end of East River Street to Truckee River Regional Park. The club hopes to have a project description as well as construction and drafting designs by Feb. 20 and would like to begin construction in spring 1998.

“This is the training-wheel session,” said Bulkley during a planning committee meeting at the airport. “The next phase of the project will be far more complicated – but it’s all feasible.”

The group meets every other Thursday at the airport.

Lewis said he realizes the project will require community support and will encompass many different resources along the way.

“I have heard a number as great as $400,000 to build this thing. It may be less, like $200,000, but we’re going to need to raise a lot of money over time – a lot of money and commitment,” he said.

He said the club is not in a hurry to complete the project.

“We’re more anxious to do the job right, and the next generation of Rotarians can see the completion . This project has a long-term benefit for our children and grandchildren,” he said.

“We’ve got to remember this is a 100-year project,” said Bulkley. “We’ve got to keep thinking in those terms. Except this segment, which we’d like to get done in the next few months.”

On March 4, Maia Schneider will meet with East River Street property owners at O.B.’s for an informational session and an invitation for their involvement. The club hopes to bring the project before the town council in early March after the meeting.

Rotary usually gives between $40,000 and $50,000 to support community youth, seniors and various organizations. However, one year ago the club concluded it had the capability to do more for the town than it has historically, and it began looking for more long-term projects. It developed five focus groups, each instructed to brainstorm project ideas, and the river was found to be a common interest.

According to Bulkley, theTruckee General Plan indicated that many people in the community would like greater access to the river.

“Rotary is acting as the catalyst and facilitator (in this project) to bring the community together and make it happen,” he said. The club plans to organize volunteer work, pay out-of-pocket expenses and get grants and donations.

The club also considered projects such as a convention center, bus stop shelters, a teen center or a seniors’ greenhouse.

“This is one of those projects that is tailor-made for an organization like Rotary,” said Lewis. “We have such a cross-section of the community – council leaders, business leaders, quality people who really have the community at hear – it brings tears to my eyes to see how effective we can be in pulling together and providing a legacy for our children.”

The planning group has met with the Town of Truckee, the Truckee-Donner Recreation and Park District, the Truckee Sanitation District, the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board and other related organizations, and Lewis said they all returned from the initial project with big smiles.

“We have not had anybody opposed to this – everyone really wants to treasure and protect the river,” he said. “All groups, organizations and individuals can contribute to this to make it something incredibly special. It benefits all the communities.”

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