Tahoe Area Mountain Bike Association making progress with summer trail projects around Lake Tahoe
When it comes to the hundreds of miles of trails contained in the Tahoe Basin, the summer is the busiest time of year for maintenance, building and activity.
Whether you’re a hiker, biker or horse rider, having a safe and fun trip that is easy to access is all part of the Tahoe experience.
Tahoe Area Mountain Bike Association (TAMBA) has been spending the summer rolling up its sleeves for dozens of hours of trail work and also securing funds for projects.
Some of the most recent notable progress involves the Angora Ridge and the Tahoe Mountain Road projects.
“We have multiple projects going on all around the lake,” said Kevin Joell, trails director at TAMBA. “The Angora Ridge trail is one we just did a lot of work on — that was a TAMBA funded project. We had some assistance from the Forest Service that was augmented with our volunteers on workdays. We funded some hand-crews from the American Conservation Experience to come out so we could get all the labor done.”
According to TAMBA, the Angora Ridge project is almost completely done, save for a few minor adjustments that will need to be made over the next several weeks. The Mule Deer trail is a crucial element to this project, TAMBA representatives said.
“We have the Mule Deer Trail connector under construction,” said Ben Fish, TAMBA president. “That will connect the neighborhoods to the Angora Lookout.”
Fish said that Angora has been an area of concentration for TAMBA recently and that in addition to getting the main project mostly done, TAMBA was able to complete the 2 miles of trail that connects Tahoe Mountain Road to Angora Lookout.
“The Angora project has been one of our biggest pushes,” said Fish. “We’ve had a lot of volunteers and help with that so we’ve got a lot of work done.”
Joell said that thanks to all of the organizations and volunteers who make trail maintenance and building a priority, a lot of the winter damage to the terrain has been largely mitigated.
“Together, we were able to manage a lot the trail damage from last winter,” he said. “There are still things that need to be done, but the most serious things have been taken care of.”
There are still issues with erosion and other weather-related factors that will likely take a couple more years to fully address, however.
The North Shore has several projects going on as well, according to Joell. The Incline Flume and Elevator Shaft trails have been getting some attention this summer.
“There was a grant made available for us to work on shoring up what is known as the ‘slide section’ of the [Incline Flume] trail,” said Joell. “There’s a lot of decomposed granite so you usually end up sliding back a few steps for everyone one you take forward. There will be some type of retaining wall or gabion baskets, something like that, put in place. That work won’t begin until next year.”
Joell said that the Elevator Shaft Trail’s route was close to a creek drainage area, which led to erosion that caused unsustainable conditions.
“One of our crew leaders, John Clausen, is managing that project. He identified a route that is much more sustainable and even has better views. We got the project approved by the Forest Service this spring and we’ve had workdays going on every Wednesday and Saturday,” said Joell. “They’re going to be getting into some rocky areas that will slow down construction, but I think we’re still on schedule to get that one done this year with the turnout we’ve been getting.”
According to Joell, TAMBA has gained forward momentum with the Ocelot Trail that is near the same area as Elevator Shaft. The Ocelot had some serious erosion and, like elevator shaft, had a route that wasn’t sustainable.
“It took us several years to get into that area since it had been adopted by California State Parks into their trail system,” he said. “They’re not as used to having people doing volunteer trail work out there as the Forest Service is, but we’re scheduled to start on that next Tuesday, the 22nd.”
TAMBA was able to use funds from a grant provided by the recreational gear company REI to assist with that build.
According to TAMBA, there will be several volunteer opportunities coming up and some fundraising festivities as well. TAMBA will be present at the Tahoe Mountain Bike and Brew Festival, Aug. 26 and 27. The event will be hosted at Divided Sky bar and restaurant in Meyers. It will feature food, music, mountain bike riding, demonstrations and more.
One of the final events for TAMBA is the Sept. 2 “Rose to Toads” ride. The ride is a 62-mile trek up the east side of Lake Tahoe.
TAMBA said it has been able to raise significant funds for trail projects through this ride and expects to have hundreds in attendance. TAMBA usually wraps up work projects around mid-October, so the next couple months will be ideal for volunteering and getting involved.
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The past few weeks have felt choking. Every time I step outside, I feel like I can’t breathe. The walls that keep the smoke out seem to get smaller and smaller as summer crawls on.