Tahoe Rim Trail dedicated | SierraSun.com

Tahoe Rim Trail dedicated

Jeff Clemetson, Sierra Sun

About 300 people gathered below Martis Peak outside of Truckee on Saturday to celebrate the opening of the Tahoe Rim Trail, and the completion of the 20-year volunteer effort to build a trail around Lake Tahoe.

The celebration began with Rim Trail Association president Bob Wolf introducing a group of 18 hikers, led by Steve Anderson and Art Presser, who completed the inaugural trek along the 150-mile completed trail (See additional story, page C1).

“There’s such different terrain,” Presser said. “Some days you’re hiking on the rim and you’re getting to see sights of Lake Tahoe and Washoe Reservoir on one side, other days you’re walking through desolation and beautiful lakes and then you got the meadows. You’ve got everything on this trail – it just doesn’t end.”

Anderson also described the experience on the trail.

“This is the only trail that you actually, for the most part, can stand at and look at and see where you’ve been and see where you’re going,” he said. “And that makes it amazingly special because it gives you inspiration to move on and it gives you the warm fuzzies about where you’ve been.”

Tahoe Rim Trail Association founder Glenn Hampton made the cross-country trip from his home in upstate New York to speak about his “impossible dream” of building the trail coming true.

He began his speech by acknowledging the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C.

“There’s a lot of people who can’t enjoy what we enjoy today,” he said. “We’re lucky to be Americans.”

Hampton envisioned the trail in the late 1970s when he worked in Tahoe for the U.S. Forest Service.

Hampton complimented the builders of the trail he started 20 years ago for a “wonderful, wonderful job.”

“The people we’re honoring today are the 10,000 volunteers – the mom and the pop and junior organizations and groups – that contributed hundreds of thousands of hours to make this project a success,” Hampton said. “The Tahoe Rim Trail is going to stand for years and years to come as how to build a trail.”

Planned keynote speaker Senator Harry Reid, D-NV, was unable to attend the event because he was working to pass an airline industry-related bill, said Chavez Foeger, an assistant to Reid.

After speeches by several past Rim Trail Association presidents, Wolf, Hampton and other trail volunteers performed a ribbon-cutting ceremony using flagging tape used in making the trail.

“Well, we are done – it is 2001,” Wolf said. “But that does not mean it is the end. It is just the beginning.”