Trail efforts on the right path | SierraSun.com

Trail efforts on the right path

David Bunker

Truckee’s trail network is beginning its biggest expansion ever, spurred by local volunteer efforts and new development.New subdivisions, including Gray’s Crossing and Old Greenwood, will soon add miles of trails to the existing system, and cooperation between nonprofits, local government and state agencies has the Truckee River Legacy Trail streaking eastward.”What we are seeing now is the fist major expansion of the trail network in Truckee,” said Town Planner Duane Hall. The latest accomplishment is the completion of another mile of the Truckee River Legacy Trail’s second phase, stretching it ever closer to its eastern destination – the Glenshire subdivision. The trail will be officially opened with a ribbon-cutting on Saturday, July 31, after volunteers take down construction fencing along the river. The Legacy Trail, an effort of the Truckee Noon Rotary; the Town of Truckee; Truckee Donner Recreation & Park District and Truckee Trails Foundation, will eventually connect Donner Lake to Glenshire when all five phases are complete. It will serve as the “crown jewel” of Truckee’s growing trail system, a path that highlights the Truckee River, accesses local parks and provides residents with opportunities for alternative transportation and recreation, said Truckee Trails Foundation Executive Director Leigh Fitzpatrick.”It’s hard to overstate how important this trail is to Truckee,” he said. The trail has been made possible by a huge volunteer effort, donated materials and generous trail easements by land-owning agencies. The community backing shows the importance of the trail to locals, while also exposing a little about the character of Truckee residents, said Fitzpatrick.”People in Truckee are really civic-minded. They love their town and they show up,” said Fitzpatrick. “After a while it’s what you expect – people in Truckee show up.” Fitzpatrick is at the helm of a foundation that began one month after the release of the Truckee’s 2002 Trails and Bikeways Master Plan. The plan lays out the long-term goal of the trail and bikeways: To create a network that interconnects Truckee and eventually links the town to a regional system of paths.Now, two years later, things are moving along quickly.The Donner Rim Trail is under construction again this summer. The rim trail, a project of the Truckee Donner Land Trust, will circle Donner Lake, tying into portions of the Pacific Crest Trail along the way.The Truckee Trails Foundation has completed a feasibility report on a trail connection from Gray’s Crossing to downtown. The paths associated with East West Partners’ project represent a huge chunk of the overall planned system, said Fitzpatrick.”You’re talking about a trail network that will link eight neighborhoods to downtown Truckee,” he said of the paths that will snake from downtown to Gray’s Crossing, under State route 89 north and up to Prosser Reservoir.Old Greenwood’s trails will also be constructed soon, before the Gray’s Crossing linkages, said the Town of Truckee’s Hall.As Truckee’s internal trails go up, the Town of Truckee and trail groups will be looking outside of the town borders for regional connections, a stated goal of the Trails and Bikeways Plan”Ideally, you’d have a north, south, east, west linkage to the region,” said Gavin Ball, a founding member and board member of the Truckee Trails Foundation. As the trails go up, so will the quality of life, said Fitzpatrick. His foundation is planning on promoting the trails for diverse uses such as alternative transportation, bird watching and nature hikes.”When they get these trails built … it will have an enormous impact and benefit to Truckee residents,” said Fitzpatrick. Check it OutVolunteers will meet at the pedestrian bridge at the eastern end of East River Street at 9 a.m. Saturday July 31.