Volunteer Corner: Jim Backhus, Tahoe Rim Trail Association | SierraSun.com

Volunteer Corner: Jim Backhus, Tahoe Rim Trail Association

Amy EdgettSierra Sun

Name: Jim BackhusOrganization: Tahoe Rim Trail AssociationResidence: Tahoe CityDescribe the Tahoe Rim Trail Association (TRTA) in a nutshell. The TRTA is an organization thats 27 years old, and has built more than 165 miles of dirt trail, which encircles Lake Tahoe. Currently the organization is dedicated to maintaining and enhancing the Tahoe Rim Trail system. Its an organization of volunteers and offers the public various functions, such as guided hikes and backcountry camps. There is all kinds of information on the Web site, http://www.tahoerimtrail.org.What are the uses of the trail?The entire trail is open to hikers and equestrians (except two small segments in the Mount Rose area) and two thirds is open to bikers.How did you get involved?Through my neighbor, Tim Hauserman. After he saw me working on my own in Ward Canyon, he invited me to get involved.When was that?Ive been involved in the association for 10 years. Im on the board, as treasurer and membership chairman, and am the immediate past president.What are your duties?As it pertains to the trail, I take responsibility in the springtime with help from volunteers to remove fallen trees. Im certified by the U.S. Forest Service as a sawyer. I am a certified crew leader, trained to work with volunteers to build and maintain trails. This year I have taken charge of the Tahoe City reroute.Tell me about that project.The Tahoe City reroute is a four-mile section north of Tahoe City. It is a section that gets better as you get higher up. It runs along the Thunder Cliffs above the Truckee River. We are rerouting due to wildlife issues and to decrease the gradient and add scenic viewpoints.What wildlife issue?Birds.How many hours a year do you volunteer?Anywhere from 400 to 600 hours. Less than half is spent on the trail.Youve dedicated a lot of time. Why?I enjoy hiking most of my time on the trails is spent mountain biking. I love the outdoors, thats why I live in Tahoe.What does a volunteer need to bring to the TRTA?A good attitude and a willingness to work. We match tasks with skills, especially when it comes to the office or other types of work.What keeps you volunteering?Its quite simple. I love the trail and am on it several times a week. I like meeting other users and seeing how they enjoy the trail. Working with volunteers of all ages. The other part of what I do away from the dirt is responsibility for establishing and maintaining the donor/volunteer software and database.How many members do you have?About 1,600.What is one thing youd like people to know about the trail?The Tahoe Rim Trail is a very unique outdoor resource in the Basin. Membership support is extremely important, so we can protect and ensure it for future generations.

The Sierra Suns Amy Edgett interviewed Jim Backhus for this weeks Volunteer Corner. Please send your suggestions to aedgett@sierrasun.com, subject Volunteer Corner. For volunteer opportunities in the North Tahoe Truckee area, visit http://www.handsontahoe.org.