Spoke ‘n Words: Trail stewardship bolsters local community | SierraSun.com

Spoke ‘n Words: Trail stewardship bolsters local community

What makes a mountain town shine among the best? Most of us agree that it requires a strong presence of winter and summer activities, along with free public access to wild and open space.After all, wilderness is where we recharge our batteries, build long-lasting friendships and find inspiration to conquer life’s challenges. Many years ago, Henry David Thoreau expressed with great vision that, “In Wildness is the preservation of the world.” And today, more than ever before, many of us mountain-goers understand this and embrace it daily.Among the many outdoor activities available, the common ground for hikers, equestrians and mountain bikers is a diverse and expansive network of adventurous singletrack. These ribbons of trails stretch from our homes and communities to distant and rugged ridgelines, grassy meadows and remote alpine lakes.Unfortunately, not all communities are so lucky. But where trail stewardship and support from public and local governing agencies are strong, mountain communities such as Taos, N.M., Colorado Springs, Colo., Moab, Utah, and our own here in Truckee, the Tahoe Basin and Downieville, score very, very high.Additionally, with continuous citizen foresight and planning, these communities realize strong tourism, great fiscal buoyancy, tight community fabric and higher standards of living for residents and visitors alike. Where trail stewardship and support is high, we also find diverse user-groups working together to develop trail networks and community.John Svahn, a Truckee resident and trail advocate with Truckee Donner Land Trust, expressed recently, “During regular outings and on volunteer trail days, I am constantly inspired by the cooperative spirit I see from trail users with varied recreation backgrounds.”This feedback is refreshing and increasingly common, and with continued support and common respect for other users, trail networks will continue uniting our communities and providing access to wilderness and adventures beyond.Through continued support and coordination, plans for open-space protection, trail maintenance and new trail creation are ever more abundant in mountain towns throughout the Sierra and the Tahoe Basin. For example, along with endless miles of new singletrack planned near the North Yuba and South Yuba, Tahoe Rim and Donner Rim, we are also enjoying the recent opening of Phase II of the Truckee River Legacy Trail and the Donner Pass Road Bike Lane at Donner Lake. Every individual who contributed to these major successes knows the deep satisfaction of contributing to their own resilient and sustainable community. So, in addition to our four vibrant seasons, it’s us who make our mountain towns glow so bright.- Team rider Forrest Huisman is the author of this week’s Cyclepaths/Wild Cherries Racing column.Cyclepaths/Wild Cherries Racing is a Truckee-based cycling team focused on racing and local bike advocacy. For more information, results and upcoming events, visit http://www.cwcracing.org.

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