After the Trail Stewardship Summit, we were full of vigor to continue what we started in our Ferretti Non-Motorized Trail System (PDF Map Here) but have just been given a yellow light due to a pending Fish and Wildlife survey.
So, we are shifting focus to a project that has been on the books since 2014. Here’s the scoop:
NEW PROJECT: PINE MOUNTAIN LAKE UNIT 16
In 2014, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Pine Mountain Lake Association for the purpose of building multi-use singletrack trails in Unit 16.
There are close to 300 acres of land in the Unit which also includes an archery and shooting range. The area is easily accessed from Ferretti Road (using the same entrance as the Pine Mountain Lake campgrounds) and offers moderate to steep terrain with rolling grass and oak hills and areas with a mix of oak and conifer. Some ridges in the Unit offer beautiful views of the Sierra and of area ranchlands as well as of Pine Mountain Lake itself.
PHASE ONE: APPROACH TRAIL
Phase One of the project includes the design and construction of a trail that will take users from the main kiosk to the roads at the upper elevation of the Unit. The Unit is currently advertised as a hiking and walking area but the access road to the hikable/walkable roads (also shared with vehicles) is prohibitively steep for some ability levels. Phase one will consist of the design of an access trail that will allow users of all abilities to access the upper hiking trails and roads.
Additionally, many of the roads and/or trails suffer from erosion and can be hazardous for bikers and hikers. Our overall goal is to offer many miles of sustainable recreational trails that can be used by the community and that will accommodate all ability levels.
Here is a map of the Unit with the proposed areas for trail development shaded in red. The Phase One trail can be seen as a red line on the map (PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS NOT A TRAIL DESIGN, JUST AN ILLUSTRATION OF WHERE AN ACCESS TRAIL COULD POTENTIALLY GO).
We’ve completed rough corridor flagging and will begin more detailed pin flagging and design this month and will host our first volunteer days the first weekend in December. Stay tuned for details!
It’s been about a week now since Groveland hosted the IMBA/USFS Trail Stewardship Summit and, now that the photos are coming in from Bruce Dorman and Michael Barnes, it’s time to write about it!
Where to start? Maybe we should start with our goals in the creation and organization of the Summit with an overview of how and what, exactly a ‘Trail Stewardship Summit’ is. Here goes:
The Groveland Trail Stewardship Summit was the result of a Challenge Cost Share between IMBA and the United States Forest Service. Apparently, the planning for this program has been years in the making. The ink hit paper earlier this year and, as a result, 2 US projects involving mountain bike trail development, were awarded the funds. Groveland Trail Heads was one of the two.
In our initial conversations with our IMBA Northern California Regional Director, Laurel Harkness, and with Garrett Villanueva from the United States Forest Service, the Groveland Trail Heads-along with Dusty Vaughn of the USFS Groveland Ranger District- decided not to apply the funds directly toward the building of trails. We decided instead to use the funds to host a ‘Trail Stewardship Summit’ that would focus on sustainability and collaboration as those things apply to the development of recreational trails within National Forest boundaries. The final version of the event included an IMBA Advanced Trail Building School with a classroom day devoted to Stewardship lead by Garrett Villanueva and Dusty Vaughn of the United States Forest Service, and a USFS Chainsaw Certificaton and Safety Course hosted by the Groveland Ranger District and taught by our board member, Justin Nash.
Our goals were as follows:
To educate those involved in trail development and building in the proper procedures to conscientiously plan and develop trail systems.
To provide an Advanced Trail Building School to those with trail building experience in order to promote standards of ecological sustainability.
To introduce regional mountain bike clubs to Groveland so that we could share our vision for a comprehensive, regional trail system outside of the most famous national park in the country for the sole purpose of improving the lives of everyone in the communities bordering the Stanislaus National Forest.
To build internal momentum.
To build partnerships with the USFS, IMBA, Trail Solutions, and fellow trail building volunteers.
To break ground on the Ferretti Non Motorized Trail System.
Were we successful?
We should mention that we had an overwhelming show of support from community businesses and individuals by way of donations both for event space and raffle items that we used to raise funds for trail building equipment and future events. We would like to quickly acknowledge our donors here before we discuss results of the event:
The space for the Stewardship Summit Dinner was the barn on the Mountain Sage property, owned by Robb and Regina Hirsch and we couldn’t have found a more fitting setting.
These community members not only show their support for our efforts by making donations, but are also demonstrating their contribution to the creation of a sustainable year-round local economy and the creation of recreation opportunities for local youth and families, trail users, and visitors. Without their support, we would have a difficult time supporting the needs of our club so that we can effectively realize our vision.
Now for the RESULTS:
We saw attendees and instructors from San Luis Opispo, Arcata, and other parts of Northern and Southern California; Texas; Idaho; and South Africa. The number one thing we heard from these people was how unique and special the community of Groveland is. So many of these people have expressed interest in returning to help build more trail and in visiting when the trails are built. Everyone saw the potential.
First and foremost, the education we received was paramount. We had one classroom day in which we were fortunate to learn about how to implement a collaborative approach to the planning and execution of trail systems in the National Forest from Garrett Villanueva, who has years of experience as a land manager who has facilitated the successful development of trail recreation in the Tahoe National Forest. Garrett is a gem in the Forest Service! He understands the need for the conscientious development of recreational trails as well as the need for the creation of partnerships between the Forest Service and local clubs and non-profit organizations such as our own. We came away from Garrett’s talk with the motivation and tools to strengthen our partnership with our local District so that we can work toward common goals.
The classroom portion of the IMBA Advanced Trail Building School gave us the tools we need as leaders of volunteers to begin to create trail plans that take into account standards of sustainability as set forth in IMBA’s Trail Solutions book, Trail Solutions: IMBA’s Guide to Building Sweet Singletrack. Trail Solution’s Jake Carsten lead the classroom portion of the Advanced Trail Building School and filled our heads with so much useful information in a way that was strangely simple and digestible. In the words of one Northern California trail builder “I learned more in the Advanced Trail Building School than I have in my 25 years of building trail”. Wow. That pretty much says it all.
Day 2 of the Advanced Trail Building School was a hands-on day in the field. Under the direction of Chris Leman, Jake Carsten, and Chris Orr, and the help of the attendees, we were able to break ground on the Ferretti Non Motorized Trail System and to complete a 900′ section of trail for beginners and kids. This will be the start of a beginner loop in our trail system which will eventually include over 20 miles of singletrack for all abilities.
We also learned how to design and flag trails on the ground while applying rules for preserving the sustainability of trail design by taking into account the mitigation of water. We worked with Chris Leman to familiarize ourselves with clinometers to that end.
We took part in a rock armoring project to provide a little fun and challenge for kiddos and beginners.
We learned about the planning and execution of an effective signing system for trails.
During the Chainsaw Certification and Safety course, participants learned how to safely clear project corridors and mitigate potential hazards in trail building areas. The participants walked away feeling confident about working safely in the forest.
We are now invigorated and excited about our next steps. We are working to secure funding for the completion of the Ferretti Non Motorized Trail System and are excited about continuing our volunteer trail construction within the community of Pine Mountain Lake.
We now have 3 trail projects within our community! The Trail Plan and MOU(Memorandum of Understanding) BananaSeat worked on and completed on her own between us(Groveland Trail Heads) and the Pine Mountain Lake Association was approved by the PMLA Board of Directors! A plan for hiking, running and bicycling trails in unit 16, behind the campgrounds off Ferretti Rd in Groveland/ Pine Mountain Lake We’ll start with one trail at time…
Add this to our 500 acre Mountain Bike Destination project which we have already started the preliminary flagging of the trails and the Science Camp Trail, work in progress, at Camp Tuolumne Trails. It’s an amazing feeling to be part of all of this and it’s an amazing group getting this done!
We are finally starting the preliminary flagging of the mountain bike only trail system IMBA’s Trail Solutions designed! This is the stuff DangerBoy really enjoys as there is so much to see and appreciate in our beautiful forest. Bananaseat, Little Ring, Dilbert, Dilbert’s friend Ben and Cocomo(Big Ring’s, Bananaseat’s and Little Ring’s dog)have been out there too. Sorry we don’t have any pics yet and we’ll get some as soon as we have more help. Hands are full of GPS devices and flagging tape!
Once the preliminary flagging is done we’ll work with a Botanist to review our trail lines and make sure we aren’t anywhere near sensitive plant species. The Botanist will then send a report to the Forest Service’s Botanist to approve the report. The Forest Service’s Botanist is tied up with the Rim Fire Reforestation project and that is completely understandable this is why we’ll(GTH)will provide a qualified Botanist. We’re all hoping that we’ll be breaking ground in the Spring of 2016. Cross your fingers…
After the Rim Fire I contacted Camp Tuolumne Trails to see if there was anything the Groveland Trail Heads could do to help with the aftermath. After talking with Jerry Baker(owner) we went out to an area that got hit pretty bad from the fire. The fire opened up a seasonal creek that was completely overgrown before the fire.
The plan is to build a trail that goes along the creek and crosses at an incredible rock formation. This will be a trail for the science camps they have as well as a really scenic trail for walking and exploring. Now the awesome news… Dwight Follien finally broke ground and built some actual trail today! Here are some pics of the cool rocky part of the creek and of the trail work, enjoy!
Working on an initial vision and MOU for building multi-use (bike/hike/run) trails in Pine Mountain Lake for approval by the BOD.
How many of you Grovelanders would like hiking/running/biking trails in Unit 16 (behind the campgrounds)?
These trails would be accessible to all ability levels with nice flow and low to medium grade and just a tiny bit wider than true ‘singletrack’.
The existing roads in the Unit 16 ‘hiking’ area are prohibitively steep so we’re working to add mileage, increase accessibility, and move recreation away from vehicle roads.
The event was well-attended by local part and full-timers, over 100 people! And the response was positive. Board members presenting: Dwight Follien(DangerBoy), Ariel Galos(Bananaseat), Ryan Byrnes(KickStand), Justin Nash(Heartbreaker), and Kevin Galos(Big Ring). The presentation ran 45 minutes and covered the vision of the non-profit in terms of trail projects and economic development for Groveland and surrounding area. We presented economic statistics that painted a picture of the potential benefits of trail tourism based on case studies of similar rural communities that invested in trail development. We also addressed the subject of sustainability as a necessary component of trail development and spoke about how partnering with the USFS, Groveland Ranger District and completing the mandatory NEPA process would address any potential conflicts with soil and/or sensitive plant and animal species.
On display at the event we had a draft map of the proposed project area which includes over 20 miles of single-track mountain bike trails with a beginner skills section and the addition of a multi-use loop.
The event included the screening of the documentary, Pedal Driven-a film documenting the development of sustainable mountain bike trails in several areas of the nation.
Thanks to all who attended! And thanks to all the people who helped with set up and clean up, you know who you are 😉
What a great weekend at Lake McClure! The Groveland Trail Heads first “affiliate” the Exchequer Riders Club have an incredible project going on. Here is a quote from Josh Malcolm, fellow TROGS(Trail Riders Of Greater Stanislaus)member and an experienced trail builder- “There are plans on making this accessible for beginners, paracyclists, HS racing and already has some reasonably advanced trails with potential for some nastiness. There are plans for bike repair stations in multiple locations. Want to build a super tight techy trail? Cool. Want to build a trail your mom or daughter could ride? cool. Want to build a teeter totter followed by a bridge and a 30 ft gap jump? cool. Want to build a DH rock decent that may make your friends crap their pants? Cool. Want to build and xc or enduro race course? cool.” Could not have said it better ourselves…
Keep an eye open for future trail build days and go ride the mountain bike only trails that are already ready to ride.
Here are some pictures from the Trail Work Weekend: Jan.24th- 25th, 2015. There were 20 people on Saturday and 6 people Sunday. In two days we cut 3/4 of a mile of trail!!!
Meet the Groveland Trail Heads and learn how this group of cyclists is working to improve the year- round economic potential of Groveland and surrounding communities by creating a World Class Mountain Bike Destination for ALL skill levels to enjoy. We have a lot of support and incredible partnerships to make this happen. We’ll talk about the potential for community benefits and growth, youth involvement, community volunteerism, Forest Stewardship, sustainable trail building, jobs and increases in off season business. Please join us February 21st from 3pm- 5pm at Camp Tuolumne Trails. Our presentation will be followed by a Q & A then a screening of the documentary film Pedal Driven! We’ll have snacks and drinks… this event is free
Merry Christmas, everyone! Hope you all are enjoying this time of year
It has been a while since we wrote about our project- Mountain Bike Destination, Groveland- so here is where we are in the process… Back in September we were hoping the NEPA would be completed by Winter 2014. That isn’t going to happen unfortunately but it is understandable. The Forest Service is dealing with the consequences of the Rim Fire. I don’t think I need to remind people how much damage that fire caused. Reforestation is a HUGE project for the Forest Service and takes a lot of personnel, resources and funding. Our 500 acre area suffered no damage thankfully but 50 yards away is a vastly different story. So to still have our project on the table is awesome.
OK, back to the NEPA stuff… BananaSeat, Big Ring, Lil Ring and I(DangerBoy)met with Red Tape recently to discuss progress on completing the NEPA. The issue is that the personnel(Forest Service) needed to complete the process won’t be available for a while. Totally understandable. So what do we do? Well, we are going to work with Red Tape on completing the NEPA. Not going to get into details on this process because it’s a lot of writing! Luckily we have KickStand! He has experience with NEPA stuff and will be our leader for this. No guarantees but we’d like to have this done by April/May 2015. The Groveland Ranger District personnel know we are getting impatient 😉
We are working on a meeting date(Jan/Feb)with the key personnel(District Ranger, Supervisor, etc…)from the Stanislaus National Forest. This will be an opportunity for them to get to know who we are, put faces on the Groveland Trail Heads. We’ll also share our overall vision for more trails for all user groups within the Stanislaus National Forest.
After the meeting with the Stanislaus National Forest Service personnel we are going to have a presentation regarding the economic and community benefits our project will bring. We’ll be inviting a lot of people to this event so stay tuned! BananaSeat has been working hard on the presentation. The presentation will take place at Camp Toulumne Trails. We don’t have a specific date yet as we are waiting for the date to be confirmed for our meeting with the Forest Service. Sometime in February is all we have now but will announce the date as soon as we know.
More news!!!! The Groveland Trail Heads are teaming up with the Exchequer Riders Club. This group has started building a Mountain Bike Park on 700- 800+ acres at Lake McClure! Sweet! We’re working with IMBA on the paperwork stuff, we’ll be the Exchequer Rider Club’s “fiscal sponsor” so they’ll be under our and IMBA’s 501c3 until they are able to become their own IMBA Chapter. Achieving nonprofit status now will help this group get funding, grants and donations for their Mountain Bike Park build- by the way, mountain bike only trails 😉
The Exchequer Riders Club will be hosting a Volunteer Trail Work Weekend January 24th- January 25th for the Exchequer MTB Park at Lake McClure’s Barrett Cove. Details are still being worked out and we’ll post info as it becomes available. Here is a link to their FB Event page-https://www.facebook.com/events/743311299057344/?ref=6&ref_notif_type=plan_user_invited
There is a link on our FB page to their group FB page.
Again, thanks to all the people that have joined the Groveland Trail Heads through IMBA! Your membership helps our club stay alive and as we grow you all will benefit too 😉 Last thing… if you’re in the Groveland area during the holiday season or any other time please let us know. We’re happy to share our local riding knowledge!