Recap: 2016 Trail Stewardship Summit, Groveland, CA

Special thanks to Mike Wubbles | Executive Director of the Stewards of the Sierra National Forest, Dusty Vaughn | Public Service Program Leader USFS Groveland Ranger District, and Dwight Follien | Co-Chair of the Groveland Trail Heads for photography.


The 2016 Trail Stewardship Summit was organized by Dusty Vaughn, Public Program Leader from the Groveland Ranger District and brought together instructors from the public and private sector to lead workshops for trail professionals and volunteers that focused on collaborative methods for the conscientious design, development and maintenance of recreational trail systems.


Trail professionals from the public and private sector gave their time to educate attendees in sustainable design, build, and maintenance practices.


Scott Gordon, of CountourLogic donated his time to train attendees in efficient, conscientious, and ecologically sound methods of trail system design and construction and he spent two days outside of the Trail Stewardship Summit designing and laying out the second trail in our Pine Mountain Lake Public Trail system. Scott worked with Ariel Galos and Dwight Follien of the Groveland Trail Heads to lay out the upper leg of the Phase Two trail in the Pine Mountain Lake Public Trail System so that the California Conservation Corps could begin construction Saturday morning.


ContourLogic presented during the classroom workshop and educated attendees about trail design and layout for multiple-use trails as well as a comprehensive approach to intelligent design methods for trail systems.


In the field, ContourLogic trained attendees in trail corridor design and layout as well as methods for finalizing trail design and layout on the ground.
Attendees also learned an 8-step method for trail construction using hand tools.


The California Conservation Corps (led by Brian Lussier) donated their time and equipment to complete initial construction of the trail designed by ContourLogic, bringing us close to our 2016/17 goal of the completion of Phase Two of the Pine Mountain Lake Public Trail System. The CCC crew of the Greenwood Center, under leadership of Brian, were a pleasure to work with. Not only did they leave us with a finished product that exceeded our expectations, they also took the time to demonstrate their methods and equipment to event attendees and instructors alike.


Brian Ward from the National Park service led a workshop on rock wall construction, with a focus on using grip hoists and a high line to move and place rock at the site of the technical switchback on the Phase One trail in the Pine Mountain Lake Public Trail System. Attendees also learned techniques for breaking and moving rock by hand – straight from the Yosemite Backcountry experts themselves.


United States Forest Service employees led a workshop on tread hardening and maintenance on OHV trails in the Forest and attendees learned how to maintain a section of OHV trail to bring it up to sustainable standards. Attendees learned how to place tread blocks onto sections of trail to prevent erosive forces of water.


Jim Bales, Trail Crew Leader from the United States Forest Service, lead a classroom workshop covering blasting techniques employed by the USFS for road and trail rock work, rehabilitation, and the mitigation of natural hazards.


During a three day course students learned how to safely operate and maintain chainsaws. The course consisted of one day of classroom instruction and two days of hands-on field training. Training topics included: chainsaw maintenance, log bucking and brush clearing techniques, and hazard tree removal and identification. Upon completion of the course the students earned a Forest Service Chainsaw Operator Certification which is valid for three years.

Good times were had by all, there were no dragons, however. But we’re told they are coming.


For this event, we enjoyed the sponsorship and partnership of both government and private sector organizations. These organizations helped us to offset costs associated with the hosting of this event and showed us that we can be successful in uniting our region through advocacy and education. The Tuolumne County Economic Development Bureau, Tuolumne County Visitor’s Bureau, Tuolumne County Transportation Council, Yosemite Gateway Partners, and the OHV Fund helped to make the vision for this event a reality. A special thanks to our partner, Pine Mountain Lake for accommodating this event on their property and for their continued support of the Pine Mountain Lake Public Trail System.


We had a large amount of support from area business owners both financially and in-kind. The Groveland Area Prosperity Council, Yosemite Highway 120 Chamber of Commerce, Mountain Sage Coffee, Soul Be Good, Hotel Charlotte, Pizza Factory, and Fork & Love Restaurant all made contributions to the event that made it memorable for attendees. Because of this support, we were able to showcase the great sense of community that exists up here in Groveland.
The Family Camp at Yosemite housed the California Conservation Corps for the weekend, providing comfortable, localized lodging for their crew and leaders.
The McGowan family donated the use of their private hangar for the classroom portion of the Trail Stewardship Summit, providing us all with a comfortable and localized space for Saturday mornings classroom session.


Michelle Lamelin, from Adventure Sports Journal, gave us the gift of press so that we could spread the word about this event. ASJ continues to support the introduction of Groveland as a destination to the outdoor community.


The attendees of the Trail Stewardship Summit included a broad range of trail user groups (equestrian, hiker, biker, and OHV), trail volunteers, and trail professionals including the Stewards of the Sierra National Forest, the Bureau of Land Management-Red Hills, and USFS employees from the Stanisalus and Plumas National Forests.


One of the biggest takeaways from the event was an emphasis on a collaborative approach to trail advocacy and development across motorized and non-motorized user groups. We learned that our needs are the same and that our desire for education and better practices brings us toward collaboration and mutual support.
A special thanks to Dusty Vaughn, Public Service Program Leader, USFS, Groveland Ranger District, for organizing this event. Dusty is responsible for bringing together a diverse group of instructors and attendees from all trail backgrounds and disciplines. Thank you, Dusty!
We thank all of our sponsors and partners for making this event happen and for continuing to support our efforts. The support and investment of our community members and county leaders help us to continue to create strong partnerships that will help us work together to achieve common goals.