This photo taken April 22 is a typical sight at most of the Lake Almanor Recreational Trail access points in early spring. If it weren’t for the trail posts it would be difficult to see where the trail was actually located. The process of keeping this scenic trail open for use by many is an arduous one. Photo by Gregg Scott

Hard winter for Lake Almanor Recreational Trail

One of the U.S. Forest Service staff members uses a gas-powered blower to clear the pine and fir needles. The Almanor Ranger District is projecting the trail cleanup will be complete by Memorial Day weekend or before. Photo submitted

The Lake Almanor Recreational Trail located along the west shore of Lake Almanor is designated as a year-round accessible trail for use by hikers, bikers, snowshoers and cross-country skiers.

It is used each year by hundreds if not thousands of visitors and local residents.

This is probably because it offers some of the most scenic vistas available along the west shore of Lake Almanor along with a wide variety of mammal and bird life.

Even with year-round access there is one time of year that there is historically some limits to its use.

The U.S. Forest Service Almanor Ranger District is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the trail and is constantly challenged to keep up with Mother Nature’s assault.

The “back to normal” winter this year has definitely taken its toll on the trail in the form of two to three times more forest debris and numerous tree blown-downs across the trail.

Stacy Kronner, district recreation officer for the Almanor Ranger District, noted that the goal for having the trail cleared of winter debris is Memorial Day weekend.

She added that this year has been an extra challenge due to the massive amount of needles, branches and trees on the pathway.

Kronner offered highlights of the work completed so far this year: 12 person hours to remove the 15 downed trees on the 11-mile plus trail, over 70 person hours to clear just over 6.5 miles from Canyon Dam using blowers, rakes and shovels to clear debris and culverts.

The district has been utilizing staff from a combination of work units from Forest Service Hand Crew 1, the Almanor Ranger District silviculture crew and the Almanor Ranger District recreation crew.

“We will have folks working out there Thursday, May 11, of this week, and next week as well,” Said Kronner.

Unfortunately, due to the federal hiring freeze, the district wasn’t able to bring the summer crews on as early as in the past.

The long, heavy winter has taken a toll on all of the Almanor Ranger District Recreation facilities including campgrounds, so the available work force is dispersed between multiple needs.

Kronner indicated they are still shooting for the projected completion timeline of Memorial Day weekend or before.

She also expressed gratitude that there is still one active volunteer group, the PEO Sisterhood, Chapter BO, that is helping maintain the trail. The group has been actively volunteering since the trail’s inception in 1996.

“They keep us apprised of conditions, actively remove material they can, and annually paint, stain, rake, pick up trash and lop branches that may interfere with pedestrians and cyclists alike,” Kronner stated.

The Almanor Ranger District is actively looking for additional volunteers to help maintain sections of the trail.

Those interested may contact Stacy Kronner at 258-5162 for more information.