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Trail users take advantage of new system

The recently improved Spanish Traverse Trail, part of the South Park Trail System, offers this view of American Valley.  The trails are located just a handful of miles outside Quincy and offer users breathtaking views. Photo by James Wilson
James Wilson
Sports Editor

Trail users in Plumas County let out a sigh of relief last weekend — not to mention some deep breaths. The nonmotorized portion of the South Park/Mount Hough Trail System was completed last Saturday thanks to the help of several local volunteers who spent their weekend building and finishing trails outside Quincy.

The trail project, which allows outdoor opportunities for multiple trail users, has been in the works for years now. The environmental analysis for the trails was completed in August 2013, and work began on the system last month.

Prior to the Plumas National Forest’s adoption of the trail system, the Central Plumas trails made by specific users were not regulated. There was no standard on how the trails were built and subsequently they excluded some user groups.

The Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship partnered with the Plumas National Forest through a cost-share agreement, which provided local manpower to leverage the allocated funds.

According to SBTS Trail Programs Director Tara Stone, more than 200 volunteers pitched in close to 1,300 hours of work on the trail since last September. The stewardship mainly attracted the volunteers through several workdays. The final workday on the project was held last Saturday.

The stewardship, with volunteer help, widened trails to at least 18 inches of tread, cleared areas above trails to allow room for horses, cleared brush, filled holes and leveled bumps to flatten the trails. The stewardship also built more than a mile of brand new trail and added switchbacks to pre-existing trails.

Another problem the trails had before the system was adopted was that not many people knew where the trails were or where they went. Signage was installed to help with the problem, with plans for more to be added later.

The Rotary Club of Quincy started the initial signage effort, purchasing and installing multiple directional signs along the South Park trails. These signs not only provide direction, but reminders of trail etiquette.

According to Erika Brenzovich from the Mount Hough Ranger District, the Plumas National Forest plans to take over the signage from this point on. In addition to directional signs, the Forest Service plans to install trailhead bulletin boards in three locations: the South Park trailhead, the Cascade trailhead and the Spanish Creek trailhead.

The bulletin boards will detail a larger map of the trails and offer pocket maps for users. The Forest Service is waiting to finalize the recreational trail maps, then will install the bulletin boards at the Cascade trailhead and Spanish Creek trailhead sometime this spring.

The Forest Service is finishing up the South Park trailhead design. Construction on the trailhead is planned for this summer or fall. Included in the design is an equestrian parking area.

According to Brenzovich, work on the Mount Hough portion of the trail system will continue with existing Resource Advisory Committee funds this spring, and can continue pending the county’s grant proposal with the state.

After completing the South Park recreational trail map, the Plumas National Forest plans to work on a Mount Hough map to show which trails are open.

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