Phase 1 work on the Collins Pine Trail near completion

Between the onset of winter and the near completion of the Phase 1 Loop maintenance work on the Collins Pine Trail, I’d say we are done for the season after so many volunteers dedicated themselves to beautify the first stage of the trail system.

Now is the time to enjoy the fruits of our labor  — to play, hike, and with the coming snow, to snowshoe or cross-country ski in the forest.

The Phase 1 loop is 0.65 miles, as measured from the new trailhead behind the Almanor Recreation Center, out around the loop and back again.

There are several Phase 1 details being installed, however, starting with trail maps at the trailhead in a dispenser, thanks to Terry Collins who provided the materials, plus directional signs on key posts around the loop, finished by Charlie Plopper — many thanks to both of you!

And finally, the design work is complete for a bridge to be placed over the largest watercourse in the trail system located by Guide Post 9. We are still hoping to find funding next year to construct the bridge through individual and business sponsorships.

Looking back, when we started this trail restoration effort, I realized our first meeting was Aug. 5. Everyone involved has done a lot of very fine work in a very short time! Thank you all!

About the new trailhead behind the Almanor Recreation Center building: It was originally envisioned earlier this year as the formal entry through Chester Park for snow activities.

The entry into the trail system at that point is difficult to access in the winter. Gates are locked and a long trek through the snow is needed. The county plows the road in front of the ARC building where there is parking.

Additionally, the ARC walkways are usually cleared. Bottom line: You can park, walk around behind the building and slip on your snowshoes and then off you go.

Looking to 2018, I met with Terry Collins recently, when we reviewed our 2017 work and went over the Phase 2 plan for 2018.

We both agreed that all is in order for us to proceed next spring with the Phase 2 loop section. The area of Phase 2 is just beyond the Phase 1 trail — toward Collins Pine facility — where hikers can pick out post numbers 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 marking the trail.

At this point, you are nearly back to the main trail. Our new work area is, in many ways, very different from Loop 1. More water features, for example, and beaver ponds, plus some really sizable pines!

One of Chester’s service clubs has asked about a workday in helping in the trail building-restoration effort.

In closing I would again like to thank those who came out to help this year. You did absolutely wonderful work!