Steve Fleming, ARPD Trails Committee project manager for the Collins Pine Trail system, and Terry Collins of the Collins Pine Co. plant a new Douglas fir seedling, one of 12, near the trail during the springtime. Photos submitted

Volunteers welcome for trail restoration

Damien Bergmann, right, and fellow volunteer and others took turns working together to clean up a portion of the trail for easy passage to the North Fork, having used an antique double-crosscut saw to remove a section of a fallen tree.

The Trails Committee, under the auspices of the Almanor Recreation and Park District and in concert with community volunteers, local students and others have been busy during the summer months working to restore and maintain the Collins Pine Nature Trail in Chester.

Starting at the trailhead located next to the Truman-Collins Sports Complex, the trail system is broken down into six phases, with Phase 1 restoration-enhancement efforts virtually complete and open to the public after months of dedicated effort.

The Trails Committee’s goal to enhance and maintain the entire trails system, consisting of 3.3 miles of looped trails and spurs, relies heavily on volunteers. The committee invites individuals in the community, including service organizations, church groups, businesses and others, to consider offering their time to help beautify the Collins Pine Trail system for all to enjoy.

The more people or “trail blazers” assisting in the effort, the sooner the full extent of trails will be open to hiking and other activities. Each trail segment offers visitors a unique opportunity to learn about local forest and rivers.

In addition to cleaning up the trails and installing guideposts, benches and information placards are also planned along the route as the trail system nears completion.

The Lake Almanor Elks have generously provided funding for a wooden bridge over the watercourse by Post 9. The bridge is already assembled, which will soon be ready to move and install at the site.

Volunteers Heather Patchen and Duf Gallagher create a temporary water-crossing after dragging a couple of sectioned trees and laying them in place.

Steve Fleming, ARPD Trails Committee project manager for the Collins Pine Nature Trail restoration project, has been overseeing the maintenance work since the beginning.

He said significant progress has been made so far on Phase 2, opening the new 3 and 5 spur trails for example, in an effort to provide clear passage from the main trail to the North Fork of the Feather River.

Additional side trails or spurs are also being graded for easy access to the river.

Volunteers, who first meet in the ARPD building parking lot on Saturday mornings to avoid midday heat before heading out into the forest, work a few hours digging out grass clumps, raking and grading, light weeding, trimming overgrown areas, getting rid of pinecones and general grooming of the trails.

Volunteers also plant tree seedlings along with removing any fallen trees that may be blocking the pathway.

  Also ongoing is work to tidy up the formal entry at the trailhead, including some landscaping work by Susan and Carlos Espana, working their “botanical magic,” said Fleming.

Terry Collins of the Collins Pine Co. also installed two map boxes at the beginning of each trailhead. The Collins Pine Trail sign has been repainted as well.

It’s not all work and no play, Fleming insisted. “Trail groomers can stop to admire the beaver ponds, do some bird watching and take the time to enjoy the beautiful Collins-Almanor Forest and its animal inhabitants.”

It’s also a setting that invites volunteers to take time out to explore their surroundings, have a snack and drink up to stay hydrated while sharing their experiences among one another.

Fleming said he could still use more volunteers in the coming weeks before the first rains arrive in the fall.

For information on how to volunteer to help in the restoration of the Collins Pine Nature Trail, contact Steve Fleming at 602-885-0132, or email him at  [email protected].

Also be sure to visit the ARPD website at yourarpd.org for upcoming community events.

From left, “Trail Blazer” volunteers John Leete, Edie Stuart, Duff Gallagher and Heather Patchen take a short break on Bench 3, one of a number of benches located in the Collins Pine Nature Trail system.