The Almanor Recreation and Park District is progressing with its plans to improve and/or create trails within the Almanor Basin through its outreach to landowners, in accordance with the upcoming Plumas County Active Transportation Plan and as part of the organization’s local trail cleanup activities.
ARPD President Colleen Garrett was authorized to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Collins Pine Co. during the district’s recent board meeting.
The document allows ARPD to enter the Collins property north of Chester Park to upgrade the nature trail and to expand the trail system to make it easier to access and use for both community members and seasonal visitors.
According to Garrett, “The Trails Committee has been working out of the ARPD offices for three years, creating ideas and plans for local trail enhancement, trail creation and periodic volunteer trail cleanup.”
The committee is a coalition of individual participants from diverse groups in the area who are particularly interested in more and better trails in the Almanor Basin, she said. They call themselves the Caribou Alliance for Trails. Various members have coordinated different local efforts like the local component of the Great Sierra Cleanup, the Water Trails Map and local input to the county’s Active Transportation Plan.
Garrett said these participants have a true passion for giving to the community and visitors more opportunities for walking, hiking, biking and enjoying “our great outdoor environment. … They feel that, in their small way, attention to and growth of area trails can add to the local economy through improvements spending and added tourism.”
The MOU between ARPD and Collins Pine, signed by Terry Collins and Nick Kent, stated: “The MOU’s purpose is to allow the District and their volunteers to access and restore the Nature Trail. The Nature Trail has been in place for several years, has basic signage and several loops. Currently the trail is overgrown and in disrepair. Enhancement is intended to make the trails easily followed, serviceable, safe and attractive to the community.”
The document allows ARPD to perform the enhancement in steps: “Work Phases will be planned to repair, replace and expand the trails and as appropriate, to install new signage to guide trail users, enhance educational opportunities and user enjoyment. Other Work Phases will include the creation of new trail segments that will allow users to access areas by the North Fork of the Feather River.”
The MOU also commits ARPD to maintenance of the trails associated with the Nature Trail.
Board member David Slusher acts as Trails Coordinator for ARPD and was active in targeting the Nature Trail and coordinating the discussions with Collins Pine.
Said Slusher, “We had approached Collins several years ago but didn’t have a specific improvement plan idea. Our Trails Committee recently toured two Collins areas: the Nature Trail and Collins Park 40 at the Highway 36 and Pacific Crest Trail intersection. They both were educational trails that had not had the attention that they deserve. And, when we walked the Nature Trail, almost everyone thought it was perfect for improvement due to its proximity to Chester Park and its beautiful views along the North Fork of the Feather River.”
The Nature Trail enhancement project will be headed by a new full-time resident of the Almanor Basin and ARPD volunteer Steve Fleming, who has significant experience in trail development and maintenance.
According to Garrett, “Steve was an active leader in trail development within portions of the 740-acre McDowell Mountain Preserve just outside of Scottsdale, Arizona. He volunteered in various roles for the township of Fountain Hills, which is south and adjacent to the Preserve. His roles included chairman of a nonprofit group who secured funds and planned several portions of the Fountain Hills trail system efforts, and as the “trail blazer” leader of volunteers who created and maintained many miles of McDowell’s trails.”
ARPD will be recruiting volunteers and soliciting funds for the Nature Trail improvements.
For those interested in participating, go to the Trails Committee tab on the ARPD website at yourARPD.org.
Outside funding will be needed for hand tools, signage, benches, tables and rock materials.
Company and group sponsorships for improvement features at particular areas of interest will also be available on an annual basis.