What makes a mountain town shine among the best? Most of us agree that such a place requires a strong presence of winter and summer activities, along with free public access to wild and open spaces. After all, wilderness is where we recharge our batteries, build long-lasting friendships and find inspiration to conquer life’s challenges.
Years ago, Henry David Thoreau expressed with great vision that, “In Wildness is the preservation of the world.” And today, more than ever before, many of us mountain dwellers understand this and embrace it daily.
Among the many outdoor activities available, the common ground for hikers, equestrians and mountain bikers is a diverse and expansive network of adventurous singletrack. These ribbons of trail stretch from our homes and communities to distant and rugged ridgelines, grassy meadows and remote alpine lakes.
Unfortunately, not all communities are so lucky. But where trail stewardship and support from public and local governing agencies are strong, mountain communities such as Taos, N.M., Crested Butte, Colo., Moab, Utah, Jackson, Wyo., Bozeman, Mont., Ashland and Bend, Ore., Downieville, Truckee and the Tahoe Basin score very, very high.
Additionally, with continuous citizen foresight and planning, these communities realize strong tourism, great fiscal buoyancy, tight community fabric and higher standards of living for residents and visitors alike.
Where trail stewardship and support is high, we also find diverse user-groups working together to develop trail networks and community. John Svahn, Truckee resident and trail advocate with Truckee Donner Land Trust, expressed recently, “During regular outings and on volunteer trail days, I am constantly inspired by the cooperative spirit I see from trail users with varied recreation backgrounds.”
This feedback is refreshing and increasingly common, and with continued support and common respect for other users, trail networks will continue uniting our communities and providing access to wilderness and adventures beyond.
Continued support and coordination, successful plans for open-space protection, trail maintenance and new trail creation are ever more abundant in mountain towns throughout the Sierra and the Tahoe Basin. Each and every individual who contributed to these major successes knows the deep satisfaction of contributing to his or her own resilient and sustainable community.
So, in addition to our four vibrant seasons, it comes down to you and me, friends and neighbors, who make our mountain towns glow so bright and the place we want to be.
— Team rider Forrest W. Huisman is the author of this week’s Marc Pro-Strava Racing column. For more information, results and upcoming events from the Truckee-based cycling team, visit http://marcpro-strava.com.