Camp Rich trail emerges with help from bike shop owner | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Camp Rich trail emerges with help from bike shop owner

Susan Wood

Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune / A cyclist cruises the bike trail near Camp Richardson Monday afternoon.

The paved bike trail that weaves through the Camp Richardson area was plowed one week ago to make way for the two-wheeled vehicles that in muddy spring conditions create skunk tails – a stripe up the back of the riders. But cyclists need to pay attention, as sticks and other residual material may be left on the trail.

As the temperatures went up last weekend, cyclists and pedestrians were out on the trail, which was cleared between 15th Street to about a quarter mile near the end of the trail at Spring Creek Road and Highway 89. The trail is a popular route for tourists and residents during the summer.

“Boy, this was no easy task,” Doug Anderson said Monday. In his 28th season, he runs a bike rental shop on Emerald Bay Road and arranged the plowing of the path with a Bobcat tractor operator. The Tallac Estate has also been cleared but not the access points to the Pope and Baldwin beaches.

Anderson said he’s usually able to use his snowblower and shovels on the trail, “but they were no match,” he added. “There was snow 4 feet deep in spots where it’s shady.”

The venture cost Anderson about $1,200, leaving no money for sweeping the trail and even finishing the snow-clearing job. The Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit won’t be able to help sweep the trail out of season because of limited dollars.

First, the U.S. Forest Service has undergone budget cuts that provide less money for trail maintenance this year, Garrett Villaneuva pointed out Monday. In 2004, $75,000 was budgeted – $17,000 more than this year.

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There are also legal issues with using public funds for a private enterprise, but Villanueva said the Forest Service would assess the condition of the trail when the snow melts.

“Since he directly profits from plowing the trail, we allow him to do that under an agreement,” he said. “But for this early in the season, we’re not even operating yet.”

LTBMU traditionally opens its facilities in Camp Richardson around Memorial Day weekend.

Camp Richardson Resort plans to open its bike rental shop in the next few weeks, weather permitting.

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