Tahoe groups take advantage of mostly smokeless skies to reconstruct, maintain trails

Ashleigh Goodwin /
Building trail at Painted Rock
Provided/Morgan Steel TRTA
Building trail at Painted Rock
Provided/Morgan Steel TRTA

Each May, as soon as the snow melts, trail groups such as the Tahoe Rim Trail Association and Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association begin taking advantage of the long summer days to build and maintain trails.

The Tahoe Rim Trail is a 200-mile system that is lovingly maintained throughout the digging season which is May 1 – Oct. 15. The Tahoe Rim Trail Association’s teams of employees and volunteers dedicate hours of time planning, prepping for and executing trail work to maintain previously established trails and create new ones. 

The Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association is another group that aims to get out each summer and work on trails.

According to their website, TAMBA works in partnership with land managers around the Lake Tahoe Basin. Self described as a “volunteer-driven nonprofit organization that helps to build, maintain, and advocate for multi-use trails in Tahoe while providing education to all trail users and hosting fun community events.” 

“Fortunately, the sun rises early in the summer,” said TRTA. “We soak it up and maximize each precious moment of sunny smoke-free skies.” 

Both TAMBA and TRTA take advantage of every possible moment by scheduling out work days, in some cases, months in advance. The early morning activities of the TRTA office include prepping for a day’s work in the hot sun loading Ice chests with drinks and work trucks with tools before crews are sent off in various directions. Trails maintained this summer include Phipps Creek where crews worked hard to finish a tread maintenance project. 

“Summers on the Tahoe Rim Trail are a blur of activity, and 2022 has been another productive year for the Tahoe Rim Trail Association.”

The work TRTA put in this summer includes 60 hosted workdays on the trails, removal of over 400 felled trees within the trail corridor, reparations of recently closed trails due to fire, and completed a re-route of a 1.3 mile trail north east of Tahoe City. 

TRTA provides Trailhead education
Provided/Morgan Steel TRTA

Crews don’t just break a sweat while breaking ground, says TRTA, “Our Task Force Trailhead crew set up shop at Van Sickle Bi-State Park to spend time greeting trail users and providing trail information and essential tips on trail etiquette.” 

The goal of the etiquette education is “ensuring a world-class experience for trail users today and in the future and inspiring others to protect this incredible resource in the Tahoe Basin.” 

In total TRTA has assessed and maintained over 150 miles of trail protected essential habitats of the peregrine falcon and dedicated over 17,500 hours of service. With details planned in advance TRTA looks forward to major trail improvement projects in the upcoming seasons.

TAMBA has also had a hugely successful year hosting over 350 volunteers contributing nearly 3,000 hours of trail work across more than 60 volunteer trail days. 

Post Fire tree clearing
Provided/Morgan Steel TRTA

“With the dedicated help and that of our small paid trail crew, we’ve been able to maintain approximately 80 miles of multi-use trail in the Tahoe Basin on 40 different trails, including the clearing of over 250 down trees,” said Patrick Parsel, TAMBA trails director. 

Parsel said additionally TAMBA has made progress on improving the connectivity of the trail network with some key additions around the lake. 

“This year we started several projects and are doing a lot of planning for future connectivity. One in Tahoe City Road 73 bypass is a reconstruction project. The USDA Forest service has been helping bring this 2 mile stretch trail Antone Meadows to Rim Trail,” explained Parsel.

Parsel told the Tribune there is another project on the west shore, Caspian Rim trail, near the Stanford Rock trail which TAMBA completed last year.

According to Parsel the goal of this trail is to present some amazing views while alleviating traffic along the very busy Stanford Rock trail. The ultimate goal of this trail project is to make a loop that connects to the Blackwood Canyon snow park.

“Finally, we were able to perform significant rebuilding work on the nearly 20 miles of trails that were damaged by the Caldor Fire last year, including the reconstruction of four bridges that were destroyed in the fire,” Parsel said.

Parsel attributes the work completed to a  great partnership and support from the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit and other supporters all in the name of the maintenance and development of what Parsel calls a “world class trail network.”

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