Hardrockers near completion, need volunteers | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Hardrockers near completion, need volunteers

by Andy Bourelle

The work is almost done, but there’s no one there to do it.

The Hardrockers, a volunteer organization of trail builders, has been working on an overlook at Emerald Bay since May 18, but most of the volunteers, with the end of summer, have returned to work or school.

“I’m the only Hardrocker who can work now,” said Charlie Smith at the site Tuesday. “We can finish up this year, but it depends on how many volunteers we get. If not, we’ll stop working on Oct. 15.”

About eight people have been volunteering during the summer, as the Hardrockers restored the scenic walkway in the Vikingsholm parking area. The restoration includes constructing a trail accessible to the physically disabled.

During the summer, at-risk youths from the Tahoe Turning Point program as well as Lake Tahoe visitors coming from Japan, Switzerland, Hungary and China also pitched in varying amounts of time to the project. The equipment and materials – including tons of fill dirt, rock and cement – are donated from local companies.

However, only Smith and Wanda Nenstiel from California State Parks are working this week. Lindsay Moore, a new State Parks employee, spent her first day on the job Tuesday helping to build a rock and cement wall at the site.

“We’re just trying to get this done so the handicapped can have access to the overlook,” Nenstiel said. “Hopefully, we’ll be done by October. We’re hoping to get some more volunteers. The more the merrier.”

Next year, the Hardrockers plan to build another handicap-accessible overlook for lower Eagle Falls.

The Hardrockers began eight years ago as a group of mostly senior citizens volunteering to provide access to areas not available to people with physical disabilities. The group’s first project was building an access trail near the summit of Mount Rose close to Incline Village. Workers spent three years working on the trail, which was above 8,000 feet in elevation, had 12 bridges and was 7,300 feet long.

The Hardrockers also spent three years building a wheelchair-accessible trail encircling Sand Harbor on the North Shore.

Smith said the Hardrockers have enough work booked for the next four years, and both temporary and long-term volunteers are welcome. Travel expenses are reimbursed, and the current work is five days a week, for about seven to eight hours each day.

Although no experience is required, Smith said masons would be helpful on the current project.

For information about volunteering, contact Charlie Smith at (530) 544-3254

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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