May marks start of South Shore trail projects
Several hiking and biking trails are getting sizable makeovers this spring, with work beginning on lower Corral Trail and the Eagle Falls trail this week and plans to start a project at Fallen Leaf Lake soon.
The Corral Trail project consists of building new features for mountain bikes on more than one mile of trail near Trout Creek. It is being spearheaded by the Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association and will feature high wall berms, rock jumps, tabletop jumps and log rides.
“It’s going to stabilize the trail,” said Ben Fish, TAMBA president. “It’s super exciting to have this starting right now and get this going.”
The project, which has been in the works for several years, is designed to be enjoyable and challenging for riders of all skill levels, “with the intent developing user skill and progression,” according to TAMBA.
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Once completed, Corral Trail will be a model for “purpose built mountain bike features on a legal trail in a National Forest,” according to a statement from the association.
Hilride Progression Development Group prepared the design for the project under contract with the U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. However, TAMBA is taking the lead on the project and is working with Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship, which will act as lead contractor for the job.
TAMBA has raised more than $25,000 in private donations to pay for the Corral Trail improvements. The organization advises users to take alternate routes around lower Corral Trail — such as Incense Cedar Trail — to avoid delaying construction activities.
A volunteer workday will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 17, followed by a get together that evening and a guided mountain bike ride May 18.
Construction will take about four weeks to complete with crews working on a Monday through Thursday schedule.
The Eagle Falls trail, on the other hand, will undergo construction throughout the summer. That project, led by LTBMU, started Monday — the day LTBMU initially scheduled the Fallen Leaf Lake trail project to start.
Work on Eagle Falls trail consists of reconstructing the entire trail, top to bottom, to improve the pathway and eliminate a few public safety concerns, said Trails Engineer Jacob Quinn.
Reconstruction began on the first section of the trail this week in an effort to get one of the South Shore’s most used trails into shape before Memorial Day arrives and the busy season begins.
Quinn said the trail has been due for repairs for some time.
“The trail hasn’t seen any really significant maintenance work in decades,” he said.
The decision to redirect work crews to Eagle Falls trail Monday resulted in the Fallen Leaf Lake project being slightly delayed, but Quinn said the plan was created with flexibility in mind.
“We’re still on schedule to meet all of our goals with the Fallen Leaf project,” he said Tuesday.
Quinn expects the Fallen Leaf Lake project — a multi-year, multi-phased endeavor — to begin either later this week or next week. It will involve adding new trails, building trail loops, retiring old trails and bringing several other paths up to standards.
Public parking also will be improved, as per the plan, and a bridge will be replaced over Fallen Leaf Lake Dam. Other features include making upgrades to further separate pedestrian and vehicle use in the area.
Ultimately, the goal is to enhance the recreational experience and protect the environment on about 14,960 acres of Forest Service land. It will cost about $400,000 to complete the first phase of the project, which officials expect will be completed by the end of summer 2014.
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