New path provides additional options in ‘outdoor playground’
It hasn’t taken long for the newest section of bike path at the South Shore to become a popular spot.
Dozens of bicyclists and pedestrians were making use of the meandering path between Viking Way and Sawmill Road Monday afternoon, less than two weeks after the path opened to the public.
The 1.7-mile, paved path was dedicated Wednesday. It runs through the forest on the west side of Lake Tahoe Boulevard between Sawmill Pond and South Tahoe High School.
The path was designed and constructed by El Dorado County on National Forest System land and provides one link in an increasingly connected area for bicyclists and walkers.
Bike lanes along Lake Tahoe Boulevard connecting the path to neighborhoods to the west are planned. Work to extend a bike path along Sawmill Road and link it up with an existing bridge and bike path that continues to Meyers could also be completed as soon as next year, said Brendan Ferry, a principal planner with El Dorado County.
“We’re really excited,” Ferry said. “Once that full connection is complete I think we’ll see Sawmill ridership really shoot up.”
The Sawmill Pond area already has a variety of recreatonal options for anyone looking to soak in the last days of fall.
The popular Tahoe Mountain and Angora trails are nearby, as is the children’s fishing hole that is Sawmill Pond. The Pie Shop bouldering area can be found down Sawmill Road and the Sand Pit OHV area provides motorized off-road options. Fallen Leaf Lake provides a host of recreation options just over the hill.
“There’s a plethora of different recreational experiences in almost a town-like setting,” said Garrett Villanueva, assistant forest engineer with the U.S. Forest Service, of the area. “It’s kind of an outdoor playground right in the middle of town.”
The new path will provide health and economic benefits to the area, as well as give another option to both locals and tourists to get outside, Villanueva said.
“This is just one of multiple projects that are ongoing and getting completed,” Villanueva said, “and that’s a really exciting thing for our community.”
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