TAMBA, Over the Edge, LTBMU clean up confusing trail system
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — South Lake Tahoe has some incredible mountain biking, with hefty climbs, big descents, features and views, it’s a bikers paradise.
For beginners and people looking for a casual ride, it can be a little intimidating.
That’s why Over the Edge, a local bike shop, teamed up with Tahoe Area Mountain Bike Association and the Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit to fix up the Hartoonian Trail system.
The trail system is located in a large parcel of land between Martin Ave, Black Bart, Sierra Tract, Lake Tahoe Airport and Pioneer Trail.
“These trails are fairly flat, non-technical and great for beginner/casual mountain bikers,” said Pat Donahue, owner of Over The Edge. “The problem is, the network is extremely confusing. It is a total spaghetti bowl of trails with a huge number of interactions and no signage.”
Donahue added that the shop could direct guests to the trailheads but once they were out on the trails, they were pretty much on their own.”
With the help of TAMBA and LTBMU, Donahue and his staff mapped out several distinct loops on the system and put up signs.
“This project has provided signage and wayfinding on these easier difficulty trails, which historically have been very challenging to navigate,” said Patrick Parsel, TAMBA trails coordinator. “Additionally, two of the routes are directed more towards those commuting across town or between neighborhoods. We want to reduce congestion at the trailheads and improve the connectivity between neighborhoods and this project achieves both of those goals.”
LTBMU helped ensure the loops didn’t cross private land, utilized legal trails, and fit USFS criteria for design and layout.
“This project is an excellent example of both public private partnership, and focusing on an urban trail network that provides key trail connections between neighborhoods and the larger Forest Service trail system,” said Jacob Quinn, Trail Engineer, LTBMU.
The longest route is 4.5 miles and there are also 4-mile nd 1.5 mile loops. All loops are basically flat. A handmade kiosk at the trailhead maps out the loops.
In 2018, Over the Edge raffled off a Kona mountain bike which helped raise most of the funding for the project. A donation from the Latrobe Fund also helped bring the project to completion.
In addition to the original system being confusing, it had several made up trails in it. With the new maps, the forest service is hopeful people will be directed away from those trails.
“This effort to actively sign and maintain our managed trail network, and close and restore unauthorized trails not only makes it much easier for trail users to navigate the trail system, it also eliminates impacts to soil and vegetation caused by the creation and use of unauthorized routes,” Quinn said.
“Projects like this are particularly inspiring to me,” Quinn added. “Many residents use these trails every single day for recreation and transportation, and trail access is often a deciding factor in where people choose to liveThis work highlights a community effort to provide stewardship for an important urban trail system that serves as the core connection for multiple neighborhoods.”
The loops can be started at the trailhead on Martin Ave.
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