TAMBA begins summer of speaking for spokes | TahoeDailyTribune.com

TAMBA begins summer of speaking for spokes

While many outdoor enthusiasts already have turned their thoughts to fall and winter, summer is just warming up for the Tahoe Area Mountain Bicycling Association.

“This is generally when the trail projects are happening,” said Gary Bell, TAMBA’s public relations officer.

Generally, snowfall keeps workers off the trails until they clear and it’s easier to determine what kind of work a trail needs. So August is prime time for TAMBA to start its efforts to improve trail conditions and access.

TAMBA’s efforts on the South Shore start with a work day Friday to improve the condition of the Christmas Valley Trail and the Dardanelles. On Sept. 18, the group offers another work day, on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, which connects Meyers with State Route 89, southeast of town.

“Sometimes, a little change here and a little change there will improve trails,” said Pat Medau, who is organizing the work day on Mr. Toad’s.

“There’s always something we can do on it.”

In addition to trail work, which involves cleaning debris, clearing trails, and improving and rebuilding water bars, TAMBA also promotes low-impact mountain biking. The group’s rules of the trail include guidelines on where and how to ride to minimize bikers’ effects on the trail.

“We really are just (doing) trail maintenance and access, and we have members around the basin and outside the basin,” Bell said. “Really, we’re just trying to help keep riding happening.”

U.S. Forest Service recreation forester Don Lane, who has worked with TAMBA – as well as groups for hikers and equestrians – described TAMBA as a small voice, but an important one.

“All activities create impacts, but it’s possible they can be managed,” Lane said.

The goals of TAMBA seem to dovetail with those of the Forest Service, as Lane described them: to make the impact of activities as small as possible by engineering and using trails correctly, and to avoid the areas where that’s not possible.

“We don’t have many areas closed,” Lane said. “That’s the good news. Most of the trails in the Tahoe area are open.”

While there are a few exceptions in the form of closed trails, many of the negative impacts occur on trails that weren’t engineered for mountain biking, or engineered at all. Lane has seen the impact – or lack thereof – that TAMBA has helped achieve by spreading the word.

“I need advice from experts – like Gary (Bell) – who know how to ride far better than I ever will,” Lane said.

That’s where TAMBA comes in: as spokespeople for the spokes-people.

“The trails always need help,” Bell said. “They can’t take care of themselves.”

For more information on the trail maintenance day at Mr. Toad’s, call Pat Medau at 542-5000. For more information on the Christmas Valley/Dardanelles trail work, call Gary Bell at 541-7505.

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