The 2.2-mile Tribute Trail snakes west out of downtown Nevada City along Deer Creek, offering scenic hiking, a new bridge and even a swimming hole.
But, up until this year, accessing the trail was something of a challenge and often required venturers to stroll through private property along the Newtown and Champion Mine roads, as well as land owned by the city, the county, Bureau of Land Management and Nevada Irrigation District.
Earlier this year, the Sierra Fund, a Nevada City foundation, completed a nearly $1 million project to make the trail legally accessible and added a bridge, named Chinese Bridge, about 1.5 miles west of downtown along the trail, said Elizabeth "Izzy" Martin, CEO of the Sierra Fund.
But that was just phase one of the plan.
At the Sept. 28 Nevada City Council meeting, Sierra Fund representatives requested a letter of support from the city to help secure $1 million in funds for expansion efforts on the Tribute Trail.
Phases two through four include the addition of a second pedestrian bridge closer to town; purchase of about 50 acres from a family; and finally the connection of two trails to form an estimated 9-mile trail looping back to the city.
Phase two calls for the construction of a suspension bridge between neighborhoods north and south of Deer Creek, for which the Sierra Fund is seeking $1 million in grants.
"I wouldn't say it will be a shortcut, but it will keep kids off the road," Martin said. "So it will link two neighborhoods that currently have (Deer Creek) between them."
Phase three calls for Nevada City to acquire the Gallelli family's property, at a price determined by a state appraisal, and make the area accessible to the public.
The Gallelli family bought up much of the former Erickson Lumber land for a summer home a few years back, noted Nevada City Council member Duane Strawser. Since coming to the community, the Gallellis have become involved with positive community work, helping with land grants and easing rights, which contributed to completion of the phase one of the project, Strawser added.
"They've become very active and work with the community, offering up their land to facilitate open space and public parks lands, as well as trails for hiking and biking," said Strawser.
"This 50-acre parcel is a critical piece of land that will link the upstream sections of the Tribute Trail, with the downstream parts," City Manager David Brennan wrote in a report to Nevada City Council members.
"Our family was excited to be part of the recent Tribute Trail project," said Gary Gallelli Jr. on behalf of his family in a statement. "The trail and access easements we were able to provide will serve and enrich our community for future generations."
The Gallelli family will donate 3 percent of the purchasing amount back to the city to help cover maintenance costs of the trail, reported Steve Enos, a land-use planning consulting for the Gallelli's. Once the city has the land, phase four of the Sierra Fund's plan calls for the connection of the incomplete trail on Bureau of Land Management property to the south of the Gallelli parcel to the city's land on the north.
"At the end of phase four, the whole trail will be in place with both bridges and that property will be a public park," said Martin.
"This expansion of the city environ's property and linking it to the public BLM land along Deer Creek will be another jewel in the crown of Nevada City's visionary open space, trails and public parks efforts," said Gallelli.
Council members voted unanimously to support the Sierra Funds efforts in securing more funds toward the next three phases of the Tribute Trail.
To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (530) 477-4236.