Community comes together to celebrate local trails June 7 |

Community comes together to celebrate local trails June 7

Laura Brown
Special to The Union

Snaking along a little-used section of the South Yuba Trail, hikers looked down at dramatic landscapes of the South Yuba River Canyon.

Wildflowers were in full bloom along the trail's edge, greeting hikers who followed local historian and author Hank Meals as he told the story of this place and pointed out bedrock mortars, mining sites and spellbinding views.

It's an easy to moderate 5-plus mile hike that Meals will lead June 7, and one of 14 guided outings on local trails during the annual Celebration of Trails.

Hosted by Bear Yuba Land Trust, more than 20 local organizations, outdoor experts and trails advocates are coming together to put together the event that coincides with National Trails Day, a date meant to encourage more people to get outdoors on local trails.

"When people engage with the wonder and beauty that surrounds us in a more personal encounter, then they are more likely to take responsibility for the health of the woodlands and wildlife and feel better about themselves, our community, and even the world at large," said Bear Yuba Land Trust Community Program Manager Melony Vance.

For four years, Vance has organized BYLT's busy trekking calendar and this year has put together a schedule featuring 70 treks. To date, the Land Trust has built 35 miles of local trails.

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"One of the main reasons people move here is to have easier access to the great outdoors. We organize outings to introduce these trails to the community so they can get out and experience nature in a safe way," Vance said.

Awareness about the health and economic benefits of outdoor recreation and the abundance and accessibility of local trails is a big part of the event. There are outings for people of all ages and levels of mobility.

A Trails Day Headquarters will be set up at Nevada County's Rood Center from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., with trail information, maps and trekking schedules.

Many outing leaders will meet participants at the Trails Day Headquarters. Choose from a family friendly wheelchair accessible nature hunt, numerous guided hikes in varying degrees of difficulty all over the county, bike rides for beginner, intermediate and experienced riders, a downtown tour and an equestrian ride.

Partners in this year's trails day event include: BONC, Far West Geoscience Foundation, FREED, Friends of Spenceville, Gold Country Trails Council, Living Wild, Hank Meals, Matteo's Public, Mendocino Tahoe Conservancy, Nevada City Chamber of Commerce, Nevada City Nisenan, Nevada County Planning Department, Nevada County Walkers, OLALA Farms, Outside Inn, Ray Bryars, Sierra Club, Sierra Mountain Coffee Roasters, Sierra Streams Institute, State Parks, Tahoe National Forest, The Sierra Fund, Tour of Nevada City Bicycle Shop and YBONC.

"Great trails make for great communities. I believe our local trails are especially varied – we have deep canyons and mixed forests, steep creeks and big meadows, plus relics from first peoples and historic mining leftovers," said Ellen Lapham, an avid bicyclist and member of BONC.

Lapham helped organize three mountain bike outings and a booth at the trails day headquarters. BONC collaborates with community groups to build and maintain multi-use recreation trails throughout the county. She, like many, would like to see more being done to make Nevada County an outdoor recreation destination – a "trail town."

"We have wonderful wilderness assets as well as 'urban' pathways to draw people in," she said.

Nevada City's historic downtown will be the focus of such "urban pathways," with two tree tours led by Arborist Zeno Acton and Native Plant Society member Roger McGehee. The all-abilities tours are open to everyone, including families and will make numerous stops along the way.

"We're going to have two really exciting tree specialists," said Mary Cahill, founder of Nevada County Walkers who helped organize the tours.

Walkability advocate Ray Bryars will lead a walk to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain. He believes local trails are a community asset benefiting the population's physical and mental health and gives a boost to the local economy.

"Visitors come to see Empire Mine, Bridgeport, the Yuba, etc. where they might take a nice hike to build up an appetite for a nice meal in one of our fine restaurants," Bryars said. Besides encouraging his community to stay active, Bryars enjoys introducing family and friends to trails when they come visit and he commonly meets new friends when out walking. "We are blessed to live in such a beautiful place where local trails give us an opportunity to enjoy nature so close to home," he said.

Trails Day Headquarters will be in the parking lot of Nevada County's Rood Center, across from the trail head of the Hirschman Trail.

People can stop by for local trail information and maps, grab a cup of coffee and a baked good from Sierra Mountain Coffee Roasters and pick up the day's schedule.

Booths include: Bear Yuba Land Trust with manzanita cider provided by Living Wild, BONC, Nevada County Planning Department, Tahoe National Forest, YBONC and more. After an introduction by local dignitaries, a number of outings will depart on foot, bike, wheelchair and carpool from the Rood Center.

For more information, contact Bear Yuba Land Trust Outreach Coordinator Laura Brown at 272-5994 x 211 or or visit:


What: Celebration of Trails

When: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 7

Where: Trails Day Headquarters, Nevada County Rood Center

A Taste of the South Yuba River: Hank Meals will lead this moderate five-mile hike to a dramatic landscape in the South Yuba Canyon. Participants will hike upstream to Long Point and a descent of the spur trail to the river. Features along the trail include two bedrock mortar locations, mining sites, a small waterfall and a gorgeous view of the South Yuba canyon.

Meet between 8:30 and 9 a.m. at the Trails Day Headquarters, Rood Center. Participants will return by 1 p.m.

Bike Rides with BONC (Bicyclists of Nevada County)

Family Mountain Bike Ride and Clinic – BONC guide Ellen Lapham will lead this one-hour, six-mile ride designed for families. On this scenic and informational ride families will learn about safety and cycling etiquette, rules of the road and tips for a fun and enjoyable ride. Helmets are required.

Meet at 9 a.m. at Trails Day Headquarters, Rood Center.

Intermediate mountain bike ride on Hirschman’s trail – BONC member Jane Ragan will lead this file-mile round trip, one hour ride. The historic and scenic trail features the Hirschman’s Pond named after the Hirschman brothers, early pioneer miners and merchants of the area. Bicyclists will also see a 40-foot long trestle. West of the pond, the trail narrows and meanders through oak woodlands, pine forests and grasslands. Helmets are required.

Meet at 9 a.m. at the trailhead just off Highway 49 on Cement Hill Road (park in the Rood Center parking lot).

Advanced mountain bike ride on The Round Mountain trails. BONC members Orion Kroeger and Cameron Echternacht will lead this two-hour ride with 2000 feet of climbing. The Round Mountain trails include steeps through the woods and views of the South Yuba River. Other features include a climb of the Rock Creek Flume trail to Lower Hudson, the overlook at Coyote Ledge and Upper Hudson, and the Up and Over trail. The return ride includes switchbacks to the South Yuba trail and Purdon Crossing and a final climb back out. Those sensitive to poison oak should wear high socks and arm coverings. Helmets are required.

Meet at 9 a.m. at the Rood Center to carpool or meet at 9:30 a.m. at the corner of Purdon and Rector.

Black Swan Hike – Stephen Hein of Mendocino Tahoe Conservancy will lead this hike traversing some of the newly-built trails around the Black Swan pond and hydraulic cliffs. Participants may see nesting sites of swifts, swallows and the little green heron. The site is located at 1,000 feet elevation in the foothill oak woodlands with views of the lower Yuba River, Slack’s Ravine and Deer Creek.

Meet at 9:30 in the Trails Day Headquarters, Rood Center for carpooling. Participants will return at 2 p.m.

Day Hike at Spenceville Wildlife and Recreation Area: Richard Thomas of Friends of Spenceville and Sierra Club will lead this 4 to 5 mile hike on the Pittman Road West from Spenceville through the blue oak woodlands to Horseshoe Pond and back. This is easy terrain along an old road. Participants will watch for birds and late wildflowers. Bring water, sunscreen, good footwear, lunch and binoculars. Alternately, depending on the groups’ familiarity with Spenceville, there could be a hike to Fairy Falls.

Meet at 8 a.m. at the Trails Day Headquarters to carpool or meet at the Spenceville town site at 9 a.m.

Empire Mine State Historic Park: Hard Rock Trail Walk – Greg Sherr will lead this easy to moderate level walk starting at the Penn Gate Parking Area on East Empire Street at 9 a.m. During the hike, Sherr will discuss the natural and historic aspects of the park. The hike is two miles and will take approximately two hours.

Meet at 9 a.m. at the Penn Gate Parking Area on East Empire Street, Grass Valley.

Equestrian Ride Lone Grave – Gold Country Trails Council Annual 2014 Poker Ride at Skillman Horse Camp, 15 miles east of Nevada City in the beautiful Tahoe National Forest. This is an 8-mile easy to moderate difficulty ride for experienced riders. There is a fee and pre-registration is required. For more information contact Linda 273-6346, Entry forms are available at:

Family Friendly Wheelchair Accessible Nature Hunt at Hirschman’s Pond: Local outdoor enthusiast Ana Acton of FREED and artist/ history buff, Robyn Martin of OLALA Farms will lead a stroll & roll to the pond. Along the way Robyn will identify plants and how they can be used for food and medicine. This trek is kid friendly and wheelchair accessible.

Meet at 10:30 a.m. at the trailhead off of Cement Hill Road.

Lang’s Crossing to Spaulding Lake – Robert Kelly will lead this moderate four-mile round trip Sierra Club Hike from Lang’s Crossing to Spaulding Lake.

Meet at 8:45 a.m. at the Trails Day Headquarters, Rood Center for carpooling.

Malakoff Diggins Guided Geology Tour – Geoscientist and naturalist David Lawler will lead this special hiking tour of key points of interest at Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park. Lawler will share his knowledge of the ancient Yuba River system and historic mining in the northern Sierra region. Participants will visit the Malakoff pit, Hiller and Lake City sluice tunnel portals, LeDu hydraulic diggins, and more… If you are interested in deep time and gold, this is the hike for you.

Meet at 9 a.m. at the Trails Day Headquarters, Rood Center for carpooling.

Nevada City Tree Tour – Nevada County Walkers will host two tree tours in downtown Nevada City. Local Arborist Zeno Acton will lead a tour geared toward children and families and Roger McGehee of California Native Plant Society will lead another. This is an all-abilities tour open to everyone with numerous stops along the way.

Meet at 9 a.m. for the family-based tour and 9:30 for the adult tour at the Trails Day Headquarters, Rood Center.

Rattlesnake Trail with Gene Haroldsen and Bob Goar. The three-mile hike meanders along canals and forest glades in the Rattlesnake Road and Rattlesnake Ridge neighborhoods.

Meet at 9 a.m. at the most northerly intersection of Highland Drive and Rattlesnake Road.

Sugar Loaf Mountain – Ray Bryars, Walkability Advocate, Trails Volunteer and Scotch Broom Puller will lead this Walk up Sugarloaf Mountain. Enjoy views overlooking Nevada City and if the weather is clear, out to the coastal range and into the Sierra Nevadas. Learn a little about the local area and some of the characters of the early gold mining days. Compare some of the early day photographs with recent pictures taken by local photographer Dave McLellan.

Difficulty: Fairly steep uphill, but the group will walk slow and stop often on this 1 ½ hour walk.

Meet at 9 a.m. at the Trails Day Headquarters, Rood Center. Participants will carpool to the trailhead.

Tribute Trail: Amber Taxiera of The Sierra Fund will lead this 6-mile guided easy-to-moderate walk along the Deer Creek Tribute Trail. Learn about the regions rich heritage and how this ongoing trail project pays tribute to the region’s inhabitants. Participants will learn about new trail segments and the new Nisenan Bridge that will connect to the Environs Loop. There may even be an opportunity to get hands dirty and pull some weeds along certain sections of trails.

Meet at 9 a.m. in the Trails Day Headquarters, Rood Center.

Walk-Along The Environs Loop of the Deer Creek Tribute Trail – Ori Chafe of Sierra Streams Institute will lead this easy three-mile walk featuring new field guides created by students from Yuba River Charter School as well as local natural history and the Nisenan Rancheria of Nevada City.

Meet at 11 a.m. at the corner of Zion and Jordan Streets in Nevada City.

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