Nonprofit builds trail, bridge as part of Deer Creek project |

Nonprofit builds trail, bridge as part of Deer Creek project

Submitted to The Union

Recently, the Forest Trails Alliance, a local nonprofit community trails organization, started construction of 2,000 feet of trail that will connect to a new 145-foot suspension bridge being constructed over Deer Creek as part of the Tribute Trail Project.

The new trail is located one-fourth mile downstream from the Pine Street Bridge in Nevada City and can be reached by descending the trail that starts at the eastern end of Champion Mine Road, where it meets Old Downieville Road.

The Tribute Trail Project is a collaboration between Nevada City, Forest Trails Alliance (FTA), American Rivers, The Sierra Fund and the Nisenan Indians of the Nevada City Rancheria.

It showcases the role community nonprofits can play in developing recreational opportunities within our urban areas. Community nonprofits are direct action conduits for members of the public to contribute to positive change.

The new trail and bridge are part of a larger project to restore the Deer Creek Watershed, including providing greater community access to the creek. Tangled brush and ladder fuel have been removed as a part of the grant to reduce fire danger in the river canyon, and invasive plant species have been eliminated. For the first time, views of this incredible Yuba-like granite watershed are revealed. The Nisenan Bridge will pay tribute to the indigenous people of the region.

The work currently is focused on the north side of the creek, and to date, crews have completed four out of six challenging segments leading up to the bridge. The steep and mossy boulder-strewn slopes have presented great opportunities for the FTA crew to utilize rigging and showcase their stone masonry talents.

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Besides dry-stacked moss walls, the trail features a basalt stone wall with a color band of burgundy that weaves along its length.

FTA is working with Nevada City engineers and other professionals in the development of these features. The bridge and trail are expected to be completed by this summer.

Forest Trails Alliance is a local nonprofit trails organization whose mission is to empower people who are passionate about trails. The organization specializes in sustainable design and construction techniques that reduce negative impacts on the environment, such as sediment from erosion.

The FTA has been contracted by agencies to construct trails adjacent to reservoirs — like Hennessey in Napa and Scotts Flat above Nevada City — because of its unique equipment and techniques.

The organization has been making presentations at the California State Trails Conference, showcasing these techniques and other forgotten talents, such as stone arched bridges.

Work also continues on the Scotts Flat Trail, a new five-mile-long trail descending from the Five Mile House to Scotts Flat Lake.

Phase II of the project will continue to enhance features along the trail, such as the pictured stone arched bridge or the recently installed handmade trail-head sign.

Seventy-five volunteers signed up as crew to facilitate the construction of this trail. The projected cost was $97,000, but the FTA was able to complete the trail for $13,000. Over half was used for food and beverages for all the volunteers.

To view progress to date and future projects the FTA is developing, follow the organization at

To find out more about Forest Trails Alliance or to make a donation, go to

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