Say ‘no to mud’ on trails this season & what’s coming from the Bear Yuba Land Trust this year | TheUnion.com

Say ‘no to mud’ on trails this season & what’s coming from the Bear Yuba Land Trust this year

Laura Petersen
Special to The Union

Winter storms in the Sierra Nevada foothills can leave local trails a mucky mess.

To avoid trail widening, unnecessary erosion, soil damage, higher maintenance costs and labor demands, the trails crew at Bear Yuba Land Trust asks the community to be responsible trail users when the ground is water logged and muddy. Bikes and horses can cause the most damage, but foot traffic is also destructive when the ground is wet.

"If people must go out, we want them to stay on the trails. Please avoid walking around puddles because it damages vegetation and creates trail widening," said Land Access Manager Shaun Clarke.

Clarke recommends hikers reschedule an outing when storms hit because windy conditions can be dangerous. Tree roots can lose their footing, rocks can tumble down slopes and high winds can break branches and topple trees.

For folks who just can't help themselves and need to get outside despite foul weather, it's recommended to use alternative trails like the paved Litton Trail located off Sierra College Drive.

Trails can take a week or two to dry out depending on the slope, elevation, and soil type. Look for south facing trails and trails at lower elevations that dry out more quickly. Water is the number one enemy of the trail. Bear Yuba Land Trust uses federal trail building standards designed to minimize water impacts and endure a beating.

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"The idea is that if a trail is built right the first time then it won't need much maintenance if trail users follow the rules and stay on the trail," said Clarke.

Year of the volunteer

Bear Yuba Land Trust has big things in store for folks who are looking for more meaning in their lives and who want to connect with others in the community who have a passion for land conservation, trails, hiking and nature education.

The land trust invites the public to a casual Meet and Greet from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 23, at Ol' Republic Brewery where attendees can get the low down on fun volunteer opportunities available in 2018.

The evening social will be followed by a full day dedicated to volunteer training and orientation from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 24. There will be information about trail building, wildlife habitat restoration, data collection, vegetation management, becoming a trek docent or Land Trust Ambassador at Outreach events.

Leading up to the training day are two land-based volunteer work days. Next week, Wednesday, Jan. 31, community members are invited to remove invasive plants and re-seed areas with native wildflowers at the newly conserved Higgins Pond Preserve in the Southern reaches of Nevada County near Lake of the Pines. Bear Yuba Land Trust is planning a Ribbon Cutting and Grand Opening of the preserve in March.

On Feb. 15, the community is invited to volunteer with a restoration work at Adam Ryan Preserve near the community of Alta Sierra. Work crews will create burn piles, pull Scotch broom, maintain the trail and beautify the pollinator garden.

Bear Yuba Land Trust launches 2018 Trek Calendar

A number of guided outdoor hikes, outings and events are in store for nature lovers in 2018. Join Bear Yuba Land Trust and Certified California Naturalist Steve Roddy the second Saturday of each month for the ongoing family series, "Junior Conservationist: Stories in Nature." On Feb. 10, participants will explore the wonders of the Litton Trail near Sierra College.

Bear Yuba Land Trust's first trail project, the Litton Trail, weaves through a forested greenbelt alongside a pretty irrigation canal. This urban trail provides opportunities to get off the pavement and enjoy nature while still in the heart of town. A conservationist is someone who advocates or acts for the protection and preservation of the environment and wildlife.

These outings are designed for children ages 5 to 12, accompanied by a parent or other caregiver. Suggested donation is $10 per family.

Other special outings and events planned for this spring include: Birding with Ted Beedy at Black Swan Preserve on March 17, a guided hike on Independence Trail on April 21, a BioBlitz Citizen Science Youth Summit on May 6, and Wildflowers with Botanist Cynthia Gilbert at Garden Bar Preserve on May 12.

This summer, stay tuned for a Fireside Chat Series at Inn Town Campground with gatherings for families, teens, women in the outdoors, hikers and an adventure and learn panel; a weekend of activities is planned for Celebration of Trails June 1-2 and Hank Meals will lead a challenging High Country Hike for experienced hikers into the newly conserved Lindsey Lakes area of Grouse Ridge.

Learn more and register for volunteer days and treks at BYLT.org.

Questions or Comments? Contact Community Engagement Manager Laura Petersen at laura@bylt.org.

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