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Repaved Litton Trail renews accessibility

Walkers take a stroll along the recently repaved portion of Litton Trail West, which follows the Grass Valley Ditch between Sierra College Drive and Hughes Road.
Photo: Elias Funez

People from all walks of life now have renewed access to the smooth curves of the half-mile section of the Litton Trail between Sierra College Drive and Hughes Road.

The Bear Yuba Land Trust finished repaving the half-mile stretch below BriarPatch Food Co-op on May 27, and will celebrate the restoration with the community during the Celebration of Trails this Saturday.

At 4 p.m. today the trust will kick off the sixth annual Celebration of Trails at Robinson Plaza on Union Street in Nevada City’s downtown historic district. BYLT Executive Director Erin Tarr said the event facilitates outdoor engagement by teaching people about nearby hiking opportunities while fundraising for the nonprofit.



Celebration of Trails is a free event and participants will receive a T-shirt with registration at the plaza between 4 and 8 p.m. today.

Members and employees of the Bear Yuba Land Trust and Grass Valley stand along the recently repaved portion of the Litton Trail this week, across from Grass Valley Fire Station No. 2.
Photo: Elias Funez

“You get to choose your own adventure,” Tarr said. “We’re getting people out to walk, roll, run or ride horses on different trails.”



Tarr said many locals do not realize the trust’s trail work is not county funded, although Grass Valley and Nevada County supported the $70,000 project.

“We maintain trails based off of public donations,“ Tarr said. ”For the day — it’s about getting people outside, meeting new people and celebrating great trail systems we have out here.“

The Bear Yuba Land Trust hired Hansen Brothers to remove the old pavement and repave the Litton Trail between Sierra College and Hughes Road. It finished the paving last month. A new kiosk will go up in a few days with information about the trail and recognizing all of the private donors, business sponsors, and the city of Grass Valley, which helped fund the $70,000 repair.
Photo: Bill Haire Bear Yuba Land Trust

Tarr said the trail’s neighboring businesses stepped up to donate money to complete the project when a new estimate for it was $15,000 more than anticipated.

Tarr said BriarPatch was an instrumental partner in the trail’s rehabilitation. It donated $2 for each vote in its board member election, raising $2,000 for the project.

Volunteers work on the kiosk that will display information about the Litton Trail. It should be completed in time for Trails Day.
Photo: Elias Funez

Tarr said with the help of Mike E. Bratton, who hosts the Turkey Trot each year, BYLT will install a kiosk nearby that will distribute trail maps.

Assistant City Engineer Bjorn Jones said the city paid for half the project’s original estimate with funds from Measure E, in part because 1,500 feet of the trail is publicly owned.

According to Tarr, Litton Trail is one of two paved trails in the Nevada City/Grass Valley area accessible to those with varied mobility.

Informational signs are placed next to examples of native and non-native plants that can be found along the Litton Trail West in Grass Valley.
Photo: Elias Funez

Joe Riley is a stay-at-home dad who uses the trail on daily commutes to the grocery store. Riley will check the trail once a month, at least, to inform BYLT about any necessary safety or maintenance needs.

Riley’s wife, Amee Medeiros, is the executive director for the Neighborhood Center for the Arts, located in the Litton Building that overlooks the trail. The nonprofit is dedicated to engaging adults with special needs by creating art.

Tarr said the trail easement that facilitated the Litton Trail was created over 30 years ago when the trust had a different name.

A group of regular walkers along the Litton Trail noted the smooth and safer walking surface this week off Sierra College Drive.
Photo: Elias Funez

Tarr said the trail sustained significant damage over time.

“Over the years, the wear and tear — there was a lot of uplift in the pavement in some sections and it was getting very bumpy, people were tripping and there were hazards everywhere,” Tarr said.

The point of the paved section of the trail is to offer access. When the nonprofit started to receive complaints, it began fundraising to make repairs.

Tarr said the trust always prioritizes access to the outdoors, but reducing barriers to all walks of life to appreciate nature is especially essential during COVID-19.

Rebecca O’Neil is a staff writer with The Union. She can be reached at roneil@theunion.com

Grass Valley’s Litton Trail West is a paved walkway that connects Hughes Road and Sierra College Drive along Litton Hill and is supported by the Bear Yuba Land Trust, city of Grass Valley, and through community efforts.
Photo: Elias Funez

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