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August 6, 2014     Feather River Bulletin
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August 6, 2014
 

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8A Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014 Feather River Bulletin TRAC wants to lure visitors, businesses to Plumas County Austin Hagwood Staff Writer Austin.G.Hagwood.l@nd.edu Imagine a Plumas County revived with mountain bikes and hiking boots strapped to the cars of excited visitors. Imagine them exploring the forests, moving to local communities and starting new businesses of their own in towns reborn. Such is the vision of Trails for Recreation and Community, a volunteer group devoted to transforming the culture and business climate of Plumas County. With a new memorandum of understanding between its members and the U.S. Forest Service, TRAC may move one step closer to its goal of crafting countywide trails. But the challenge has just begun. For TRAC co-founder and Portola native Tim Rhode, a drive through his hometown sparked a call to action. "My son and I recently drove through town and counted buildings, and 35 percent of the buildings in • Portola were vacant, for rent or for sale," he said. "This is the situation." Rhode remembered the example of Oakridge, Oregon, a rural town not unlike Portola. When logging and the railroad industry declined, the community of 3,000 reinvented itself into a capital for mountain biking and outdoor recreation. Since Oakridge installed a network of trails in 2010, 14 new businesses have opened on Main Street. "What we have over Oakridge is that we already have recreation infrastructure in place -- several golf courses, great fishing, some trails for hiking and a few for mountain biking," Rhode said. "We have millions of people -- Sacramento, Reno, Tahoe, the Bay Area -- within a three- to four-hour radius." In collaboration with the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship organization, TRAC developed the Mohawk Rim Trail Plan for singletrack trails stretching from Portola and Graeagle to Lake Davis and Mount Hough. Because trails are oriented around central communities, visitors will enjoy close proximity to recreation and stimulate the local economy. "Our businesses could market this Mohawk Rim Trail as something for people all over the world to enjoy," Rhode said. "We would have Downieville, Graeagle, Portola, the Mount Hough area and Lake Davis. It would be a draw unmatched in northern California. We can turn out areas into a recreational mecca." Rhode spoke of difficulties TRAC faces when working through the U.S. Forest Service's process. To gauge public opinion, TRAC received over 300 responses to a recreation survey, with 98 percent of respondents expressing interest in more trails. The organization also has over 50 letters of support from business leaders and private citizens. Plumas National Forest Beckwourth District Ranger Deb Bumpus shared Rhode's frustrations but underscored her limited staff and funds. "TRAC is a very good group that represents a lot of diverse interests in the community," she said. "The difficulty of working with the government i.s that we do have a lot of process and it takes a lot of persistence and commitment to get to an end result." Bumpus also noted the difficulty of deviating from the Forest Service's master plan and said funding priorities change every year. "It's really hard to forecast with our forest because our priorities arenotonly what we set for ourselves," she said. "We also have to get agreement from the regional office. Our forest-wide priorities for the next three years will be the implementation of our fire restoration plan." But Rhode fears time is Ribs & Chicken Fridays from S-8:30pm (Salmon and Veggie Kabobs w/reservations) Bonfire Sing-A-Long with S'Mores! Horseshoe Tournaments • Swimming Horseback Rides 10am-3pm • Wagon Rides Start at 6pro August 7:30pm Reservations Appreciated! ww2191re6enGhroeernnrahn° hn.cRoanmch, 'thQur2ng.c 6-14 ] CLOTHING • JEWELRY ° ACCESSORIES 000000000000000000000000000000 Get Ready for the TRAC co-founder Tim Rhode stands in front of the Lake Davis Trailhead marker. The Beckwourth Ranger District hopes to identify a re-route by October after the discovery of nesting bald eagles last fall. Photo by Austin Hagwood "We're trying to do big things and are struggling to get even small projects through the process." Tim Rhode, TRAC co-founder running short, first will involve finishing "We appreciate the MOU Phase 2 of the Lake Davis and working with the district Trail, which was paused after ranger and recognize that two bald eagles were they're short on staff and discovered nesting near the funds," Rhode said. "But proposed trail last fall. The candidly it's been Forest Service hopes to find a disheartening trying to re-route between now and implement small initiatives October after environmental to finish past projects. We're impact studies. trying to do big things and "The last part will take it • are struggling to get even all the way around the lake," small projects through the Bumpus said. "Oncewe process." decide to build anytl ing, we These smaller efforts have to consult with include two "pilot" projects archaeologists. Completing -- a trail around Lake Davis that third phase will and restoring a 1.4-mile probably not occur next year mid-section of the Mills Peak due to our two other Trail -- both of which have projects." met slow progress. The second project is the "What we're still trying to Crocker Multiuse OHV Trail, work out between the two a joint effort with the county groups is that having money, government designed to doesn't necessarily equate mitigate the loss of the getting a specific project Beckwourth-Genesee Road, done," Bumpus said. "It still scheduled to be paved by the has to fit into the planning Federal Highway process and the objectives Administration next year. the Forest Service has." The new location will The Beckwourth Ranger provide 5 miles of trails from District plans to pursue two the Crocker Cutoff Road to trail projects next year. The Red Clover Valley. 5umnrgr 2014 Every Monday N ht 5-8pro. June 3orb-Sept 15th August 11 Featuring Benny, Penny & Dude BBQ Menu &Live ŁocaI Music on the Lawn "Local, Fresh & Delicious" Brea ast & Lunch Wed-Sat Mon BBQ Sunday Brunch Private Parties & Catering Available 530-836-1619 / 190 Bonta Street, Blairsden ./ I ENGINEERINGI Serving the Community for over 36 years PAVING - SEALING - GRADING - CONCRETE ADA Compliance Experts CONCRETE AND PAVING STONES UNDERGROUND - REMODELING all paving, sealing and ADA Compliance No Job Too Small P.O, Box 1333 CA 961 "1 General Engineering Contractor #491748 "The difficulty of working with the government is that we do have a lot of process and it takes a lot of persistence and commitment to get to an end result." Deb Bumpus, PNF District Ranger "We're starting the fieldwork on it this year and will have an environmental study next year. They're two great projects," Bumpus said. Addressing TRAC and the Mohawk Rim Trail Plan, Bumpus supported a network of trails for eastern Plumas County but repeated the difficulties of deviating from the forest plan. "When we get to very specific locational requests like TRAC has it becomes much more complicated internally because we have to determine if it fits into the forest plan," she said. "It's an old plan, and we should be updating it within three - five years. The district is really interested in working with Plumas County to develop recreatiOn around the communities to ensure that what we do focuses on those communities. We continue to meet with them." Rhode hopes that the Mohawk Rim Trail Plan would provide more outreach opportunities for high school students working on trail crews and "stop the drain of people moving from our area." He also feels expanding recreation can change a community's culture. "Other areas have proven that if you put the infrastructure in, the jobs come with it. If you build it, they will come," he said. "Another benefit would be changing the culture of our towns from that of a struggling blue-collar area whose best days are behind it with the railroad and logging to an area that's had a recreational renaissance." Bumpus reiterated that slow progress should not discourage TRAC and the community from advocating for more trails. "What TRAC is doing is a good model for the community. They've done a good job, and they're a group that's not going to go away," she said. "If you look at where they were a year ago, they've made great strides. I know it's frustrating on a day-to-day basis, but they've come a long way." TRAC's next meeting is open to anyone interested in learning more and will occur Aug. 12 at 6 p.m. in the Chalet View Lodge. To view the Oakridge, Oregon, promotional video and witness the town's transformation, visit http://vimeo.corii/64268235. .I 934 birthd scheduled for Claiming it was a vintage year, a group of Plumas County residents, all born in 1934, will celebrate their group's 80th birthday at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 24, at the Spring Garden home of Bill and Dolly Lake. Bob Melms started the 1934 Party more than a decade ago, and members have kept the yearly bash going. The party is a potluck: bring a dish to share, plus your own entree to barbecue. The Lakes will supply the hot barbecue, the cold ice chests for drinks, paper plates, flatware and birthday cake. Participants should also bring a birthday gift if they wish to take part in the exchange. For more information, contact Bill or Dolly Lake at 283-2863. Lawn Clippings & Leaves for commercial composting. Tipping fee: $2O/pick-up load . ,~..~t/,,~"~t ..iL~$~t~_ Since ' - 1965 Feat ~rtals, Inc. Top Soil • Concrete * Rock • Sand • Gravel 15301283-2736 Smoked Salmon Omelette with fresh spinach, dill cream cheese, green onion & smoked salmon... Yummm! Order to Go! Good 283-3300 557 Lawrence Street Quincy 7-2 Every Day Comfort Food Since 1976" I , , I