Trails in Brief
Fall is on the horizon and our first rains of the year should come soon. And with the rain comes our trail work season!
We're looking forward to getting back on the trail because it's a super good time (check out this video if you need convincing!)!
Our first volunteer day will be October 13th at the Deerwood Trailhead. We're going start on by clearing the path for our reroute of Soap Root Trail (aka water trough). This is the start of our big project for the year, the Perry's Cove reroute.
The Perry's Cove Reroute (PCR) will add a short section of single track to connect Blue Oak Trail to the top of Woodpecker Trail. That means one less time that you have to get on the truck road. Single track all the way is what we're looking for.
The PCR will also realign Soap Root Trail (AKA "Water Trough" trail) to make it more sustainable and make it as much fun to go up as it is to go down (yes, we think that is possible)! It should be at least as much fun as Woodpecker Trail.
Finally the PCR will add a new section of trail that will allow us access to the Eastside trail even when the water is at its highest. This is going to be tough as there are some very steep side-slopes that will require retaining wall.
We always have fun on our trail days so we hope you will join us as often as possible as we start a new trail year. If you can't come work on the trail you can hit the "donate for good button" and send us a little money to help us along. Great Trails. Close to Home. With your help, we can make it happen.
The dates for our trail days are listed on the left. As always, we start at 9:00 AM, give you lunch at noon, and quit by 2:00 PM.
Bring sturdy work shoes, water, and gloves if you have them. Please RSVP so we have enough food. 707-972-0926
Golden Shovel Award
Volunteer of the Year - Carolyn Wyatt
We're happy to announce that Carolyn Wyatt is the winner of our 2012 "Golden Shovel" Award as volunteer of the year.
Carolyn put in over 20 hours of volunteer time last winter and was always willing to do whatever needed doing. Always smiling, always encouraging others, always ready to learn.
She also was kind enough to let us use her picture on our trail day calendar post card! We send this card out to everyone who has given us their snail mail address,... So if you want one, let us know where you live and we'll send it along.
Projects - Maps & Trail Sign Improvement
The new trail signs for the south and east side of Lake Mendocino are on their way! We hope to start placing them on October 13th. The markers tell the name of the trail with directional arrows.
And we have new maps! All volunteer labor, so not super fancy, but we think they're going to work great.
Trail Plans and Possibilities
Where's our Rail Trail?
A couple years ago we were saying it's "never going to happen."
Well that's changed. The folks in the planning department at the City of Ukiah as well as our friends at the Mendocino Council of Governments (MCOG) have done some great work in moving this project forward.
Despite serious pushback from the local railroad operator (or "non-operator" in this case) the City and MCOG found funding and pushed through a project that will provide a "rail with trail."
So the railroad tracks will remain, but we will have a trail alongside them. The first phase, approved and funded, will provide trail from Gobbi St. to Clara. It's not as much as we'd like, but it's a start.
Latest News and Events
Ukiah Valley Trail Group is pleased to welcome two new board members: Carolyn Welch from North Coast Opportunities and Bob Neale of the Sonoma County Land Trust. Both are residents of Ukiah, energetic outdoor enthusiasts and they possess skills, knowledge and commitment that will enhance the building and maintenance of our community trails.
Earth Day visit: International Mountain Bike Association
The Ukiah Valley Trail Group is proud to be able to host an Earth Day visit from the International Mountain Bike Association's (IMBA) "Trail Care Crew" April 19th-21st.
The Trail Care Crew will present on three topics, Club Care, Better Living Through Trails, and their nationally renowned Trail Building School.
The IMBA Trail Building School is a half-day of classroom education followed by several hours of building new trail, rerouting and reclaiming old trail or adding new features to an existing trail.
The goal of the visit is education, not to build as much trail as possible.
- Better Living Through Trails is a great presentation to use to bring together community leaders to teach them about the economic, health and wellness benefits that trails and mountain biking bring to an area. Thursday April 19th, 4PM at the NCO Conference Room, 413 N State Street Ukiah
- Club Care is designed to teach mountain biking groups how to grow their membership, sustain leadership, remain fresh and fun and better reach out to their communities.Friday April 20th, 6PM at Bartlett Hall, 499 Leslie St, Ukiah, CA.
- Trail Building School Saturday April 21st, 9AM NCO Conference Room, 413 N State St Ukiah CA - Afternoon trail site "to be announced."
For more information or to pre-register, call Neil at 707- 972-0926 or email
2010-11 Trail Improvement Recap
UVTG re-routed and repaired several sections of Ukiah area trails this past October to May work year. There's now a 1500 foot long "high water" trail on the Shakota that will take you above the flooded out portion resulting from the exceptionally high lake levels of 2009-10. The re-route now links to a funky and eroded access road that aches for improvement, but provides an alternative should lake levels rise again in the future as predicted.
Another project was a re-route and trail widening in the south-east corner of Lake Mendocino. That included a twelve foot puncheon or bridge to take the trail over a gully that became very muddy with seasonal rains. In addition, pruning back a big section of chemise made the existing trail much more user friendly.
Blue Oak Trail at the Deerwood entrance was widened on another Trail Day. Part of the team also placed steps on the steepest section in an attempt to reduce the grade of the trail bed.
More widening and brush cleaning was done on the Valley View Trail above the Talmage dams. Danny and Levi took time off from riding to carve sweet improvements into two sections of trial while still wearing full downhill mountain bike gear. Wish I had a picture to show!
Volunteer of the Year
Each year the UVTG board honors volunteers who stood out in the preceding trail building season. This year we have named Tim and Julia Knudsen the Volunteers of the Year, and will engrave their names on the Golden Shovel Award. Once they discovered us last fall, they attended all the remaining Trail Days. Despite the fact we loaded them up with timbers to carry or force marched them for miles, they came back with good humor and accomplished a whole lot of work to make our trails more user friendly. On top of that they sponsored a Trail Day, so all the volunteers were provided lunch. Thank you Knudsens!
Erosion Control on Manzanita Trail
October 2011: On our first trail day of the 2011-12 trail year, VP Christopher Roe led a crew on a great erosion control project. For some years we've been watching a number of areas where trails are threatened by "back-cutting" erosion gullies in drainages. We think the problem is caused by the changing water levels in the man made lake. For whatever reason though, these deep erosive gullies, usually in low water volume drainages, form and each year they work their way farther uphill. If they hit a trail, the trail loses.
So Christopher did some on-line research and came up with a plan to try to stop the erosion in a place where our Manzanita Trail is under threat. Using carefully placed rock (rip-rap), sediment cloth, and willow plantings, we hope to stop the erosion and return the drainage to it's traditional character. If it works here, we can replicate the process in a few other important spots.
All our trail projects are done with the intention of decreasing erosion and making the trails more sustainable. That's good land conservation, good for the environment, and allows us to spend more time using the trails and less time working on them.
November 2011: We're proud to introduce our Ukiah Walks walking route maps. These maps were funded by a small grant from the Ukiah Chamber of Commerce and we all need to thank Linda Helland and Mari Rodin for their help in getting the grant and completing this project. The routes are all approximately 2.5 miles and if you do two of them (they all are linked) it provides you with the 10,000 steps walk that the CDC recommends you get three to four times a week.
All the routes start and end at Alex Thomas plaza and we hope will encourage folks from out of town to walk (and stop and shop) in our downtown. On the local level, we hope it will encourage our neighbors to get their regular exercise and get more people requesting improvements in the walk-ability of our town. Our next step is to place "on-the-street" markers that we hope will allow people to follow the route without constantly referring to a map. We're going to have a few thousand of the brochures printed so businesses can hand them out, then we'll have "home-print" versions available on line. Check out the routes and let us know what you think!
Lake Mendocino Trails Impacted by High Water Levels
In late spring 2010 the amount of water being held behind Coyote Dam was increased substantially by the US Army Corps of Engineers at the behest of downriver water users. This resulted in the flooding of access roads and trails in numerous places. The eastside trail system became virtually isolated from access, and was broken into several segments separated by water. The Shakota Trail was flooded for the summer in two places. In meetings with the public, the Corps shared the conclusion we could expect these higher water levels in future years.
In the 2010-2011 trail building season the Ukiah Valley Trail Group will sponsor numerous trail days focused on rebuilding and improving trails at the lake. Shakota Trail re-routes have begun already. Continued improvement, including trail signs and new linkages, will be done in the southern trail system. We also hope to be working on permanent access to the eastside trails and re-routing above the new lake levels.
We've had significant setbacks in the trails system at Lake Mendocino. Only with your help can we reclaim what we've lost, and rebuild for our future.
Scorpion Trail Re-routes and Widening
After re-discovering this overgrown trail at Mill Creek Park above the Talmage Dams, UVTG trail day volunteers opened it up and improved it over the past several years. In March of this year a team wallowed into the steep poison oak studded slopes to create new trail to bypass three switchbacks through a heavily eroded area. At the same time another team widened the existing trail below the re-route. Plans for next year include extension and improvement of this diamond in the rough. Oh, and yes, we did find a scorpion!
Lake Mendocino Trails Named and Improved
A crew of ten intrepid volunteers braved the cold rainy day last December to sink signposts for the five trails off the Deerwood Trailhead. The trails are no longer #1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, but are now named Manzanita, Moon, Woodpecker, Blue Oak and Soap Plant, respectively! On the February trail day this year an enthusiastic crew added a better access and 300+ yards of new trail to the existing Blue Oak Trail, formerly know as #4. UVTG is working with a graphics designer to create a user friendly map of these trails so hikers, bikers, runners and equestrians can all explore and enjoy this great asset, including the "Big Bridge," without getting lost. In the meantime, check out the printable map that can be found on the Trails page.
Trail Work is FUN!!!
This may sound crazy, but doing volunteer trail work really (no, really) is fun. You don't have to be super strong and we all work at our own pace. We usually have some tasty treats ( check out the cinnamon rolls in the photo!), you get to go out to beautiful places, work with fun people, you get a great work out, and... you go home feeling great about how you spent your time.
Even if you can just make it once a year, that's a huge help. We have a number of regular volunteers, and it really helps them keep coming out when they see new faces and don't have to feel like it's all up to them. Our goal is to contribute 650 hours of trail work this year. We need to average 65 hours per trail day, that's thirteen volunteers per day. Just give us a five hour day and you might be surprised how much you enjoy it.