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Meet Tahoe Donner Trails Visionary Christina Thayer
September 1, 2017
What attracted you to the position of Trails Manager at Tahoe Donner?
It’s a great opportunity to work with California regulatory agencies. The ability to design, develop and manage a multi-use trail network is certainly unique, especially in the Sierra Nevada!
It's more than just trail work. Planning and logistics are a large part of your job.
Most people don’t understand the “behind the scenes” preparation needed to build legal, permitted trails. Tahoe Donner’s trail department is working year-round to take the appropriate steps to comply with regulatory agencies and develop long-term relationships with partnering agencies.
Tell us about your background.
I have a B.S in Forestry and Natural Resource Management, and an M.S in Conservation Resource/Environmental Education. I got my start in trail building while working on climbing access trails throughout the Rockies and the Colorado Plateau focusing on high altitude dry-stack stone masonry, alpine tundra restoration, and sensitive desert ecosystems.
I suffered a major climbing accident and shifted gears, literally, to fall in love with mountain biking and trail running. As mountain biking’s popularity grew, so did the design, technique and support for trail development.
The trail crew has had a busy summer.
We’re busy fixing bridges, repairing sections of trail damaged by this past winter’s snowmelt, and rerouting unsustainable sections of trail. In order to ease route finding and improve safety, we’ll continue to refine the new trail map and install signage at intersections.
How big is your staff?
We have 5 full-time trail crew members and 2 part-time trail rangers. Our trail rangers provide maps, directions, clarity on property boundaries, and act as a watchful eye for the on-goings out on TD’s more rural properties. They take inventory of trail usage (bike, hike, equestrian) and are frequently used to survey our guests on their user experience.
Tell us about the new trails you're working on.
We recently finished connecting the new East to West Mustang Sally trail, located on the ridge between Euer Valley and Crabtree Canyon. The crews are working on making a new trail called Upper Mother Lode which will descend north off Hawks Peak and connect to Lower Mother Lode and Hidden Gem. This new section will allow mountain bikers and hikers to complete a really fun loop from Alder Creek Adventure Center, which was never before possible.
What occupies your time when not doing great work at Tahoe Donner?
Visiting farmers markets, creating art, mountain biking, trail running, daydreaming about my next adventure rig or planning my next whitewater rafting trip.
I love the diversity of this area. I’ve lived in a lot of smaller outdoor towns and feel that Truckee is rich with opportunity, both business and pleasure. Tahoe Donner appeals to a broad spectrum of visitors, and you’re likely to meet someone on a trail that you might never meet elsewhere.