New Initiatives Out on the TrailsAlder Creek Adventure Center, Alder Creek Cafe, Association News, Featured, Trails
By Annie Rosenfeld, Director of Risk Management and Real Property
This summer, the Trails Department will be implementing two important initiatives directly addressing the sustainability of the trails and the friendly vibe we all love about the trail system: an Adaptive Management Pilot Program and an Ambassador Program.
Through feedback last summer and the electric bicycle (e-bike) regulation evaluation and member outreach process earlier this year, many important themes became apparent. Of foremost concern for the membership is sustaining the beloved trail system and its ethos.
In response to the membership, these new initiatives include focused on-the-ground testing of best adaptive management practices and the reestablishment of a stewardship culture in open spaces and the trail system.
Implementation begins this summer through education and communication efforts to address both short-term issues and long-term planning. These initiatives are taking steps toward evolving the Trails Master Plan under an Open Space Master Plan and new trail developments. Staff look forward to member participation in both programs.
ADAPTIVE MANAGEMENT PILOT PROGRAM
Staff will launch an Adaptive Management Pilot Program this July, which will run through the fall. The goal of this initiative is to evaluate and explore concepts of changing trail use on select trails through an adaptive management approach.
WHAT IS ADAPTIVE MANAGEMENT?
Adaptive management is the process of implementing land management activities in incremental steps and evaluating whether desired outcomes are being achieved at each step. If conditions deviate substantially from predictions, management activities are adjusted to achieve the desired outcomes.
WHY IS ADAPTIVE MANAGEMENT SO IMPORTANT?
Adaptive management provides flexibility to adapt to evolving conditions, trends, technology and environmental changes while reducing uncertainty. With an efficient approach, management can adopt a best practice of ongoing learning and improvement.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE PILOT PROGRAM?
The Pilot Program will create a sensible approach to engage the community and measure acceptance of any proposed changes while allowing members to participate in changes through experience and outreach input tools like field surveys and in-person observations. The Pilot Program will introduce adaptive management as a systematic process to address issues inclusive of all trail users.
WHAT IS THE VALUE OF THE PILOT PROGRAM FOR THE MEMBERSHIP?
The Pilot Program will improve understanding of member perspectives and ideas for solutions, test ways to enhance user experience, improve safety, boost trail flow and create recreational options for more members.
PILOT PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS
WHEN: July through October 2021
WHAT IS IT? While the Pilot Program maintains much of the trail system as multi-use trails currently offered, it designates eight different trails for specific usage, including trails for hikers only, equestrians/hikers only, no bikes and one-way travel. Phase 1 of the Pilot Program does not address e-bikes. You can read the e-bike regulation update on page 12 of the July issue of Tahoe Donner News Magazine.
- DESIGNATED EQUESTRIAN/HIKER ONLY: Rawhide, Wild West, Everest and Drifter Wall
- DESIGNATED HIKER ONLY: South side of Nature Loop
- DESIGNATED HIKER/BIKER ONLY: Lower True Grit and Cinnamon Twist
- DESIGNATED DIRECTIONAL: Upper + Lower Mother Lode (downhill only)
WHY WERE THESE TRAILS SELECTED FOR THE PILOT PROGRAM?
• Enhances user experience
• The trail flow and connection to other trails provides a variety of route options and are ideal for recreational opportunities
• Design and construction standards for equestrian, hiker/biker and multi-use trails
• Environmentally sensitive zone includes wetlands and waterways
• Trails were planned, designed and constructed for multiple user-types including biking, hiking and equestrian use
WHAT CAN MEMBERS AND GUESTS EXPECT TO HEAR AND SEE?
Expect on-the-ground implementation and messaging including Pilot Program signboards, pop-up tent events with trail ambassadors, wayfinding and kiosk signs, website pages and a trail map to clearly show which trails are selected for designated uses.
HOW WILL THE PROGRAM BE MONITORED?
• Condition evaluations conducted by the Trails Department
• Signage on the trail with a QR code for a short survey
• On-site volunteer stewards/ambassadors for observation and assistance with trail-user surveys
• Bikeworks, Alder Creek Cafe, Day Camps and Equestrian Center observation reports to be made by staff
HOW CAN I LEARN MORE AND GIVE FEEDBACK?
• Visit stewards, ambassadors and kiosks
• Explore webpage and feedback form
• Read Tahoe Donner News and emails
• Participate in trails community event(s) and field survey(s)
WE INVITE YOU TO JOIN THE AMBASSADOR PROGRAM!
The Trails Department staff is excited to launch an Ambassador Program. This program takes off in part from initial stewardship efforts first established with the Friends of the TD Trails Club, whose purpose over the past 10+ years is to support the Trails Department through volunteer trail-building days. Over time, activities have grown to include non-trail-building activities including environmental stewardship education, partnerships with the Truckee River Watershed Council for Weed Walks and other natural resource-awareness events.
The new Ambassador Program is designed to include volunteer efforts from all major trail-user groups that will assist the Trails Department with its education and communication campaign throughout the Pilot Program. Ambassadors will support the Tahoe Donner Trails Master Plan mission to sustain a “happy trails” culture focused on responsible recreational use and trail etiquette. Join us as a 2021 Trail Ambassador and help unite all trail users under our shared love of the trails.