Draft Low Gap Trail Plan Available for Public Comment
The Ukiah Valley Trail Group (UVTG) has released a draft trail plan for Low Gap Park. The group has been working on the plan for the last eight months and is now asking members of the public to review and comment on the plan. The plan was made possible through a Community Enrichment Grant from the Community Foundation of Mendocino County.
The plan outlines and maps the trails and open space of Low Gap Park, provides a summary of current trail alignments and conditions, and makes recommendations for improvements. The plan provides an overview of all the activities that take place at the park but only reviews and makes recommendations regarding trails and conservation.
“We’ve needed this plan for some time and we wouldn’t have been able to do it without the financial support of the Community Foundation” said UVTG Director Neil Davis. “Having the plan will allow us to better coordinate with the City and County and help us prioritize projects and find funding to ensure we protect the resource while allowing recreation.”
Mr. Davis explained the location of Low Gap Park on both City of Ukiah and County of Mendocino property complicates the management of the resource. “Our local trail group, the UVTG, was formed because we realized that our local land managers just don’t have the resources to maintain our existing trails, let alone expand or improve them.”
UVTG staff and volunteers utilized a trail assessment tool known as the Universal Trail Assessment Process (UTAP) to meticulously document current trail conditions. The tool allows trail builders and land managers to evaluate trail conditions as well as to make plans and budget to improve or replace substandard trails. Mr. Davis has completed a course in using the UTAP and led a team of volunteers in going over the trails inch by inch. “I think some of our volunteers who worked on this project learned that trail building may not exactly be rocket science, but it also isn’t necessarily obvious what makes a trail good, and without the experience and training you can waste a lot of time and money and end up with a not very good trail.”
The UVTG is asking for public comment through February and then hope to have the City and County sign off on the plan.
Mr. Davis will present a power point review, have maps available, and will answer questions about the plan on February 2nd at 6 PM at the North Coast Opportunities Main Conference Room at 413 N State St, Ukiah CA. The plan is available for review at www.mendotrails.org. Written comments on the plan can be sent via email to email@example.com or by mail to UVTG 413 N State St Ukiah.
New Year’s Day Hike
Shippey Hall: Hopland Research & Extension Center
4070 University Road, Hopland, CA
Start the New Year off right with a hike with the Ukiah Valley Trail Group. Thanks to the good folks at the Hopland Field Station we have permission to do a very cool “You Can’t Go There” Hike!
We’ve mapped out a 4.5 mile hike that will bring us through some beautiful oak woodland, along the edge of a dramatic madrone stand and to a petroglyph rock with evidence of folks hanging out here 5,000 years ago! For those who want to go a little farther there’s an extra out and back section that adds another mile.
The hike starts along a paved road then moves onto dirt truck road. It’s got about 450 feet of climbing with some steep sections. We go rain or shine, and the road may be slippery so hiking poles may be a help.
We’ll meet at 10 AM at Shippey Hall at the Field Station. Dress for a hike and bring your own snacks or lunch. Some generous souls bring something to share, some bring just enough for themselves, and the clueless and disorganized ( hey, that’s me!) show up empty handed; we love ‘em anyway.
Carpool option: Meet at the City of Ukiah Parking lot on the corner of S School and W Clay across from Alex Thomas Plaza at 9:30. Carpooling is participant organized and we can’t guarantee how many will show up to meet there or how many seats will be available.
Expanding Trail Horizons
Help Us Make it Happen
Hey Trail Fans!It’s that time of year when we ask you to dig deep… in your pocket! We always hope you can make it out to join us for some digging on the trail, because it’s super fun. But we also need you to raid the piggy bank so we can do the behind the scenes stuff that makes the trail fun possible.This year a big focus for us will be securing permission to expand our trail system into new areas. UVTG staff and volunteers have identified five Ukiah Valley locations with the potential for new or expanded trail segments. The five locations are: 1) Low Gap Park, 2) City of Ukiah Property near the old Dump Site, 3) Mill Creek Park, 4) Cow Mountain, and 5) Mendocino College.
These areas hold the potential to more than double the total miles of trails in the inland of Mendocino. This year we hope to prepare planning documents to address a total of 10 to 12 miles of potential trail across the first five sites and pursue agreements between Mendocino Community College Foundation and a private property owner who has expressed interest in potentially allowing trail access on their property. UVTG staff will identify and flag trail corridors, prepare construction cost estimates and maintenance/management estimates, and draft preparatory CEQA documents for land manager approval and adoption.
Sounds like fun, huh? Often, not so much. But it’s the work that needs to happen behind the scenes before we can get out there and have fun on the trail. Your donation will help us in Expanding Trail Horizons for the Ukiah Valley.
The Ukiah Valley has only 35 total miles of trail spread across five different parks. It’s not nearly enough, and we’re committed to creating a comprehensive trail system that will benefit the health and well being of everyone in the Ukiah Valley.
Access to wild or undeveloped areas has a wide variety of community benefits. The benefits include recreation and quality of life, improved health, environmental conservation and tourism: all of which share a common denominator of economic benefit.
We estimate this planning work will cost us $10,000. As planning work goes, that’s cheap – because we run a lean machine. Please help us in Expanding Trail Horizons for the Ukiah Valley by donating today. We set our online goal as $3,000 and hope to raise the rest with donations via snail mail.
You can also donate by check/cash/money order; simply make a checks payable to:
Ukiah Valley Trail Group
413 N State St Ukiah CA 95482
Or donate through Network for Good
2015-16 Trail Work Days Announced!
November 1, 2015
The rain has arrived, the ground is starting to soften, and that means it’s time to get to work! We started earlier than usual with a National Public Land’s Day event on September 26th. Thanks to Pacific Internet for sponsoring the day. We were able to install a 20 foot long rock causeway over a section of trail that gets, and stays, muddy every winter. Super fun day!
Our next trail day will be on November 15th at Lake Mendocino. We’ll continue on our “road to trail” conversion we started last year. Here’s the rest of the schedule; the dates are set in stone but locations could change. Check back here for details or better yet, sign up for our e-newsletter to stay informed.
November 15th – Lake Mendocino
December 5th – TBA
January 30th – Low Gap Park
February 21st – Valley View Trail??
March 20th – Valley View Trail
April 20th – THAT THING AT THE LAKE!
Taste of Autumn
Sunday Oct 11th 1-5 PM
Frey Ranch, 14000 Tomki Rd, Redwood Valley
Tickets: $20 Adults; $5 Children 5-12; Under 5 for FREE!
Lookin’ For a Little Help
UVTG Staff Seeks Volunteers to Help with Trail Assessment at Low Gap Park.
May 18, 2015
Thanks to the Community Foundation of Mendocino County we have the opportunity to prepare a comprehensive trail plan for Low Gap Park. The first step is to do a thorough assessment of the trails. Some of the trails are sanctioned and well designed, but many don’t meet modern design standards and some are simply unsanctioned paths that have been created over the years by users looking for a short cut.
Neil Davis will be leading the team and is looking for volunteers who are willing to learn about trail assessment and then spend some time with him on the trail documenting current conditions. If you’d like to help, give him a call at 467-3217 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trail Steward Program Seeks VolFUNteers
Here’s a great way to help out our trails without breaking your back. We’re looking for folks to help with our Trail Steward Program. All you have to do is use the trails and report back on what you see. If you’re willing, we also hope to have some of our Trail Stewards help with user surveys so we better understand who is using the trails and how we can better meet their needs. The surveys are often a way to do a little subtle education about trail etiquette as well. Finally, we hope that a few people might be willing to help us out by representing us at the Lake Mendo Campground Center. Helping at the Center involves answering the questions of visitors and making sales of a few items that we have for sales. Profits from those sales helps support recreation at Lake Mendocino. Give us a call if you’d like to help out.
UVTG Signs Cooperative
Agreement with USACE
Agreement will allow improved fundraising
UVTG Awarded Community Foundation Grant
March 15, 2015
Thanks to the generosity (and may we humbly suggest “wisdom”) of the Community Foundation of Mendocino County, the UVTG now has the resources to develop a comprehensive trail plan for Low Gap Park. The UVTG was awarded a $5,000 2015 Community Enrichment Grant with which we will inventory all existing trails at Low Gap Park. The inventory will employ Universal Trail Assessment Plan (UTAP) guidelines to develop a plan for maintaining and improving existing well-designed trails, and decommissioning or rerouting trails that are poorly sited or designed. UVTG staff will hold public meetings to receive feedback during the process.
We believe the Trail Plan will make it easier for us to communicate and coordinate with City of Ukiah and County of Mendocino staff and ensure that all work done meets the standards our community expects and is performed as efficiently as possible. We want to give a big shout out to the Community Foundation of Mendocino County and encourage you to check out what they do and consider them in your charitable giving (right after you give to us, of course). You can learn more about the Community Foundation at www.communityfound.org
Great Work. Great Volunteers.
March 15, 2015
At the beginning of each year we set a goal for volunteer hours. We set the goal at 500 hours this year but then, after a great start, we upped it to 600! We now have logged over 500 hours for the year and we still have two scheduled workdays left.
We’ve had sixty-four different people come to work on our trails plus fifteen volunteers from the CA Conservation Corps. We’ve done projects at Lake Mendocino, Redwood Valley Outdoor Education Project, and on the BLM’s Valley View Trail.
Unfortunately, the weather is turning dry and warm and the ground is getting so hard, we may have trouble getting much more work done. There’s always more to do, so if you see a volunteer, give ‘em a hug and a kiss, and if you have a little extra time, come join us on one of our upcoming work days. It’s fun!
January 6th, 2015
Thanks to you all who have shown tremendous trail love and thrown down the cold, hard cash to make our annual appeal a success. Our goal was to bring in 5 grand and we’ve already collected $6,600! THANKS A GAZILLION!
Of course if you haven’t yet had a chance to convert your personal trail love into a cash donation, it’s not too late. With an annual budget of $20,000 just to keep our doors open, the more you convert your trail love into cash donations the more we can accomplish.
We’re meeting and working out the details with the Army Corps of Engineers so we can get the project started ASAP. Of course, there’s always a lot of paperwork and reviews and not-so-much-fun stuff we have to wade through first – but no worries, we’re already hip deep and equipped with a big “we got the dough to go” smile. Thanks for all the support!
Ten Years of Bringing “Great Trails. Close to Home.”
Please donate today to help us start our next ten years.
Wow! We’ve been at this for ten years. It seems like only yesterday when a frustrated group of us first got together with the idea that we wanted better trails. We really didn’t know what we could do or how to do it,… but we knew we wanted better trails. Back in 2004 our local trails were a mess. Back in 2004, there was no City View Trail and Scorpion Trail was totally grown over. Valley View Trail was overgrown with poison oak and the trails on the south side of the Lake were ruts, deer paths and dilapidated ranch roads. And the east side of the Lake?… The only option over there was a truck road with a relentless series of cruelly steep and sun-exposed climbs.
But we dove in and got to work. Our community stepped up to the plate. Our community of trail users has donated over one hundred thousand dollars and put in over 6000 hours of volunteer time on our trails!
The work is paying off, but we still have a lot of work to do. The trails at Low Gap Park need improvement. We still have improvements to do at Lake Mendocino, and most importantly, we have the potential to build dozens of miles of new trail on Cow Mountain.
Sometimes people ask me if we have the capacity to maintain all these trails. The answer is “you bet your sweet tush we do!”
The Ukiah Valley Trail Group continues to grow as an organization. Ten years ago all we knew was we wanted better trails. Now, OK I’m going to brag, we’re expert. We know our stuff. Collectively, our board has attended over twenty trail building classes and seven trail conferences (I have presented at two). We have a library of books and articles and we’ve led over 80 trail work days! I’ve now transitioned into the role of Executive Director and Carolyn Welch is our new board president.
Of course we wouldn’t be able to do all this without our volunteers. We have half a dozen volunteers who can lead trail work crews and our board is awesome. We average 75 different volunteers per year and typically have 12-20 at each of our trail days. Hundreds of your neighbors have pitched in over the years. There are groups in areas with ten times our population who struggle to get that many volunteers.
We do still have a ton of work to do, though. And we still need your support.
This fall we need to raise 5 grand to match a grant for improvements at the Deerwood trailhead. That’s just one hundred, fifty dollar donations! Be one of the Hundred! Or better yet, be two of the hundred! We have a Bandana Map of the trails at Lake Mendocino for all donations over 50 bucks!
Lifetime Achievement Award for Radtkey
He’s put in over 240 hours digging on the trail; he’s attended over 40 trail days(!) and countless meetings with the BLM, Army Corps and our board. He’s attended classes and conferences to better understand the best practices of trail design, building and maintenance.
As a retired biologist with the BLM, he’s been able to provide us the benefit of his understanding of ecology and conservation as well as give us important insights into organizational development.
He’s Bill “The Rock” Radtkey and he has been a cornerstone of the foundation of our organization. We wouldn’t have accomplished what we have without him. If you see him, give him a hug, it will make him uncomfortable but it’ll be worth it!
This ain’t no obituary, you’re not off the hook, Bill. We still need you,.. just wanted to say thanks.
Great (Rainy) Day on the Trail
Redwood Valley, Oct 25th – Our first trail day of the year was at Redwood Valley Outdoor Education Project on October 25th. Despite rain we had a great time and got a ton of work done. We combined efforts with our local CA Conservation Corps team and with the Mendocino County Resource Conservation District. This is the third year in a row we have worked on this project. The project had us reroute an erosive section of trail near the River and work with the MCRCD to removing non-native invasive plants. Our crew also helped with fire reduction clearing near the road and drainage clearing. Our team put in a total of 95 hours of work. Join us on one of our future trail days. It’s fun!
New Leadership for UVTG!
Ukiah, September 10 – The Ukiah Valley Trail Group is pleased to announce the election of new officers and the appointment of a new Executive Director. Carolyn Welch will be taking over as President of the Board and Howie Hawkes will assume the role of Vice President. Neil Davis will transition from his role as a Board Member and President to being a part time Executive Director. The Ukiah Valley Trail Group was formed in 2004 and is committed to building and maintaining a trail system that will improve the health and quality of life in the Ukiah Valley.
Carolyn Welch is the Chief Financial Officer for North Coast Opportunities and has served on the group’s nine member board for the last four years. “It’s an exciting time for me to be able to take this leadership role,” said Carolyn. “The UVTG is growing and maturing and we can now have Neil take over as a part time Executive Director. It’s an important developmental step for us as we work towards a truly sustainable model as a local, public benefit non-profit.”
The UVTG has built over seven miles of new trails at Lake Mendocino, built the popular City View Trail at Low Gap Park, and reopened Scorpion Trail at Mill Creek Park. “I love going out and working on our local trails,” said new Vice President Howie Hawkes. “ I have to admit I’d rather be working on the trail then sitting in a meeting talking about it, but the reality is there’s a lot of planning that goes into it.”
The Group holds once a month volunteer trail days between October and May. In addition to the volunteer days, the group plans, funds and contracts with professional trail builders and work crews to get additional work done. “With limited funding from our public agencies, there’s more work than we can get done,” said Carolyn. “Over the last ten years, it’s often been a lack of volunteer time for planning that has been the limiting factor to our doing more work. There have been times when we’ve had the money to pay for work to be done, but we need a plan so we can tell the contractor what we want done but no one was available to do the prep work. We hope with Neil in his new role we’ll be able to get around that problem and be able to get more work done.”
The group prides itself in its “get er done” approach. “It’s really hard when we see a lot of money being spent on feasibility studies or planning,” said Howie. “We know how much we can get accomplished with a pragmatic approach that builds on our local relationships and reputation.”
The UVTG receives funding from memberships, donations, and grants. More information on Ukiah Valley trails, opportunities to volunteer, and membership and donation opportunities can be found at www.mendotrails.org