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