It’s Time for Mendocino County to Support Trails and Parks!
Mendocino County disbanded and defunded its Parks and Rec Department over twenty years ago – and our trails suffered because of it. Our trails deteriorated to the point where volunteers started working on them. In the last ten years volunteer groups like the Ukiah Valley Trail Group, the Mendocino Coast Cyclists, and the Willits Area Cyclists have volunteered thousands of hours of trail work – with minimal to nonexistent support from the County. Although we believe we’re doing great work, we need – and our parks need – County support. It’s time for the County of Mendocino to devote Director level support AND financial support to providing quality opportunities for outdoor recreation in Mendocino County.
All we ask is the County assign a Director level staff member (someone with the authority to approve projects) a few hours a month to oversee parks and trails AND that a line item be added to the budget to fund trail projects. If you agree, please sign our petition.
Our approach has always been to roll up our sleeves and pitch in. But we can’t help if we can’t get projects approved. Are our parks and trails really worth so little? Is it really too much to ask that a little part of our County budget goes to trails?
The Library Kerfuffle.
It’s not a zero sum game
Mendocino County staff recently asked the Board of Supervisors for approval to investigate the possible benefits of consolidating administrative duties with a Director assigned to oversee the Library, Museum, and Parks. In this scenario, a new Cultural Services Agency would be formed.
The BOS did direct staff to look into ways administrative service could be consolidated without negatively impacting direct services. Karen Horner, the Director of Libraries, has been mentioned as a likely Director to take on additional duties. Ms. Horner has said she feels she has the capacity to do this without a diminution of library services.
A group of very vocal library advocates are adamantly opposed to the County even considering this. Despite all evidence to the contrary, they are presenting this as a threat to library funding.
This doesn’t have to be a zero sum game; the County can budget resources to parks and trails without abandoning our libraries and museums. We can have our trails, and read about them too.
Please do take a moment to sign our petition in support of increasing County resources for trails. Thanks
It takes more than shovels. Trail advocacy in action.
Our new #MendoStrong caps are in and they look great! “When the recent fires hit our board was quick to suggest we contribute to fire relief in some way, said board member Carolyn Welch. “The trick was to make sure we were doing it in a way that is consistent with our mission.”
We took money out of our promotions budget and purchased hats with the #MendoStrong on the back and we’ll use all the proceeds from the hats to support fire relief conservation efforts. “When we purchase promotional items like this, we don’t necessarily expect to get the money back. So in this way we can make a contribution to fire relief while staying consistent with our mission.”
The hats are being sold for $20 and are available for pick up at the UVTG office at 413 N State St in Ukiah.
Over sixty people joined us for our annual New Year’s Day Hike at Low Gap Park. Hikers split into two groups with about half taking the “one-loop” 3 mile option and the other half adding a loop for an approximately four mile hike. The routes were marked with flour arrows so people could find their way and hikers were provided with maps to help. There were enough people hiking to ensure that there was almost always someone else in sight.
“The hike was really well organized and marked. It was my first time doing the hike but it was really fun and a great way to start the New Year,” said Toni Wheeler.
Janie Sheppard said she has been on the New Year’s Day hike about seven times. “We first did a few New Year’s Day hikes before the trail group formed, but then joined them once they started. This year the weather was just perfect!”
Janie and a number of other hikers brought snacks and treats that were shared both at the end of the hike and the lookout bench near the top of the City View Trail. Although it was great way to start the new year, don’t wait for next year to hit the trail!
You Make Trails Happen!
Trails don’t build themselves! But with the support of our community, donors, volunteers and people like you – they do get built; and maintained! Our great board isn’t afraid of a little hard work, and they also know how to get all the paperwork done. Thanks to your input we are making progress towards building new trail on the east side of the Ukiah Valley.
Sunday Oct 1st 1-5 PM Frey Ranch, 14000 Tomki Rd, Redwood Valley
We’re going to join Hearthstone Village again this year for a super fun time out at the Frey Ranch. It will be a load of fun for the entire family. Our Board Member Andrea Davis is in charge of the wood-fire baked bread and there will be home brewed beer tasting, wine tasting, local food and a bunch of activities for the kids. We also will have a silent auction that has some “great deal” potential. Donate to a great cause and go home with the righteous shwag!
Please by your tickets in advance online! When you do, you give us the money and you get to go to the event!
Buy your tickets online or from a UVTG rep and 100% of the ticket price goes to the UVTG to support our work! For tickets, call 467-3217 or email email@example.com Tickets: $20 Adults; $5 Children 5-12; Under 5 for FREE! Can you volunteer to help? Many hands make light work, give us a call at 972-0926 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Strike Force Six – At Your Service!
The Ukiah Valley Trail Group (UVTG) has created a new team of volunteers they refer to as their Strike Force Six to deal with trail maintenance issues that are a long way from the trailhead. The volunteers are primarily mountain bikers and the trail group has purchased six sets of specialty tools and packs to make sure the Strike Force can quickly travel from the trailhead three to five miles down the trail to where the work is needed. The tools have handles that can be broken into pieces and matched to interchangeable heads that can be affixed to the handles. The ability to disassemble the tools allow them to be carried in a hydration pack carried by the mountain bikers.
The UVTG formed in 2004 in response to a trail system that was in dire need of maintenance. In those early years almost all the trails needed significant amounts of work and trail crew leaders could assemble large groups of volunteers for a full work day with no shortage of places to work. Over the years the crews have caught up with most of the basic maintenance needs.
Ukiah Valley Trail Group Director and mountain biker Neil Davis is leading the new team. “These days we increasingly will come across a section of trail that’s a long way from the trailhead” said Davis “but it doesn’t need that much work. A It may be a very significant problem and may even be dangerous for trail users, but will only require a few hours work from a small team. So it really doesn’t make sense to try to have an entire fifteen to twenty person crew hike to the site.”
That’s where the Strike Force Six comes into action. With the specialty tool packs the volunteer mountain bikers can bike to the site in a fraction of the time it would take a team to hike to the same spot. Once at the site, they can take off the packs, assemble the tools and get to work. As a group, mountain bikers tend to be fitter and stronger than other trail users. Hike-in Strike Force days may be scheduled, but typically it will be mountain bikers who are experienced trail volunteers.
“I expect many of these missions will be as much a mountain bike ride as a trail dayâ€ said Davis. We’ll ride to the site, do an hour or two’s work, get it fixed, then be on our merry way for a little more riding”
Davis went on to explain that mountain bikers are a key to the trail group’s success. “From the very beginning mountain bikers have donated time and money out of proportion to their numbers.” He went on to explain the UVTG promotes shared use trails (open to hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians) as a means to ensure there is enough support for the necessary trail work. “We never would have gotten up and running without mountain bikers and our continued ability to maintain and expand our trail system is dependent upon a shared use trail philosophy.”
The UVTG will continue to hold its traditional eight work days a year to deal with larger projects as well as hire contract labor for even larger projects. Volunteer trail work typically happens between October and May when temperatures are not so hot and the ground is softer making it easier to dig and shape the trails. For more information on the Ukiah Valley Trail Group or to learn more about helping as a volunteer or donor go to www.mendotrails.org ,call 467-3220, or email email@example.com.
Ukiah Valley Trail Group Statement on
Threatened Recreational Closure of Lake Mendocino
The Ukiah Valley Trail Group (UVTG) is disappointed at the recent discussions of closing Lake Mendocino for some, or all, recreational activities. The UVTG originally formed in 2004 in an effort to support our understaffed and resource poor local land managers, including the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) at Lake Mendocino.
We are proud of the work we have been able to accomplish in cooperation with the USACE and staff at Lake Mendocino. With the cooperation of their professional but overworked staff we have built 5 miles of new trail on the east side of Lake Mendocino. We rerouted an additional three plus miles of trail on the south side of the lake to improve user experience and sustainability. We built a 60 foot fiberglass bridge as part of our efforts to ensure that trails will be accessible even when the lake is at its highest levels. Our Director even presented at a regional USACE Ranger training speaking to the amount of work that can be accomplished with this kind of public-private partnership.
The USACE Operations and Management Plan of 2013 estimates that Lake Mendocino attracts over five hundred thousand visitors per year bringing 5.6 million dollars in economic benefit to the Ukiah Valley. Unfortunately, the resources committed to Lake Mendocino have continually declined over the years. The USACE has operated the Lake Mendocino facility without a Park Manager and/or Supervisory Ranger and with unfilled ranger positions for at least six years. Without a Park Manager they have also struggled to fill seasonal ranger positions and contracts for support services have been neglected. Â The UVTG has provided the USACE with a trail plan outlining a number of trail improvement projects. However, the lack of leadership and staff has limited us to basic trail maintenance projects for three years while we await approval of our next significant project. Although we have a signed agreement with the USACE to raise funds for recreational support projects at the lake, we have been unable to take advantage of this opportunity as managerial staff is unable to provide the necessary support or approval of our efforts. In sum, the staff at Lake Mendocino are too short staffed to effectively accept help.
Our mission is to create and maintain a trail system that will improve our community’s quality of life and health. As such, our commitment to providing support to Lake Mendocino staff in managing this valuable resource, and our commitment to representing our community will continue unabated. We want to thank Jared Huffman who has already responded with a letter to USACE leadership to find the resources to maintain this valuable community resource. We ask for you to join us in supporting the remaining staff at Lake Mendocino while we together implore our local elected officials to find a way to keep our Lake Mendocino open.
- UVTG Board of Directors
Win a Quilt From Award Winner Laura Fogg
Here’s a great chance to support our local trails and maybe, just maybe,…. win a wonderful quilt crafted by award winning quilter Laura Fogg. Laura’s art quilts have received numerous awards and we are so thankful for her support. This quilt is entitled “Waiting” and is 33″ x 48″ inches. We like to believe we’re pretty good at designing, building and maintianing trails; but we have to admit, we’re really crappy at selling raffle tickets. Please take pity on us and buy some so Laura will like us ( it will also be good for our trails!). You can BUY TICKETS RIGHT HERE or send us a check to UVTG 413 N State St Ukiah, CA 95482.
Winter storms led to high water on Orr Creek and in turn led to a trail wash out on Orr Creek trail. Our great volunteers buttoned up their sleeves and got immediately to work. Nineteen volunteers put in just shy of 100 hours and rerouted the trail to a safe position. We were pleased to have a few Ukiah High School students come to help as a part of their senior project! So we had high school seniors and AARP seniors working side by side. Thanks to our trail day sponsors Peregrine Chapter of the Audubon Society and North Coast Opportunities.
Trail Planning Underway
From Trash to Treasure at Vichy Hills
Planning for our Trash to Treasure trail project is underway. Thanks to your support and daily voting we were able to secure Neighborhood Assist funding from State Farm to plan and build new trails at the old dump site on the east side of Ukiah.
“We’ve had to squeeze the layout work in between storms, but we have a rough plan for where the trails will go now” stated project leader Neil Davis. “I’m really excited about the potential for some new and really great trails close to home.
The first botanical survey was performed last weekend. The survey work will be led by #actuallivingscientist Kerry Heise. Expert members of the local Sanhedrin Chapter of the Native Plant Society (CNPS) are helping keep project costs down by assisting Mr Heise.
Botanical surveys will continue through the spring and will be used to prepare a CA Environmental Quality Act study. Our hope is to have the document complete by the end of summer.
“In a best case scenario I think we could start building trail after the first rains of next year,” stated Davis. “There are some really beautiful areas and a some nice views of the valley from the high points.”
Jen Ridell is the Co-chair of the Sanhedrin CNPS group and is also active with the CA Naturalist program at the Hopland Field Station. She and the team will be logging many of the plants they identify at the site on the iNaturalist site. In the future, trail users will be able to use the site to help learn about the plants of the area.
Ukiah Valley Residents Outcompete the Big Kids!
Ukiah Valley outvotes much larger Cities to get funding.
$25,000 State Farm Neighborhood Assist® grants make a difference
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (Nov. 30, 2016) – After 1.8 Million votes were cast by 72,000 people in just 10 days, State Farm is proud to announce the Top 40 vote-getting causes that will receive grants to improve their communities.
State Farm Neighborhood Assist is a crowd-sourced philanthropic initiative that empowers communities to identify issues in their neighborhoods. The affiliated nonprofits of the top 40 causes will each receive a $25,000 grant to create and execute a plan to address the cause. The top 40 causes represent 25 states from around the nation.
The Ukiah Valley Trail Group’s “From City Dump to Community Park” project was a top vote getter despite competition from much larger communities and Cities.
“We got simply phenomenal support from the community. The process allowed people to cast up to ten votes a day for ten days and we had a ton of people logging on and voting ten times a day” stated UVTG president Carolyn Welch. “Our team is chomping at the bit to get started planning and laying out the trails!”
Of the 2,000 cause submissions that were received through State Farm Neighborhood Assist, at least one cause was received from every state in the U.S. Then, the State Farm Youth Advisory Board, a diverse group of 30 students who are passionate about social responsibility, reviewed the cause submissions and selected the 200 finalists to be voted on. In the five years of the program, 200 causes have received a total of $5 million to enact change in their communities.
For a complete list of the top 40 causes, please visit: www.neighborhoodassist.com.
Thanks to State Farm’s Jay Epstein for all his help!
#DumpBecomesPark #SFNeighborhoodAssist #mendotrails #Success
Become a “Sustaining Donor”
and Double Your Impact!
Next Trail Day Sunday, December 4th
Next chance to dig in the dirt with a crew of dedicated trail-weenies? December 4th. We’ll be meeting at the Deerwood Trailhead at Lake Mendocino. We have to walk a couple miles to the work site, so wear comfy shoes! As always, dress in layers and bring some water and a way to carry the lunch that we will provide. Thanks to South Ukiah Rotary for sponsoring the day – their generosity is providing our lunch and basic materials for the day!
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org so we’re sure to have enough food and arrive a few minutes early so we can get off to a prompt start.
Last Month’s Trail Day – Pretty Darn Fun – Join Us!
The work we do will benefit not just us, but our children and their children. Our trails are our link to the beautiful place where we live. They connect us to our home, and through shared experience and values, with our neighbors. Please help us by donating today. Thanks for your support.
City Dump Becomes Community Park
October 26, 2016
City Dump Becomes Community Park
#SFNeighborhoodAssist #DumpBecomesPark #mendotrails
2016 Taste of Autumn Promises
More Great Times
Ticket Sales Support the UVTG!
Sunday Oct 2nd 1-5 PM
Frey Ranch, 14000 Tomki Rd, Redwood Valley
Tickets: $20 Adults; $5 Children 5-12; Under 5 for FREE!
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
We find out on November 30th if we got the grant. Stay tuned!
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