Trail Group to Help Fund Land Acquistion
The Ukiah Valley Trail Group (Trail Group) is pleased to announce a pledge of fifty thousand dollars to assist with the City of Ukiah’s acquisition of a key western hills property that will improve the opportunities for future trail development in the area. The property creates a land bridge between two City owned properties and opens opportunities for a convenient trailhead and sustainable trails with comfortable grades. This acquisition opens the area for future trail development maximizing the community benefit of the City’s recent acquisition of over seven hundred acres of western hills.
The Trail Group mission is to create and maintain a trail system that will improve the community’s quality of life and health. “Our biggest barrier to adding to our trail system is a lack of publicly available open space,” said Trail Group Board President Howie Hawkes. “We don’t want to miss the opportunity to acquire this critically situated piece of land. With this addition, the land is conserved and protected, but also open for future recreation.”
For more information on the details of the acquistion go to mendotrails.org/news
Trail Group’s Position on Western Hills Acquisitions
We’re super excited to be working with the City of Ukiah to preserve the Western Hills of Ukiah. Of course we hope to be able to build trails up there, but the first step is to acquire the property and stop development. We need more housing but not in the wildland urban interface (western hills). That’s where we need trails.
The City of Ukiah acquired close to 700 acres of western hills property primarily to protect our watershed, but also with the hope that the area can be opened for recreation, AKA Trails! We’re already exploring trail alignments!
We’ve been working with the City to identify additional properties that will make the area more accessible and improve the options for building trails. We support the City’s efforts to annex these properties as we believe the City code, and enforcement, is siginificanlty more effective than what the County provides.
There are some trade offs. We don’t have the resources to purchase properties outright, so to make the deals work, there may have to be some limited development of the lowest areas of the properties. Unfortunately, it’s part of the price of preserving all the rest of the hills.
You may hear some people saying we shouldn’t allow any development, and although that would be great, there’s no deal on the table that allows this. When we have the opportunity to increase our public land holdings we need to seize the day – even if there are some trade offs. If we don’t act quickly, we could lose the opportunity to do the conservation and create the recreation we’re looking for, and then see uncontrolled development in its place.
Without publicly accessible land, we can’t build trails. The UVTG is doing what we have to do to make sure we have Great Trails Close to Home.
1) Why is this a good deal for the City? It’s only 25 more acres but allows an additional house to be built.
For those of us who want public access, this is an essential acquisition. The City owns property abutting the valley floor, and the the City owns 700 acres farther up the hill. This property links the two properties. Without it, there is no way for us to build trail. With existing conditions, there is conservation benefit to the 700 acres, with this acquistion, it has conservation and recreation benefit.
2) Is this the best deal we can get?
Yes, it’s the best deal we can get. The City tried for years to obtain grant funding that would allow the outright purchase of the property. That wasn’t successful, so it was necessary to negotiate the best deal the City could afford. If we don’t jump on this opportunity, there is no guarantee we will be able to get the property later, and it could be developed under the County’s more permissive standards.
3) Isn’t this just a give away to rich developers?
No. It’s a negotiated deal with benefit to both parties. The City can’t just take property from people nor can the City randomly tell people they can’t develop. Negotiations for this property began months ago and there’s been a lot of back and forth. The City (with the Trail Group’s support) want to limit and control development of the Western Hills as much as possible but have to work with the resources avaiable to us.
4) Where will the access for trails be? Isn’t Redwood Ave too narrow?
The exact access location for future trails has not yet been determined, but most likely it will be from the City’s recently acquired property at the bottom of Doolin Canyon Drive. Redwood Avenue would not be a very good access point, primarily as it is too steep. City staff with Trail Group support have applied for grant funding to obtain further properties and are exploring other properties to both protect more of the western hills and find the best possible future trail access points.
5) Won’t this increase fire risk, wouldn’t it be better to stop all development up there?
The City has been making great progress on increasing housing stock in the areas where housing is most beneficial. The Western Hills is not a good place for development, only one of the reasons being increased fire risk. Pretty much everyone agrees housing in the hills is not a great idea, this unfortunately is the best option available to us to limit and control development and we don’t want to miss it. This will stop development in the Redwood Ave drainage above the 1100′ level.
6) Shouldn’t there be secondary access roads to allow for escape during a fire?
The existing roads were build on private property under County standards. The UVTG supports the City’s efforts to purchase and / or annex as much of the Western Hills as possible. Purchasing allows the City absolute control, and annexing allows improved control, of development. This acquisition is another step in this process. Any future housing inside City limits (including annexed property) will require a CEQA document and will be built under the more rigorous standards and enforcement of the City (as opposed to the County). Currently, it will be up to the people who choose to build or purchase homes to decide if they want to assume the risk.
7) I heard it’s going to lead to more cannnabis grows. Is that true?
No. Although it may be theoretically possible for someone to grow cannabis, it simply makes no sense for someone to purchase any of this property for that purpose.
First Annual Gala in the Street – Success!
We sold out and had a super fun time at our first Gala in the Street! Our auctioneer, Rachel Britten, did a great job making it fun to for participants to contribute to Great Trails Close to Home. The paella was great and paired perfectly with Husch wines and beer from Ukiah Brewery. There was some really spirited bidding on the auction items and of course the weather couldn’t have been better.
If you missed out, you really missed out. We’re still counting all the pennies in, and all the pennies out, but we made over $25,000!, Looks like we’ll have to do it again next year, better get your tickets early!
Ukiah Valley Trail Group Announces Grant Award and Call for Proposals.
The Ukiah Valley Trail Group (the Trail Group) is pleased to announce the acceptance of grant funding from the Community Foundation of Mendocino County for its “Sustainable Funding for a Sustainable Future” program. The award will be matched by Trail Group funds and will be used to hire a part time fundraising consultant to develop a business sponsor program and annual fundraiser plan for the Trail Group.
“We’re so pleased to have the continued support and trust of the Community Foundation,” stated Trail Group Board President Howie Hawkes. “Our board is great at building trails, but we’re not so strong when it comes to asking for money. Hiring a consultant who can help us develop fundraising mechanisms and train our board to be better fundraisers will be key to building a sustainable future for our group and local trail system.”
The paid consultant will be tasked with leading the board in the development of a business sponsor program and a new annual fundraising event. The successful candidate will meet with the board during board meetings and at additional meetings scheduled specifically for the consultant’s work. The process is expected to take a year and will culminate with a “first annual” fundraising event.
“We’ve been successful in expanding and improving our trail system over the last 15 years,” stated Hawkes. “But to make our trail system really great, we need more funding, and ultimately, professional staff to design, build, and maintain our trails.”
The Trail Group is immediately seeking proposals from fundraising professionals to provide the services. The Call for Proposals is available here.
Pacific Redwood Medical Group Gifts $32K for Great Trails!
Ukiah Valley Trail Group has announced a $32,000 gift from Pacific Redwood Medical Group to improve trails at Lake Mendocino. The funding will allow the Trail Group to realign and improve the trails between the Dam and Spillway. This gift follows a $25,000 gift in 2019 that provided the funding to build the recently completed trail above City View Trail at Low Gap Park.
Pacific Redwood Medical Group (PRMG) is a medical group comprised of doctors, physician-assistants, and nurse practitioners who provide Emergency Department and inpatient hospitalist services to local hospitals. PRMG established a corporate-advised fund with the Community Foundation of Mendocino County in 2016 with a goal of contributing to community health through health promotion efforts to ensure a just and prosperous community.
The PRMG corporation provided seed money to start the fund and pays the annual management fee. After that, the fund is based solely on employee donations. Although donating to the Pacific Redwood Medical Group Charitable Fund is entirely voluntary, most of the full-time employees have opted to contribute monthly.
“By working with the Community Foundation, we can allow funds to accumulate,” said PRMG’s Dr. Debbie Marks. “Then, when the right community-based prevention project comes along, we will be in a position to make a substantial grant. With the help of the Community Foundation, the impact of our collective giving is so much greater than our individual gifts.”
PRMG identified the Ukiah Valley Trail Group as a local non-profit whose mission aligns with their desire to improve community health by encouraging physically active lifestyles. “The research is clear that if you create pleasant convenient places to exercise, more people exercise more often,” said local trainer and Trail Group board member Mike Cannon. “We had a hundred and twenty people show up for the PRMG-funded new trail opening a Low Gap Park last weekend, and now with this new gift we expect to be able to do something similar in a year or two at Lake Mendocino.”
For decades, PRMG emergency physicians have cared for patients with incredibly complex and challenging medical problems, the types of problems that would be reserved for specialists in a larger metropolitan hospital. But here in Ukiah, where our specialists are limited, PRMG providers rise to the challenge and care for patients who have nowhere else to turn. According to Dr Debbie Marks, “You can’t just be good to practice medicine here. You have to be really good,”
“We’re really grateful for this gift as it allows us to focus on trail building rather than fundraising,” stated Cannon. “This will allow us to complete the reroute of old, poorly aligned trail on the southwest corner of the lake and make it a much more appealing and accessible route. Great trails, close to home is what gets people out and exercising” concluded Cannon.
Super Fun at the Big Reveal Hike – Ribbon Cutting
Low Gap Park
On May 15th over 120 peple hiked the 1.75 miles up the hill to the start of our new trail at Low Gap Park. Pictured here (from left to right) Mayor Jim Brown, Dr JJ Allende from PRMG, Board Treasurer TIm Pletcher, Supervisor Mo Mulheren, and Ryan Veness form the Blue Zone project cut the ribbon to open the new trail. But becuase this trail belongs to all of us,all Big Reveal hikers were given the opportunity to cut the cut the ribbon and open the trail.
After cutting the ribbon, hikers then hiked at their own pace along the new trail. Docents and trail information signs were posted along the route to enhance the experience. The temporary trail information signs are still up, so if you were unable to attend the Big Reveal, head up soon while they are still posted.
Big Reveal Hike – Trail Grand Opening
Low Gap Park
May 15 10-11:30 Sign in
Meet us at the Low Gap Parking lot and sign in anytime between 10 and 11:30 on May 15th, then hike at your own pace to the new trail. We’ll have the route marked so you can find it. When you arrive at the new trail you’ll be able to have your picture taken while you cut the ribbon to open the trail! W
e’ll have information stations along the new trail and docents at key locations to answer questions. In addition to hiking the trail, you’ll have a chance to learn about how we design and build the trail, and what kind of enviornmental reviews are necessary. We’ll also have some expert birders and plant people who can answer questions and let you know what to look for while hiking. Finally, we’ll have a few goodies at the end of the hike.
Come prepared for
a five plus mile hike with a good deal of climbing. Wear good shoes and carry water. We’ll have the path marked and trail maps available at the sign-in station.
This project would not have been possible without the significant support of Pacific Redwood Medical Group and the Community Foundation of Mendocino County
It’s been a rough year with virtually no “shovel in the dirt” trail work. But behind the scenes our board and volunteers have continued moving forward with project planning. We’ve continued preparing the biological studies and various planning documents we need to have in place so we can build another mile of trail above City View Trail. There are some significant costs to the planning work, but thanks to the support of Pacific Redwood Medical Group through the Community Foundation of Mendocino we’ve been able to keep the ball rolling. We expect to be ready to begin construction in the late winter and open the trail in the Spring! Your donation will help ensure we have the funds we need to complete the project. We’ll once again partner with the CA Conservation Corps. A Corps crew costs $13,000 a week and we’ll need them for two weeks. Pitch in what you can and let’s do this thing!
Help Us Create a Golden Corridor of Walking and
Biking Through the Ukiah Valley
We live in an incredibly beautiful place, but too often it’s behind locked gates. The unused railroad corridor through the center of Ukiah could be a place for us to get outside and walk and bike, but it lies dormant, decaying, and inaccessible. Why can’t we put this asset to good use? Why can’t we walk and bike here?
We can. As laid out in their Master Plan, the City of Ukiah plans to establish the trail as the centerpiece of a park and regional active transportation network. The key to unlocking this gate is “railbanking.” Railbanking is a land use designation that allows for rail corridors to be used as trails while preserving the ability to reestablish the railroad in the future if it becomes economically feasible.
There are approximately two miles of trail currently traversing the city, and any future expansion now hinges on a decision before the Surface Transportation Board (STB) in Washington D.C. The STB has the authority to railbank the corridor.
There are funding opportunities to do this! The City of Ukiah has funding to extend the trail another two miles to the south. While there is no funding available for re-establishing rail service, there is funding for trails and parks. These trail projects will be much more expensive, and in many cases impossible, without the ability to remove the rails allowed by railbanking.
This section of rail has been dormant for decades, and there is no plan to resume running trains in this area. Reliable estimates suggest a trail from Hopland to Redwood Valley would generate $20 million in economic benefit per year to the area. Please join us in calling on the STB to open this public asset to public use through railbanking.
Support Local Trails. Score Great Stuff!
Hey Trail Fans, it’s time for our annual Taste of Autumn fundraiser, and although we can’t get together to eat, drink, and be merry… we can still hold our annual auction. This time it’s virtual. As usual there’s tons of cool stuff and some of the proceeds go to the important work of Hearthstone Village, and some goes to support our local trails.
I hope you’ll join me in supporting two great local organizations by bidding in their online auction. Hearthstone Village does global work supporting an orpahange in Haiti, and the Ukiah Valley Trail Group does local work making sure we have Great Trails, Close to Home! The online auction will over 50 great items including coastal homes, handmade furniture, artwork, wine, and experiences. You can even name a trail or have a place at Lake Mendoncino named for you or a loved one. MARK YOUR CALENDAR, FRIENDS. Bidding starts Tuesday, November 10 and ends the evening of Sunday, November 15.
Take a look at the items up for auction here. Bidding goes LIVE at 5 pm PST on Tuesday, November 10!
Mendocino County’s own Hearthstone Village has 10 successful years supporting education, nutrition and healthcare for 31 girls in Haiti (#NotJustAnOrphanage). The Ukiah Valley Trail Group built and maintain City View Trail and all the trails at Lake Mendocino.
We are so grateful for your support!
A New Paradigm for Trail Work
For many of us, even in the best of times, getting out on the trail is key to our health and wellbeing. In troubled times, we need it even more. And our trails need us, too. So,… we have a plan for returning to work. We must remain physically distanced and we have to work in teams of six or less. But we believe we can get the healthy exercise and community camaraderie we all value while maintaining good infection control practices.
We are once again going to schedule trail days every second Saturday at 9AM. We’ll have trail days through May. As usual, we’ll provide lunch and the tools and we’ll quit by 2PM.
All volunteers must wear a mask while working.
All volunteers must sign up online in advance. We will need to limit the number of participants to 5 volunteers per crew leader. Depending on crew leader availability this will usually mean a maximum of 15 volunteers per day.
We’ll be sending out our famous trail day reminder card, if you want us to send you one, email your address to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll mail you one. As always, there’s plenty of work to do, and it’s fun and satisfying to do it, so see you on the trail!
Virtual Hike Series Comes to Ukiah
The Ukiah Valley Trail Group and Mendocino Outdoors are sponsoring a Virtual Group Hike Series. A total of ten hike descriptions will be posted online once per week starting on the week of Monday the 21st. A new hike will be posted once per week with the final week being an Appetite Seminar the week of Thanksgiving. Hikes will be around the Ukiah Valley at Lake Mendocino, Low Gap Park, Redwood Valley Outdoor Education Project, Mill Creek Park, and Cow Mountain.
Hikers are encouraged to do the hike at some time during the week and take a selfie of themselves and post it online. Bragging rights to those who do all ten hikes.
Each “group” hike will have a description posted online and hikers can do the hike at any time during the week. You won’t be alone in doing the hike, just separated!
Hike descriptions will be posted on www.mendocinooutdoors.com
The first hike description can be found here!
Bringing Nature Home
It was pouring down rain and our crew leaders all assumed we’d show up in the rain, work for an hour by ourselves and head home for hot cocoa. So, no one was more surprised then us when a half dozen intrepid native-plant planting geeks showed up to help!
It was pretty darn wet. And muddy.
But we managed to get tree-start cages assembled and in place to protect 20+ acorns planted along the phase 3 section of the Great Redwood Trail. We also planted over fifty purple needle grass seedlings! A great day on the trail, and a great start,… but we still have a lot to do.
Our goal is to plant at least two-thousand grasses, five hundred shrubs, and of course forty oak trees. One day, this section of the trail will be a native plant wonderland!
We’ve scheduled additional work days for Sunday the 15th and Saturday the 21st. We’ll meet at the intersection of Ford St and the Great Redwood Trail. Ukiah. With your help, the tired old rail trail will be turned into a wildlife and people life corridor. Wear sturdy work shoes and bring gloves if you have them (we have extras). Yes, we’ll work rain or shine! Your RSVP helps us plan.
Taste of Autumn
Sunday Oct 6th 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 with the security of Eventbrite! When you do, you give us the money and you get to go to the event!
Buy your tickets online at Eventbrite 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: $25 in advance and $30 at the door for Adults;
$5 Children 5-12;
Under 5 for FREE! Can you volunteer to help? Many hands make light work, give us a call at 467-3220 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
We Can’t Help But Succeed; We Have 100+ Strong Women in Our Corner!
Do you know about 100+Women Strong of Inland Mendocino? This great group is a “giving circle.” Members commit to giving $100 per quarter to one selected non-profit. They ask three non-profits per quarter to present their case for funding, then vote. This quarter we were asked to present and were selected! It looks like we’ll be receiving about $15K. As always we’ll use the money to fix our trails that need it, while looking for opportunities to build new trail where we can. Our vision is for everyone in the Inland of Mendocino County to live within biking distance of a great trail and 100+ Women Strong are helping us make it happen! Check out their site and consider joining them.
A Taste of Autumn – 2019
Family Fun on the Farm! October 6th – SAVE THE DATE!
We’re going to join Hearthstone Village again this year for a super fun time at our annual Taste of Autumn fundraiser. It will be a load of fun for the entire family. Our Board Member Andrea Davis is in charge of the baking 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! More details coming soon. Purchase your tickets right here and 100% of the ticket price supports local trails!
Save the date: October 6th
Day of event sales benefit our partner Hearthstone Village – They’re great!
100% of online ticket sales go to us!
How much can we get done in two hours?
Join us on June 29th and let’s see.
Graffiti & Weed haters Unite! We love the Historic Railroad Parkway (aka Ukiah Rail Trail) but we hate weeds and graffiti. If you too are a great hater of weeds and graffiti, or if you just don’t have anything else to do that morning, come join us for a festival of weed and graffiti destruction. We’ll meet at the Historic Railroad Depot off Perkins next to the Railroad Parkway at 8AM, graffiti haters will get paint kits and targets, and weed haters will get to pull to their hearts content. Join us and score a UVTG water bottle! Hope to see you there.
Great Redwood Trail Town Meeting
Saturday, June 22, from 10:30 to Noon
Senator Mike McGuire will be hosting a Town Hall Meeting to provide an update and opportunity for discussion of the effort to establish a Great Redwood Trail. The meeting will focus on the progress being made with the Great Redwood Trail, including details on the Mendocino segment.
It’s a really exciting project – converting a decaying railway into a world-class destination for hikers, cyclists and nature lovers here at home and from across the globe that will stretch from San Francisco Bay to Humboldt Bay.
We want to encourage all you trail fans to attend so we can discuss how we can support this spectacular opportunity to open up some of the most beautiful landscapes on earth and create a significant economic driver now and into the years to come:
WHAT: Community conversation about where we’ve been, where we’re at now and where we’re going with the trail in the future. We’ll provide details and an initial timeline for the Great Redwood Trail and what will be happening with the Mendocino County segment.
WHEN: Saturday, June 22, from 10:30 to Noon
WHERE: Ukiah Valley Conference Center, 200 South School Street, Ukiah, CA 95482
MORE INFO: Karlene Rebich at (707) 576-2771 or email@example.com.
Trail Improvements Coming to Lake Mendo
Rejoice! we have work to do! Thanks to the great ranger staff at Lake Mendo we have permission to reroute the trail between the Dam and the Spillway. The trail here traverses some really steep side-slopes and in one place drops so low it’s underwater when the lake is full. Well, not for long. We’ll start building a new reroute to keep our feet dry on February 2nd. We’re looking for a couple of volunteers to help us move supplies to the site on Wed., January 30th, then we need all hands on deck for trail work on the 2nd. In addition to keeping the trail above the high-water line, this project will replace a number of super steep sections with nice contouring trail. It will make this a much more accessible and enjoyable way to begin your trail journey. January 30th, 2PM at the Dam February 2nd, 9AM at the Dam March 16th 9AM at the Dam April 20th 9AM at the Dam This project will probably take at least four trail days. The more volunteers we have, the faster it will go. Please RSVP either via Facebook or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
New Park. New Trails.
Great Trails. Close to Home.
Hey Trail Fans, You have all been so patient. Yes, it was two years ago that you all voted all day every day to convince State Farm Insurance they should give us twenty five grand to build new trail. It was an incredible effort from our small community; it worked because so many of you pitched in.
So for the last two years our team has been working to layout the trails and work on the environmental review documents (CEQA) that will allow us to build the trail. It’s been a lot of work and the City of Ukiah has been a great partner in helping us get it all done. As I write this, the CEQA document is out for public review. We’re confident it’s a quality document that will withstand any level of scrutiny, and confirm the project as a net gain to the health of our environment and community.
We hope to have approval from the City in January to start work. Our new trail park will give us about four miles of new trail.
This project is going to cost about $76,000. We have $25,000 from State Farm, and we’ve already matched that, but we’re still about $25,000 short.
You get one of these letters from us every year, and with your neighbors you typically donate a total of $7,000 to $10,000. This year we need to raise $25,000.
We need those of you who already donate to donate more this year, and we need to attract new donors as well. There are two ways you can make these trails happen; first, donate, and if you can, double of even triple your usual donation. And second, tell your friends about this project and tell them you’re donating. Tell them you gave extra this year because it’s so important. You can make this dream of Great Trails. Close to Home. a reality.
Thanks, Neil Davis, Director UVTG