Volunteer Patty Murphy researched and posted on the Sterling Pointe interpretive board some excellent information about our local coyote population obtained from the National Park Service. Coyotes are are regular visitors to Sterling Pointe area and to the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area next door. If you would like to help with the work at Sterling Pointe Equestrian Staging Area, a Placer County park, contact its Volunteer Lead, Donna Williams (916) 837-8880.
Article in the Sierra Sun, Feb. 10. 2019, by Jim Porter, attorney with Porter Simon, licensed in California and Nevada:
"The North Tahoe-Truckee region is a sporting mecca. We have some of the best mountain biking and better-than-average road biking as well as superb hunting, fishing, kayaking and unbelievable hiking trails leading in all directions. Every once in a while someone gets hurt while having fun on public or private land. Today's Law Review is about balancing the rights of recreational users with landowners who allow public use of their land.
TWO RECREATIONAL IMMUNITY LAWS
In 1963, California adopted a Recreational Use Statute, which makes private landowners immune from liability for injuries suffered by people who enter their land free of charge for recreational purposes. (Civil Code, § 846). Nevada has a similar law.
Also in 1963, the Legislature adopted a complementary but totally separate and more focused law protecting public entities from lawsuits filed by citizens using public roads and trails for recreational purposes. (Government Code, § 831.4)
Both laws were enacted in response to closures of large parcels of public and private land – to encourage landowners to allow use of their property for recreational activities. Good public policy.
TRAILS & BIKE PATHS
Under Government Code 831.4, public entities are not responsible for injuries caused by the condition of any unpaved road or any trail on public land which provides access to fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, riding (animal and vehicular), water sports, recreational or scenic areas. The law also protects private property owners who deed public easements to municipalities for those same recreational purposes.
EXPANSION OF TRAIL IMMUNITY
California courts have interpreted the immunity provided by § 831.4 broadly; to now encompass unpaved and paved trails and roads, even sidewalks and paths including bike paths, used for recreational purposes, hiking, biking, skating, etc., or used for access to another recreational area. The immunity applies to the maintenance, design, location and condition of public trails and paths.
Bottom line, if you are injured on a public trail or bike path (or private trail or bike path easement-deeded to a municipality), your legal rights are limited.
RECREATIONAL USE STATUTE
Subject to three exceptions, the Recreational Use Statute (Civil Code, § 846) protects private landowners from lawsuits for injuries sustained by people who are allowed to enter their land free of charge for recreational purposes. The California Legislature has broadened the original statute in a series of cases to encourage an open-gate policy.
SCOPE OF 846 IMMUNITY
California's landowner immunity applies to almost anyone who owns land even land controlled through an easement. And it is not limited to trails and paths.
Private landowners are not required to make their properties safe for use by others entering for recreational purposes. A "recreational purpose … includes such activities as fishing, hunting, camping, water sports, hiking, spelunking, sport parachuting, riding, including animal riding, snowmobiling, and all other types of vehicular riding, rock collecting, sightseeing, picnicking, nature study, nature contacting, recreational gardening, cleaning, hang gliding, winter sports, and viewing or enjoying historical, archeological, scenic, natural or scenic sites."
Previously, the recreationally used property had to be unimproved, that is, without any structure, to entitle an owner to immunity. Court cases have expanded the 846 immunity to improved property, such as steps, railings or even a building.
EXCEPTIONS TO STATUTE
The California Recreational Use Statute (846) creates three specific exceptions where landowners are not immune.
1. There is no immunity from liability if "landowners willfully or maliciously fail to guard or warn against a dangerous condition, use, structure or activity" on the land. If the landowner knows of the dangerous condition and knows that recreationists use the property, failure to protect or expose the owner to liability. Signage usually suffices as a warning.
2. If the landowner is paid for granting permission to enter the property for recreational purposes, the immunity does not apply. For example, the landowner leases the land for bicycle races.
3. The immunity law does not apply where the injured person was expressly invited onto the land by the owner. Cases have determined that promotional literature to the general public to hike in a national park did not constitute an "express invitation," so the immunity from liability still applies.
PUBLIC LANDS AND 846
The broad § 846 landowner immunity has generally been found by federal courts to apply to federal property used by the public for recreation.
The California Supreme Court has ruled that the immunity does not apply to state lands, although Government Code § 831.7 contains a similar landowner immunity for "hazardous recreational activity" on state lands, but with even more exceptions (more liability) than § 846.
Jim Porter is an attorney with Porter Simon licensed in California and Nevada, with offices in Truckee and Tahoe City, California, and Reno, Nevada. Jim's practice areas include: real estate, development, construction, business, HOAs, contracts, personal injury, accidents, mediation and other transactional matters. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or http://www.portersimon.com
To see the original article in the Sierra Sun newspaper, CLICK HERE.
Feb. 5, Placer CO Board of Supes meeting, Parks and Trails Master Plan DRAFT COMPLETE and will be presented.
Monday, Feb. 4 UPDATE:
IMPORTANT: PLACER CO TRAILS AND PARKS PLAN DRAFT NOW COMPLETE AND WILL BE PRESENTED TO THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS on Tuesday, February 5, 2019, at 10:00 AM
If you are a trail user in Placer County, it will be necessary for you and representatives of trails organizations to attend this Board of Supervisors meeting.
The completed draft and updates will be accessed HERE.
For further information, contact Senior Planner Lisa Carnahan at
530-889-6837 or email to: LCarnaha@placer.ca.gov
UPDATE ON JANUARY 31, 2019
IMPORTANT: PLACER CO TRAILS AND PARKS PLAN DRAFT NOT COMPLETE
Because the Draft Plan is not complete, and will only be presented to the Board of Supervisors on Feb. 5, NOT to be approved, it will not be necessary for trails organizations to attend and will not be needed until the Board of Supervisors receives a completed draft plan to approve.
The completed draft and updates will be accessed HERE.
For further information, contact Senior Planner Lisa Carnahan at
530-889-6837 or email to: LCarnaha@placer.ca.gov
On Tuesday, February 5, 2019, there will be an important meeting for trail users at 10:00 AM of the Placer County Board of Supervisors. As part of the agenda, the Supervisors are to approve the draft "Placer County Parks and Trails Master Plan" which has been two years in the making. Placer CO Parks has asked all trails group to attend to be in favor of this comprehensive plan.
The complete draft can be accessed HERE. <http://placerparksplan.com>
It is expected that some homeowners along Scott Road will be at the meeting to ask that Hidden Falls Expansion Plan be removed from the Placer County Plan, which eliminates the new parking area. This plan addresses expanding the parking to the north side to relieve the pressure on the existing parking area on Mears Place. By spreading and dividing the parking into separate areas, all homeowners and trail users will be better served.
Trail users should be there to show Placer County Supervisors that they approve the scope and content of the Parks and Trails Master Plan.
For further information, contact Senior Planner Lisa Carnahan at 530-889-6837 or email to: LCarnaha@placer.ca.gov
A new trail system below Scotts Flat Lake across Deer Creek (above Nevada City), first proposed in late 2017 after a controversial decision by Nevada Irrigation District to fence off the spillway at the reservoir, has gained momentum.
The closure of the spillway, regularly used by walkers and bicyclists to cross from the Highway 20 side of the lake to the Cascade Shores side, was reversed after substantial public outcry. But the impetus to create a trail, with the district meeting with a number of groups such as Sierra Express Bike Team, Bear Yuba Land Trust and Bicyclists of Nevada County to discuss some of the alternatives.
The options all start at the bottom of the dam road from Pasquale Road at the start of the spillway, are a little over a mile long and have bridge options to span Deer Creek, said district Assistant General Manager Greg Jones. The trail would not be open to equestrian or motorized vehicle use.
Jones noted the trail proposals do cross some private property and the district has reached out to the owners. They are generally open to the idea of a trail, he said, although one has expressed concerns over fires.
In December, the district issued a Request for Proposals for engineering and design services for the Scotts Flat Lower Connector Trail, for an approximately 1-mile multi-purpose use trail plan. On Jan. 22, water district staff conducted a site walk with several organizations and companies that received the Request for Proposals for review; responses are due by Feb. 8.
On Tuesday, Jones provided an update of the process so far, as well as the two trail alternatives, to the Maintenance & Resource Management Committee. One of the options would stay along the south side of Deer Creek and would then cross it just above Lower Scotts Flat Lake. That option, however, is problematic due to probable maximum flood flows, Jones said.
The better option, he said, would require two bridges. The first bridge would cross the spill channel immediately downstream of the spillway and a small, secondary bridge would cross the northern hydro channel downstream from the power plant. In both cases, the trails connect to an existing trail along Snow Mountain Ditch up to the campground.
CLICK HERE to see the original article in The Union Newspaper, written by Liz Kellar
In 2018, trail service was the most popular category among volunteers with 265 people, while those working in visitor services logged the most time, at 8,256 hours.
Alan Kushner, 75, paints stripes at the Wrights Lake campground as part of his volunteer service with the Eldorado National Forest. Kushner is one of 1,038 volunteers who worked on forest projects in 2018. Courtesy photoMore than 1,000 volunteers provided nearly $1 million in service hours to the Eldorado National Forest in 2018, according to the forest’s annual volunteer report issued late last month.
The dollar figure comes from a $24.69 per-hour value of volunteer service established by Independent Sector, a coalition of nonprofit organizations. Volunteers in the Eldorado National Forest logged 36,493 hours in 2018, the report said.
According to the report, 470 of this year’s hours came from Camino resident Alan Kushner, 75, who has volunteered in the Eldorado National Forest for at least a decade. Every spring, he and wife Patty, who works in the information center at the Crystal Basin Ranger Station, take their camp trailer up to the area where Kushner works on facility repairs, mentoring younger people and showing them how to fix tools and structures.
He also takes photos of workers that the National Forest uses in service group presentations, but Kushner said mentoring and teaching the younger workers is what he likes most, since it gives him a chance to make use of his experience. Kushner, who also serves as a county chaplain, said before retirement he worked for the Western Electric Company installing communication systems for 37 years.
“I enjoy working with the young people and it gives me something to do. I’m up and about,” he said. “Before doing this I had a lot of medical problems and wasn’t getting enough exercise. This gets me up and out and moving most of the day. I feel a whole lot better and am doing a whole lot better.”
The report recognized specific individuals like Kushner and more than 50 local service groups who worked on projects in recreation, wilderness, trail maintenance, historical and cultural resources, natural resources and visitor services. As far as actual projects, volunteers engage in things like trail maintenance, wildlife and cultural surveys, campground hosting, snow grooming, weeding and working public events.
In 2018, trail service was the most popular category among volunteers with 265 people, while those working in visitor services logged the most time, at 8,256 hours. History and cultural resources was the service category with the lowest number of volunteers and hours logged, with one person, Genevieve Cameron, making up more than a quarter of the 864 total hours.
In terms of what opportunities await volunteers and prospective volunteers in 2019, the Eldorado National Forest said it seeks those to work in volunteer program management, where lead volunteers assist staff with projects, recruit and put together a newsletter and annual report. Opportunities for general forest work include taking photos, video production, light maintenance on non-wilderness trails and forest cleanup.
One reason Kushner said he feels volunteer work is important is because it saves the United States Forest Service money.
“Most employees are seasonal and they don’t have the experience necessary to do some of the things they’re asked to do,” Kushner said. “If I wasn’t volunteering, they’d have to call plumbers, they’d have to call electricians … it’s very expensive and right now (the Forest Service) is spending all their money fighting fires.”
Due to the federal government shutdown that began Dec. 22, 2018, representatives from the Eldorado National Forest could not be reached for comment by press time.
CLICK HERE to see the original article and photos in the Mountain Democrat newspaper, story by MacKenzie Myers
The Osborn Loop Trail is part of the 14-acre Empire Mine State Historic Park in Grass Valley. The trails are a runner’s dream. Well maintained and each trail intersecting another for a trip as long as you like. The same is true for equestrians and those of us who prefer a different pace. Park at the east end of the visitor’s center parking lot and access the trails in the back of the mining yard. Or park at Penn Gate. Occasionally, I like to pay the extra $7 fee to see the Bourn Cottage and grounds.
On my last visit, a dusting of snow put me in the holiday spirit. The cottage was decorated for Christmas and the Osborn Loop Trail was still drenched in fall color.
The historic park gives us a glimpse into the influence gold mining had in our area. The luxury of electricity, flush toilets and a telephone in the cottage were just a few of the signs of the wealth that came from the mine.
Several mine shafts dot the property. In the mining yard you can look through a gate into one of the shafts. If you get the docent-led tour, you will learn more about the life of a miner. Several buildings offer gold mining history lessons.
Once you leave the mining yard and head for the trail, concrete foundations and hills of pilings are evidence of the mining operations. The park has been doing some much-needed clearing of thick brush. A park-like setting is returning to some areas. The well-marked trails wind in and around the mine sites and keep you walking for miles.
The Osborn Loop trail is a 2.4-mile trail. Start at the east end of the visitor center parking lot. Head out on the Hardrock Trail and it will run into Osborn Loop Trail. It's easy to get diverted by the mining sites, so expect more than a 2.4-mile adventure. A section of this trail runs parallel to the road so keep your dogs on a leash. (Mother Lode Trails Note: dogs must be on a leash throughout the Park, off-leash dog owners will be cited.)
Close to town but offering a forest setting, the Empire Mine State Historic Park has a variety of attractions to keep most everyone entertained. To get there from Auburn, take Highway 49 north toward Grass Valley. Take the Empire Street exit and follow Empire Street up to the park.
Mary West is author of the book “Day Hiker:The Gold Country Trail Guide.” The book is a collection of the Day Hiker columns found in the Auburn Journal newspaper 2016-2019 where West shares her longtime love of the outdoors, and favorite hikes in Northern California’s Gold Country and beyond. West was a recipient of the 2017 CRAFT Award for Best Outdoor Column by the Outdoor Writers of California. You can follow West on Facebook and Instagram.
To see the original article and Mary's photos, visit the Auburn Journal newspaper.
CLICK HERE for a trail map and more information about Empire Mine State Historic Park.
2018 has been another great year for trail building on Land Trust lands.
First up, four new miles of the Donner Lake Rim Trail, linking the Glacier Way Trailhead to Northwoods, were built and are ready for finishing work in the spring. This is an exciting stretch of trail with beautiful views of Donner Lake and the Sierra Crest, connecting Donner Lake Rim Trail to the Trout Creek Trail, which in turn connects to Downtown Truckee. Click here to learn more.
A new pedestrian bridge, avoiding an ongoing erosion issue on the Donner Summit Canyon Trail, was installed this fall with the help of our partners at California State Parks. This keeps hikers, runners and cyclists out of a difficult section of washed out trail on their way to a beautiful overlook of Donner Lake.
Elsewhere on Donner Summit, working with the Access Fund and American Conservation Experience, the Land Trust made significant improvements to the trail accessing Black Wall.
In the Martis Valley, we reworked 1/2 mile of trail in Waddle Ranch Preserve and created ADA access to the beautiful Elizabethtown Meadows Trail.
And we worked to maintain our many existing trails like the beautiful network at Royal Gorge on Donner Summit, including the 13-mile Royal Gorge Rim Trail.
We couldn't have done any of this without your help - from the generous donations that supported professional planning and building, to the roughly 300 volunteers who put in 35 days this summer, adding up to more than 50,000 person-hours!
For more information, go to:
Spanning a vast 2,650 miles from the Mexican border to the Canadian border, the Pacific Crest Trail (or PCT) is well known for its incredible length and difficulty. The trail crosses multiple mountain ranges, traverses through hot deserts, and winds its way up snowy passes — difficulties that would challenge even the most experienced of hikers.
But to one man, this made the journey all the more enticing. Jack Emery, a 71-year-old local physical therapist and outdoors enthusiast, recently took on the challenge and completed hiking the famed Pacific Crest Trail.
"I've been a hiker for a long time, and I kept seeing this trail and said to myself, 'I want to do the whole thing,'" said Emery. "I love adventure and I think adventures makes us better people, and (this hike) was definitely an adventure."
A PASSION FOR THE OUTDOORS
Emery has always embraced adventurous activity. He has been hiking, cycling, swimming, backcountry skiing and competing in ultramarathons his entire life, and so the idea of conquering a 2,650 mile hike came almost naturally to him.
Despite his outdoorsy lifestyle, though, Emery was still incredibly focused in his preparation for the hike. He stressed the importance of training on similar terrain to the hike with a weighted backpack, spending time strength training, and properly preparing the tools and nutrition one will need for the long journey.
And by "long journey," Emery meant five and a half months of hiking across mountain ranges, in cold storm, and through scorching deserts.
The 71-year-old started his hike on March 28, 2018, and ended on Sept. 16 of the same year. He left the trail only to restock on food or supplies, or to escape the weather if it was too brutal. For the most part, however, Emery powered north, hiking for an average of 20 miles a day.
ON THE TRAIL
In order to complete this mileage, Emery would wake up before dawn, heading out as the sun rose. He would take a few breaks in the middle of the day to rest and eat, but would continue hiking on until just before dark, when he would stop the day's journey and make camp. Occasionally, though, Emery would hike into the night to find a better campsite or to make up for lost ground if he wasn't able to hike as much during the day.
"Sometimes I hiked in the dark if it was too hot," said Emery. "It happened often in the desert."
Through these five-and-a-half months, Emery saw many incredible sights (including spotting a wolverine) and made even more incredible friends. Hiking is often a solo activity — Emery journeyed many hours alone, listening to audiobooks or podcasts to pass the time.
He remarked that, "there's a great solitude and thrill in being in nature, and I love the quietness of nature." He gave a laugh and continued, "It was actually hard coming back to the noise, congestion and businesses."
Despite this appreciation of solitude, Emery preferred company on these long miles.
"I'm a people person," said Emery. "I hiked with someone when I could. And I ended up hiking with many people from all over the world, and made many friends."
Emery also called and messaged his wife regularly, checking in through his cell phone. Having this array of company made the journey much more fun, joining Emery to others through their common goal. It also, however, provided a crucial element into Jack Emery's journey: the comfort of safety.
Without friends and other hiking company, Emery may not have made it uninjured through one of the scariest moments of the trip.
AN UNEXPECTED EVENT
Up in Washington at the time, Emery was caught unprepared by a storm of fierce winds, rain and extreme cold.
"I was not dressed appropriately when the wind came," said Emery. "I was on a ridge, the trail running along its top without any shelter, and I got second stage hypothermia — uncontrollable shivering."
Frighteningly aware of how dangerous hypothermia is, Emery began running for a few miles to try to keep warm and eventually ran into some other hikers. The band made camp, where the other hikers made Emery hot water and lent him dry clothes, and he quickly recovered. This scare was just a reminder of how difficult and deadly these adventures can be, both physically and mentally.
But despite also experiencing a low point midway through the trip, when Emery almost gave up with such a long journey still ahead, the hiker remained incredibly positive through most of those five-and-a-half months, intensely appreciative of the beauty of nature.
He made a promise to himself to never get off the trail on a bad day — and there seemed to be hardly any bad days at all. This, Emery made sure to note, is the reason he loves outdoor sports so much.
It is also because of this that Emery encourages people to get out and explore the great outdoors as much as possible, be it by hiking, cycling, backpacking or simply going out for a walk.
THE IMPORTANCE OF GETTING OUT
"Even in (Nevada County), we have a plethora of hiking," said Emery, referencing the hundreds of miles of trails spread throughout Nevada County.
With such an array of options for adventure, it is hard not to find a trail at one's own level, and Emery stresses that the trail certainly doesn't have to be difficult. You could even hike in your own community and gain many of the things Emery did during his journey — including one important change in mindset during these experiences.
"One of the most prominent things is that you begin to make self evaluations about yourself and about what's important," Emery said. "When you are out in the beauty of nature and you see this beautiful world, you realize it all didn't happen by accident."
And at the end of the day, that is the most beautiful part of our wilderness — its ability to fill us with an intense love for the beautiful world around us.
To get more information on hiking, visit http://www.pcta.org or http://www.bylt.org/trails for a map of all Nevada County trails, or Mother Lode Trails www.motherlodetrails.org/federal-state-county-districts-parks--trails.html-state-county-districts-parks--trails.html for trail information in our extended area.
CLICK HERE to read the original article and photos by Mina Ricci who contributes to The Union.
Loch Leven Trail is a moderate to difficult hike with over 1,000-foot elevation change over 3.5-mile trail to the first lake in the Loch Leven chain of lakes in the Tahoe National forest. (photo credit: Mary West)
To get there take Interstate 80 east to the Rainbow Bend exit. Take a left onto Hampshire Rocks Road. Drive up just past the Tahoe National Forest fire station to the trailhead parking lot. An information board and restrooms are located here. The sign marking the trailhead is directly across the street.
The trail begins with granite boulders. Under foot are rocks, roots, ruts, sand, decomposed granite and decomposed tree. Around you are boulders, colossal pine trees, views of surrounding mountain peaks, and the lakes.
One very prominent peak is Red Mountain A.K.A. Signal Peak. The first landmark is the railroad tracks just over a mile in. Other highlights of the trail include the wildflowers in spring. You skirt a pond that is more of a bog by September. A wooden bridge leads into a cool shaded area briefly before the climb continues. Level areas give you a chance to catch your breath before forging on. A few of the volunteer trails can lead you astray. Stay on track.
Loch Leven Trail is a moderately trafficked trail and dogs are welcome. Take plenty of water. Plenty of sun exposure on this trail so you may want a hat, glasses and sunblock. Once you reach the lake, find your spot to settle in and get your shoes off, a snack will be in order.
If you have time and the inclination, more lakes await you as well as Cherry Peak trail is three miles out from the trailhead.
Another great thing about Loch Leven Trail is that the return trip to the trail head is mostly downhill.
Mary West is the author of the book “Day Hiker a Trail Guide.” A collection of columns from the Auburn Journal where she shares her longtime love of the outdoors, and favorite day hikes in Placer, Nevada, El Dorado and Yuba counties. West is the recipient of a Outdoor Writers of California Craft Award in 2018. Learn more about local trails by following Mary on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
CLICK HERE to see the original article in the Auburn Journal.
The project is expected to cost $2.241 million and $1.984 million will come from the SACOG Regional Funding program.
The city plans to connect the existing Sutter Bike Path to a new park to be built along Harter Parkway and the grant would also fund a shared path for bikes and pedestrians along Harter Parkway between Butte House Road and State Route 20, according to a press release.
The grant would come from the Sacramento Area Council of Governments Regional Funding program and the determination on whether Yuba City will receive the funds will be made on Dec. 20, said Ben Moody, deputy public works director for Yuba City, in an email.
“I appreciate the ongoing work of city staff and SACOG for securing necessary funding to enhance our community assets,” said John Buckland, council member and SACOG director, in the press release.
To obtain the funding, Yuba City will need to coordinate the design and construction of the project and then the city will receive the funding through reimbursement after completion, Moody said.
“The funding is slated for construction costs including construction management to build the project,” he said.
The scope of work includes building the Class 1 bike path and sidewalks along the west side of Harter Parkway from Butte House Road to Highway 20 and construct the bike path connection from Harter Parkway west to Hooper Road, Moody said. Which will be about 1.3 miles of bike and pedestrian path and sidewalk.
The project is expected to cost $2.241 million and $1.984 million will come from the SACOG Regional Funding program.
Moody said closing the gap in the path would allow residents living in homes west of Harter Parkway to easily access the nearby shopping center and provide a safe path of travel for students at nearby schools.
“In addition, constructing the project will enhance the (city’s) community facilities with the Sutter Bike Path by extending it to a new parking area at the park and providing a direct route to the Sutter Buttes,” he said.
Community, health and economic benefits are all important reasons for having biking and hiking paths in the area, Moody said.
“Biking and walking paths provide the city’s residents with safe routes to use for both recreation and commuting,” he said. “Since trails are protected from vehicle traffic, they provide a safe transportation alternative for new bike riders, parents with children or commuters who might otherwise feel unsafe walking/biking.”
The paths also promote an active lifestyle and people who come to the area to utilize the paths while spending money along with increased property values are some economic benefits.
The Harter Park is not yet built and is being funded with a combination of city funds ($800,000) and a California State Parks Grant and Land and Water Conservation Fund Grant ($800,000), Moody said. The expected construction cost is around $1.6 million.
Moody said staff is working with a goal to have the bike path project complete in coordination with the completion of the park in the summer of 2020.
“I have no doubt this project will be a great addition to our community,” said Preet Didbal, Yuba City mayor, in the press release.
CLICK HERE to see the original article in the Appeal Democrat newspaper.
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