Updated Oct. 1 3:40pm: The Oct. 5 trail building day is canceled because of the federal shutdown.
By Kathryn Reed
One of the final pieces of the Angora burn restoration should be completed this fall – the trail system.
When the more than dozen miles worth of trails are finished, it will be possible to hike, ride a bike or a horse from the gun mount near the base of Echo Summit to Camp Richardson. The Long Term Angora Restoration Project encompasses only the trail network in the area that burned in 2007.
“We have laid it out for different experiences,” Garrett Villanueva, who heads the U.S. Forest Service’s trails team, told Lake Tahoe News. This means some areas will be more challenging than others. “The challenging trails off Tahoe Mountain will be rockier, they have more trail texture. We are trying to lay out the trails so they are not in a straight line, but so they follow the landscape and are interesting.”
The grading work must end by Oct. 15 per Tahoe Regional Planning Agency rules. If need be, what doesn’t get done this year, will be wrapped up in the spring.
The delay in doing the work is because it took so long to get the necessary permits from agencies in the basin.
Trails that had been next to stream zones have been relocated to benefit the ecosystem and help with water quality issues.
The South Tahoe Association of Realtors paid for the bridge going over Angora Creek. Some of their members, along with TAMBA volunteers and anyone else will be helping the Forest Service with a trail day on Oct. 5.
STAR created the Angora Fire Disaster Relief fund immediately after the fire. Initial donations went to members who lost their homes in the fire. The remaining funds are being used for the bridge, which will be dedicated to the residents in the area.
The trails are single track. Drainage systems have been built into the system so little maintenance it required. Undulations will naturally shed water.
A road system still remains in the area, but that is for future management needs and will only be accessed by Forest Service personnel.
Signs will be installed so people know where they are and where they can go.
A kiosk with a map of the trail system will be installed at Sawmill Road and Lake Tahoe Boulevard. This is a good access point for people needing to drive to get to the trails. Another entry point via vehicle is from the Camp Richardson side on Highway 89 where the four lanes end and there is a green gate.
Other projects to be done in the Angora burn area:
• Finish the pile burning in two units near South Tahoe High School.
• Seneca Pond restoration could begin in 2015. Phase one is to drain it and phase two is to restore the area to its natural setting – which means no pond. It is not funded yet.
• Angora Creek restoration does have funding. Next year crews will likely do some wood placement by hand. In 2015 there would be stream construction work and then work should be completed in 2017 with connection of the channel.
• There will be thinning work in the area, but it’s part of the South Shore Fuels Reduction Project and not Angora restoration work.
• There is a trail workday on Oct. 5 from 9am-4pm. Meet at the end of Forest Mountain Road off Tahoe Mountain Road. Hard hats and tools will be provided.
• Here is a copy of the Angora trail map.