Trinity Stirling, Connected Communities Project Coordinator brought her colleagues and gave history of the Stewardship, having started in 2003.
The Connected Communities Project is planned with 15 towns from Tahoe to Susanville with 600 miles of single track being dubbed the Lost Sierra Route. Trinity told about four big projects in the Loyalton area; 1) East Zone Connectivity Project closer to Truckee Boca and Stampede which is an approved and shovel ready trails project and SBTS is seeking funding to construct the 15 miles along the Verdi Ridge to start in 2023; 2) a planning project for segments of the Lost Sierra Route in Sierra Valley connecting Loyalton to Sierraville for 66 miles; 3) planning project funded by NV OHV to connect these projects to the Reno Peavine trail network; 4) SBTS is working to complete needed maintenance project on the Badenaugh trail which has “spectacular views"
She told of plans to be out in Badenaugh for trail reconstruction the following day and make it bikeable by the end of the week.
From the audience, Trinity was asked how to volunteer and she answered to give their e.mail to be entered into the data base. Sierra Valley Rancher Rick Roberti asked how close the trail was to town and was told the Smithneck Picnic zone and west Smithneck Road would make a nice connection and was “as close as can possibly be on public lands,” with a similar distance to Sierraville. Sierra County Supervisor Sharon Dryden wondered about the use of the Boca Loyalton Railroad but was told no, that trail is not being promoted as part of the route as it is a non-motorized trail and the Connected Communities Project is proposing single track motorized trail use. The Badenaugh trail is also a non-motorized recreation trail, allowing for hiking, biking and horseback riding and similarly, no change to recreation use type is proposed through the project.
Sharon called the Smithneck bike lane, in the works, a "top priority" for Sierra County and is moving out of the planning stages with environmental review from the beginning if the pavement all the way to Highway 49, widening shoulders for a bike lane.
Under question, Trinity stated 600 miles are single track and they may create suggested routes for more remote recreation. There was talk of huts and rehab of fire lookouts and Trinity stated, “We’re not experts in lodging and are recommending users book stays at existing establishments in town.” She stated winter usage was possible but snow grooming is not part of the project as it is focused on summer and shoulder season recreation opportunity.
Asked how they got the lines, she told of gathering community input and generating routes with USFS resource data, trying to keep them reasonable with grade balancing.