REI chips in $25,000 to Placer Land Trust trail-building efforts.
By: Gus Thomson of the Auburn Journal
A new 3-mile section of trail is being blazed in North Auburn’s Taylor Ranch Preserve as part of a Placer Land Trust effort to ultimately link the Bear River to the north with Hidden Falls Regional Park.
With light, trail-building equipment already carved out a meandering, rust-red swathe of churned-up earth along the three-mile route, volunteers organized by the Auburn-based land trust and outdoors outfitter REI worked Sunday morning to clear rocks and groom the trail for future use.
Sunday’s Taylor Trails Day started with volunteer work projects along the trail and ended with docent-led hikes. REI brought along a $25,000 check to aid in ongoing Placer Land Trust efforts to extend the trail system.
Jason Flesher, REI outdoor programs director, said the outdoors cooperative has aided the land trust in both funding and exposing the public to the area through classes on the property teaching navigation, GPS and survival skills, and bouldering.
Mehrey Vaghti, Placer Land Trust vice president, said that the REI partnership brings in a new community of outdoors-oriented visitors to learn about the Taylor Ranch Preserve and future plans.
“It’s a beautiful area, with blue oak woodlands and the wildflowers are amazing in the spring,” Vaghti said. “This area is now open only for special events but the hope is that trails will eventually be linked and access will be available any time.”
The Taylor Preserve trail is currently off-limits to hikers and other visitors except during Placer Land Trust or trust-related events. Fund-raising is currently taking place to extend the Big Hill Trail System to meet up with a new Bear River Connector Trail to the north and a Hidden Falls Connector Trail to the south.
The new trail on the Taylor Ranch Preserve runs through gently sloped oak woodland that has served as grazing land. Wild turkeys now roam the property and the trail rises to provide views that extend all the way to the Sierra Nevada.
Cassidy Thomas, a volunteer and Stockton resident, said the nearby Placer County Hidden Falls park between Lincoln and Auburn is already a favorite destination.
“And we’re excited to see this area also grow into usable wilderness,” Thomas said.
Under the Placer Land Trust trails and recreation funding drive, the non-profit’s goal is to raise $750,000 to build 20 miles of new trails. Donations can be made at placerlandtrust.org.
Article courtesy of Auburn Journal