The BLM Shoshone Field Office was awarded a Great Basin Institute grant to bring in a five-person Nevada Conservation Corps (NCC) trail crew to perform maintenance on the Hidden Valley Trail. BLM Rec. Planner John Kurtz and I have been working with the crew.
The Hidden Valley Trail was spared from the recent fires that passed through the area, which was a boon to area trail aficionados looking for post-fire places to run or ride. While other trails in the network were getting rebuilt the Hidden Valley route was seeing a lot of traffic. Now it needs some attention, so the arrival of the crew last week was well timed.
In many situations its desirable for the tread of trails to be outsloped slightly. Doing so aids drainage, but some areas of the Hidden Valley Trail have worn into a condition where they are tilted-out too much. Walking or running on them is uncomfortable. For two-wheeled travel these areas tend to push riders to the outside edge of the trail. This might make riding on the trail less fun, and over time, excessive outslope can contribute to the breakdown of the outside edge of the trail. The NCC crew is working to correct this condition.
Since the trail didn’t burn, the plants growing trailside have been doing very well. So well, in fact, that places along the route have become choked with vegetation; making passage rather uncomfortable and difficult.
The crew is busy cutting out the large bunch grasses and other plants that are encroaching on the trail, and they are raking the trail’s backslope of loose rock, that, if not cleared away, will someday end up down on the trail surface. Additionally, the crew is responsible for cleaning out the many existing drains found along the route.
The crew members bring a positive approach to their efforts and they are all a pleasure to work with. Besides working hard to recognize and treat the trail’s maintenance issues, they bring an eagerness to learn the background stories of how these trails were planned for, designed and developed. Passersby on the trail have all been enthusiastically supportive of the crew and their efforts, which is nice. Such appreciation makes it easy for the crew to see how important the trails are to all of us, and how much we value their work.