This award is given to a partnership which benefits agencies or services within the field of trail planning, design, or implementation. Level One category: a partnership consisting of two entities.
American Conservation Experience (ACE) and the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) of the US Forest Service have been partnering on trail projects since 2009.
The Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit has been very proactive in providing opportunities to ACE Corpsmembers for job training, personal development, conservation service, and natural resource appreciation.
This partnership has enabled American Conservation Experience to provide opportunities for young adults, 18-25 years old, from around the country to engage in meaningful trail and conservation work on the public lands of the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.
Most recently between September 2013 and July 2014 these two organizations partnered together to complete the new 2.5 mile long Monument Pass Trail in South Lake Tahoe, CA. This trail now provides a key connector to some of the most popular trails in the Lake Tahoe Basin including the Tahoe Rim Trail, Cold Creek Trail, and Star Lake Trail (LTBMU and ACE built in 2011). Although hugely popular for mountain bikers, this trail now provides an incredible recreation opportunity for all user groups to experience this unique region of the Tahoe Basin beneath the tallest peaks in the area.
By partnering on this project together, over 50 young adults from around the country were able to gain valuable experience building a brand new sustainable multi-use trail. For many corpsmembers this was their first time doing trail work. The corps members learned the importance of proper trail design, both to enhance the user experience and mitigate erosion issues.
Corpsmembers were able to work alongside Forest Service Trail Crew Leaders and learn basic trail building skills. In addition to the basics, corpsmembers learned how to quarry rock using feathers and wedges as well as move large boulders with a variety of rigging systems. They had the opportunity to build numerous stone erosion control structures including multi-tier retaining walls and checks steps.
Additionally, this partnership has proved to be a fruitful pathways program for corpsmembers into the job force. Multiple corpsmembers have gone on to work for the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, while many others have moved on to trails careers with agencies around the country.
The initial public response to the Monument Pass Trail has been outstanding. Aside from glowing public comments from bikers using the trail, the Reno Gazette Journal published an article on the newly completed trail. Additionally, TahoeTruckeeOutdoor.com, SouthTahoeNow.com, and MountainBikeTahoe.org also issued releases about the opening of the new trail.