Legacy Trails Program Awardee


Western States Trail & Tevis Cup Trail, within Granite Chief Wilderness

Granite Chief Wilderness includes a portion of the headwaters for the middle Fork of the American River. Granite Chief Wilderness provides exceptional riparian and aquatic habitat for native species in sub-alpine terrain. Proposed trail work will improve critical watershed habitat. Trail realignment and improvements will enhance the environmental stability, sustainability, and safety of the subject trail segments. Completion of the project will allow recreational users the option to traverse a sustainable loop configuration of trails in the eastern portion of Granite Chief Wilderness which will include a short section of the Pacific Crest Trail, and see more varied terrain and views.

Applicant: Western States Endurance Run Foundation
Project Location: American River Ranger District, Tahoe National Forest, California
Amount Awarded: $68,300.00

The trail improvements will allow the Western States Endurance 100-Mile Run (since 1974) to continue with a significantly improved trail, and the Tevis Cup 100-Mile endurance Ride (since 1955) to continue on a more sustainable and safer trail. The subject trails are in close proximity to Palisades Tahoe Resort, where hiking is popular and the easiest access point to Granite Chief Wilderness.

Loss of habitat due to the presence of poorly designed trails and resultant erosion and degradation of water quality adversely affect the entire watershed, which provides breeding habitat for Sierra newts, native fish, particularly rainbow trout, and various terrestrial species that depend on perennial streams during the dry, late summer season. The watershed provides habitat for three sensitive species, the foothill yellow-legged frog, the California spotted owl, and the northern goshawk, all of which have been documented in the watershed. The watershed is also a source of public drinking water.

See attached map and Decision Memo for location of work:

Trail Segment 5 (0.4M, currently in use) – Partial realignment due to unsustainable grades and poor erosional controls, and improvements to increase sustainability and control erosion to the balance off the trail segment. Will eliminate unsustainable grades, add water diversion features, and use native materials to add check steps and tread armoring to harden the trail.

Trail Segment 6 (1.2M, currently not in use) – Significantly overgrown and eroded due to lack of use and maintenance. Will re-establish trail tread, install drainage controls(check steps), perform tread armoring using locally sourced materials, install cairns to mark the route, and cut back vegetation so this sustainable route can be properly maintained. The scope of work for this trail segment is in essence a "recommissioning" of an older unused trail with an acceptable alignment, but the work will bring the trail up to current standards with respect to tread design and erosion controls.

Work will be performed by a CCC work crew, under the supervision of staff from Tahoe National Forest, American River Ranger District. Volunteer days will be scheduled for weekends. Overall management will be by Tahoe National Forest. Leadership will also be provided by the CCC crew chief, and the WSER Stewardship Section Lead for this section of trail, who regularly works with Tahoe National Forest.

The field work will be performed over 6 weeks in the summer of 2024, between July 1st and September 30th.

The outcome will be a sustainable low-maintenance pair of trail segments, which including the adjacent Pacific Crest Trail will create an approximately 5-mile loop of trail, from the top of the Palisades Tahoe Resort (also a partner in the project) where summer hiking is popular, in the eastern portion of Granite Chief Wilderness.

Partners in the project with the Western State Endurance Run Foundation include the American River Ranger District, the Western States Trail Foundation (Tevis Cup Endurance Ride), Palisades Tahoe Resort, American River Conservancy, and Placer County.

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212 views • posted 05/25/2023