I had the long awaited meeting with the Forest Service today. Those attending were: Chas & Anne Macquarie, representing Muscle Powered, Juan Guzman from Carson City Parks and Recreation, and Dave Marlow, Marnie Bonesteel, Steve Hale from the Forest Service.
Anne, Chas, and Juan are amazing. Juan is committed to getting trails built in the west hills of Carson City. His expertise in this field is invaluable to the project. Anne & Chas, who are committed to this effort as well, know what questions to ask and how to ask them. I would be completely lost without these three!
Throughout our meeting the Feds were very informative. After our sales pitch they let us know what it would take to get this project off the ground, and how long the process would take. I couldn’t really tell if they were 100% supportive of our plan (nor is it their job to be), but they were helpful in giving us different angles to look at so our project would eventually succeed.
Now here comes the bad news. If the stars are aligned, and we don’t run into any road blocks, it probably will be three years before we see a trail on Forest Service land. I know this is a long time to wait, but the Forest Service has a lot of land to manage and we’re not the only ones knocking on their door. They are also underfunded and understaffed, which makes things even more difficult.
I might get a few things out of order here, but I’ll mention what has to be completed before we break ground.
First, submit a proposal explaining why we need a trail. The proposal is then reviewed, and if approved, is added to their workload for 2008/09 ,which is adopted in October of ’08 for inclusion for their ’09 workload.
Next, any environmental assessments required are performed in the spring and summer, which after completion go for review and possible approval. If the project is approved we would be looking at trail construction to start in 2010. This is a simplistic explanation of what it will take to get the trail built, but there are many variables and any one of them could fail and put an end to the project.
Now for the somewhat good news. As I mentioned earlier, Juan is committed to getting these trails built. While we continue to work with the Forest Service we’ll pursue the construction of trails on Carson City land. This is a similar process but without all the hoops to jump through.
If you are not already a member, please consider joining Muscle Powered. This project would not be moving forward without them.