SBTS is applying for a Secure Rural Schools grant, through the Sierra County Resource Advisory Committee (RAC), to restore the historic Boca & Loyalton Railroad and convert the 26 mile route into a multiple-use trail, connecting the Sierra Valley with the townsite of Boca, located between Verdi and Truckee on I80. To make our grant proposal powerful, we are requesting letters of support for the project from members of the community, businesses, outdoor industry folks and trail enthusiasts.
Letters should be directed to the Sierra County Resource Advisory Committee and emailed to me (feel free to cut and paste from this blog)
Here are some of the particulars associated with the project.
The project goals are: to restore the historic Boca & Loyalton Railroad as a non-motorized, multiple-use trail for mountain biking, hiking, equestrians and cross country skiing; to employ 1-3 Loyalton and Downieville High School Students as Student Trail Crew Members, along with our locally hired and professional trail crew as crew leaders; to educate and certify Student Trail Crew Members, through our professional Trail Builder Curriculum, in the following skills: basic first aid and field emergency planning, hand tool care and use, cross cut and hand saw use, Griphoist operation, basic trail maintenance skills, and volunteer work crew coordination; to help rebuild the economy and identity of the Sierra Valley, by restoring the historic route and attracting recreational tourism; to involve the community of Sierra Valley in an exciting project that will bring neighbors together, working for a common cause; to work with the Tahoe Forest and private land owners to develop a Trails Master Plan that includes: a strategy for identifying historic connections to Truckee, Reno and the surrounding Sierra Valley communities, completing the required NEPA documentation for trail restoration and creating a budget with a timeline for completing the project. Students will be involved with all aspects of planning, restoration work and the development of a long-term vision for the trail system.
A brief description of the project: the Boca & Loyalton Railroad was said to have had the greatest effect in assisting with the growth of the economy in the Sierra Valley, running for 26 miles from the town site of Boca (between Verdi and Truckee on Interstate 80) to Loyalton. It was constructed in 1901 and ran until 1916, hauling timber from the outer reaches of the mountains to the sawmills in Loyalton, which at the time had 5 mills in operation. At it’s height of operation, the Boca & Loyalton Railroad employed 133 people and used 7 locomotives with 45 cars. In 1994, much of the historic railroad was destroyed in the Cottonwood Fire, leaving a dirt and rock path that meanders through the forest at less than a 3% running grade, making it perfect for year round family recreation.
Similar project: SBTS is working on a similar type project in the Plumas Forest, restoring the Clover Valley Railroad as a recreational trail around Lake Davis, which interestingly enough, connected to the Boca & Loyalton Railroad.
Here are some photos from my tuesday in Loyalton, which included: a visit to the Loyalton Museum to check out the display on the Boca & Loyalton Railroad; a meeting with community members, the mayor and city council to discuss the scope of the project; and a feild trip, which involved the mayor sliding down a scree-slope and me getting stung by some nasty flying insect and going to the clinic for a few shots. I love this job!
Please write a letter of support, we need all the help we can get to make this project a success. Do it! email me a letter of support and create a recreational resource that can save a community.