Muscle Powered and other members of the bicycle community attended the Carson City Regional Transportation Commission meeting on April 14th to present the Bicycle Friendly Community plan. Mark Kimbrough, Executive Director of the Tahoe Rim Trail Association and member of the State Bicycle Advisory Board, presented the BFC plan to the commission, and Ty Polastri, president of the Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition, shared his insight of how South Lake Tahoe made its entry into the Bicycle Friendly community. Ty was instrumental in South Lake Tahoe receiving a Bronze award from the League of American Bicyclists, and he has been helping Carson City along on our path to becoming the first Bicycle Friendly Community in Nevada.

BFC Presentation
A sampling of attendees at the Bicycle Friendly Community Presentation

Not only would becoming a Bicycle Friendly Community lead us in the direction of having a nice and safe city to walk and bike in, Ty and Mark both conveyed how BFC status relates to bicycle tourism and economic prosperity. Not only is it a quality of life issue, it’s a public relations campaign. Your city may be a cycling Mecca, but if you don’t advertise it, who will know? An official BFC status will put Carson City on the national map, and has the potential to attract tourism and people and businesses looking to relocate. The Carson City Regional Transportation Commission voted to adopt the action plan for a Bicycle Friendly Community, and Mayor Bob Crowell had great things to share about his experience while visiting the Bicycle Friendly Community of Tempe, AZ. The next step is to move on to the Board of Supervisors and begin the long application process with the League of American Bicyclists.
Complimenting the Bicycle Friendly Community project is the Ash Canyon to Kings Canyon trail project. Mountain Biking and hiking on the west side of Carson City is growing in popularity. Not only are we seeing more locals hit the trails, people from the Carson Valley, Reno, Lake Tahoe, and Truckee are making the trip down to Carson City to experience what Carson City has to offer. As good as our trails are though, we’re going to need more miles of trail before we can attract visitors from further away.

Open Space Meeting
Trails presentation at the Open Space Meeting

On April 19th, Muscle Powered’s Chas Macquarie and Jeff Potter presented the Kings Canyon to Ash Canyon trail plan to the Open Space Advisory Committee. The proposed trail will connect the top of the Creek Trail to the switch back area of Kings Canyon road, traverse the the scenic high ridges above the Kings Canyon waterfall area, and add an addition 5 miles of trail. This trail would provide connection to future trails in the Borda Meadows area, including the already existing Longview Trail. And going beyond this area, the goal is to tie into the Carson Valley trail network, the Tahoe Rim Trail, and Marlette lake Flume Trail. As you can imagine, we would then have a trail system to brag about.

Ash Canyon
Walking the proposed trail alignment in Ash Canyon

Jeff Potter had presented his trail plan to the Forest Service a couple years ago, but with little city or community backing, the plan never made it onto the Forest Service program list. This meeting with the Open Space Committee, however, was much different. Using the momentum we gained with progress in the Bicycle Friendly Community area, Chas Macquarie made a compelling presentation of our master trail plan to the committee. Backing Chas and Jeff up was a room full of trail users. Almost every seat was filled! Selling the plan to the committee was not a challenge, since many of them use these same trails themselves.
The biggest hurdle to get the project going is an environmental assessment of the proposed area. These are not cheap at around $60K-70K. The committee was not opposed to funding this though, and will put this item to vote at the next meeting. There are also grants available to reimburse these fees down the road. In the end, the Open Space Advisory Committee voted and approved the efforts of Muscle Powered to pursue this trail project. If everything falls into place, trail construction would most likely begin on the north end of the trail in Ash Canyon, since the city currently owns this property. A strong community and city government backing will bring us much more influence now when we go back to the U.S. Forest Service and ask to build trail on their portion of the land.

Evidence Trail
Carson City. Future Mountain Bike Mecca?

A big part of the reason this project is being allowed to move forward is that much of the work to construct and maintain this trail will be provided by the volunteer work of Muscle Powered, an advocacy group of citizens for a walkable and bikeable Carson City. In this economy, volunteer work is a powerful tool, since many government agencies and departments have no money left in their budgets to take on anything new. In fact, many are scaling back. It’s very uplifting to see that bicycle advocacy issues are now bringing more people to city meetings, and believe me, this participation is making a huge difference, but to have an even greater influence with city, state, and federal goverment, we need to grow the Muscle Powered membership.
Annual dues to join Muscle Powered are only $10 for student/senior, $15 for an individual, or $20 for a family. Not only does membership with Muscle Powered allow you to participate in Muscle Powered exclusive events like walks and bicycle rides, memberships and donations provide the primary source of funding for Muscle Powered projects.
Muscle Powered has a downloadable membership form on the website. Very soon we’ll have our Paypal service available on the website as well, so you can make easy and secure electronic payments. You will also notice you can now subscribe to the Muscle Powered newsletter using the link at the top right sidebar.
Thank you for your continued support!