Tahoe Project Marks First of its Kind

Construction kicks off on a legal trail with purpose-built features on National Forest land

Work began last Monday on the Lower Corral Trail enhancement project in Lake Tahoe. Photo: Courtesy TAMBA

Work began last Monday on the Lower Corral Trail enhancement project in Lake Tahoe. Photo: Courtesy TAMBA

Builders broke ground this week on the first-ever legal trail purpose-built with features on National Forest land in the South Lake Tahoe area.

The work is being done on the Lower Corral Trail, a 1.1-mile fall-line rip that was originally built by mountain bikers and dirt bikers years ago and subsequently adopted by the U.S. Forest Service. It is steep with a 10 to 15 percent average pitch–some sections register at a brake-squealing 25-percent grade–and sandy with some deep ruts. The trail enhancement project, which is led by the Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association, or TAMBA, has been in the works for the past three years, when TAMBA began working with Hilride Progession Development on the design.

Over the next four weeks, builders from TAMBA and Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship will rework Lower Corral to include high-wall berms, rock jumps, tabletops and log rides. Once it’s completed, the trail will be a model for purpose-built features on legal trails, said Ben Fish, president of TAMBA. It will remain open to mountain bikers, hikers, quads and motorcycles when the work is completed.

TAMBA raised $28,000 to fund the project, which includes equipment rentals, fuel and wages for four builders from Sierra Buttes.

“It’s the first time we’ve been able to pay mountain bikers to build trails,” Fish said.

The project is indicative of a recent shift in Tahoe away from illegal, user-built trails to a culture of partnering with the local Forest Service district to construct permitted, sustainable trails.

Along with paid builders, TAMBA will rely on volunteers to help with construction. If you live in the Tahoe area and want to chip in, there will be a volunteer work day on May 17, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m, followed by a guided ride the next day. For more information, go to www.tamba.org.