In June, I attended the National Association of Counties’ (NACo) annual conference in Maryland. One of my goals at the conference was to advocate for our federal land managers, including the US Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, to be provided with more resources to protect their lands and adjacent communities – like Nevada City – from wildfire. Through my work with the South Yuba River Public Safety Cohort, I frequently hear about how few permanent staff members these agencies have assigned to their lands in Nevada County, and that alarms me. I joined a number of colleagues from across the country in meeting with officials from both of these Federal Agencies. I am also pleased to announce that I have been given a seat on NACo’s Public Lands Steering Committee, where I will be able to continue this advocacy.
At the August 10 board meeting, we heard a presentation about the Pines to Mines 80-mile multi-use trail, which will link Nevada City and Truckee – a world-class recreational amenity that not many areas can offer. There was significant debate about the Forest Service’s request that the project’s environmental assessment examine the use of e-bikes (motorized bikes) on that trail. Some trail users felt that e-bikes are already used on the trail and are the future of biking – leaving them out would not be a realistic or comprehensive assessment of what is possible on that trail. Other users felt that e-bikes present a safety hazard and are incompatible with horseback riders and non-motorized bikes. I argued that we should let the environmental assessment examine the issue thoroughly (including the potential use of e-bikes) but, ultimately, the resolution was amended to remove e-bikes from the environmental review.
Finally, make sure to check out the river stewardship display promoting our collective love of the South Yuba River. It graces the windows of the Alpha Building in downtown Nevada City and includes colorful, creative posters put together by the member agencies of the South Yuba River Public Safety Cohort – a group I co-lead, that helps to coordinate and advance public safety initiatives in the South Yuba river corridor. The South Yuba River sees around 800,000 visitors a year, many of whom also visit or stay in downtown Nevada City. The display, which seeks to educate river visitors in a fun and eye-catching way, was put together by Sierra Gold Parks Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports western Nevada County’s three State Parks – Malakoff Diggins, South Yuba River State Park, and Empire Mine.