Volunteers and ACE work on the Pine Ridge Trail

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Betsy M
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Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2008 12:35 pm

Re: Volunteers and ACE work on the Pine Ridge Trail

Post by Betsy M »

Fletcher, the short answer is No, you cannot hike from Rainbow to the Pine Ridge Trail. This section needs a lot of work, and we don't even have any work trips scheduled. Try the other loop hikes, even some of the overgrown ones. The east end of the Big Sur Trail would be miserable.
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mikesplain
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Joined: Tue Aug 12, 2008 3:15 pm

Re: Volunteers and ACE work on the Pine Ridge Trail

Post by mikesplain »

Check out- http://www.ventanawild.org/forums/venta ... trails/214
& scroll down to the same hiker's report from 12/19/17.
Fletcher

Re: Volunteers and ACE work on the Pine Ridge Trail

Post by Fletcher »

Thank you for all the info Mike. One more question... have you seen any recent reports on the Big Sur Trail past Rainbow? That's where the VWA work stopped, correct? I'd love to know if I can take the Big Sur Trail from Cold Spring all the way to Pine Ridge Camp. I imagine the conditions are not optimal after the fire and storms, but wondering if it is passable.
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mikesplain
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Re: Volunteers and ACE work on the Pine Ridge Trail

Post by mikesplain »

"Dmitry" posted the following in the Pine Ridge Trail conditions reports (http://www.ventanawild.org/forums/venta ... trails/263 - hiked 12/20/17)
"I started where the Big Sur Trail connects to the Pine Ridge trail and going up was pretty easy, grass only knee high. The tread was faint, and as the trail climbed higher it got increasingly harder to track in all the bushes."

VWA will be using grants from REI & Monterey Peninsula Regional Parks District, bundling them with money from the Ventana Trails Forever Fund (at Community Foundation for Monterey County), & hopefully doubling it all with a matching grant from the National Forest Foundation, to fund several ACE Crew hitches on the eastern Pine Ridge Trail this spring. These crews will aim to make the trail stock-passable to Pine Ridge Camp; this would make future work on the descent to the Big Sur Trail junction feasible.

That's probably a much more long-winded answer than you needed, but we simply could not get this work done without grantmakers & VTF Fund donors. They deserve to be showered with gratitude by VWA members & the hiking public at large!

Anyone interested in supporting the VTF Fund can find out more at- http://www.ventanawild.org/trails/support-the-trails
Fletcher

Re: Volunteers and ACE work on the Pine Ridge Trail

Post by Fletcher »

I understand that the VWA trail crews have recently done a lot of work on the Big Sur Trail from Cold Spring to Rainbow camp. (THANK YOU!)

Does anyone know if the the eastern section of the Pine Ridge Trail (that follows the intersection with the Big Sur Trail) is currently passable? And if not, are there plans to work on this section? Hoping to make a trek in April.

Grateful for any information. And truly grateful for the hard working folks in the VWA!
Trevor W
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Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2016 10:10 am
Location: Santa Cruz, CA

Volunteers and ACE work on the Pine Ridge Trail

Post by Trevor W »

In January of 2017 the VWA volunteer trail crew began preliminary surveys and trail work on the Eastern Pine Ridge Trail. After the survey, volunteers began removing fire-hardened brush and repairing tread as needed to ensure safe access for stock to support NFF-funded ACE crews based out of Divide Camp. Building upon work done during the Soberanes Fire Burned Area Emergency Response phase, the VWA volunteer trail crew conducted ten outings on the Eastern Pine Ridge Trail to clear brush and dangerous stobs left by fire crews during efforts to contain the Soberanes Fire. In total, 21 volunteers contributed 678.5 hours to these outings. They removed one campsite, enhanced one campsite, built 11 drainage structures and enhanced two others, reconstructed 57.5 yards of tread, maintained 209 yards of tread, removed 27 fallen logs from the trail, removed brush from 7,054 yards of trail, cleaned one campsite, removed one campsite, and hauled out one pound of trash.

After these volunteer outings the Pine Ridge Trail was ready for pack support that would supply the ACE crews based out of Divide Camp. Unfortunately, late winter storms made access to the Pine Ridge Trailhead via the Tassajara Road unsafe for hauling a stock trailer, so the first ACE hitch was deployed self-supported in order to stay on schedule. With the help of volunteer porters, the ACE crew and VWA Stewardship Program Coordinator (SPC) Trevor Willits carried ACE camping supplies and provisions to Divide Camp, returned to the trailhead for the night and then carried the crew’s personal gear and remaining supplies to camp the next day. After setting up camp, the crew began removing encroaching brush on the Pine Ridge Trail past Divide Camp. Consecutive days of sunny weather helped to improve conditions on the Tassajara road and stock support was possible for the remaining hitches. The crew was able to restore stock passability of the Pine Ridge Trail to the junction with the Bear Basin Connector Trail.
Log jam blocking the trail
Log jam blocking the trail
Fresh trail after removing logs and root wad
Fresh trail after removing logs and root wad
The work accomplished by the VWA volunteer trail crew and contracted ACE crews, with packing support from the Forest Service, made a striking improvement to the condition of the Eastern Pine Ridge Trail. The accomplishments of NFF-funded ACE crew hitches on the Pine Ridge trail were as follows: three volunteers donated 198 hours to assist with hauling ACE gear and working alongside the crews. During two 80-hour and two 40-hour ACE hitches the crews, the SPC, and VWA Trail Crew Chief Betsy McGowan improved one campsite, built three rock retaining walls and one check step, reconstructed 105 yards of tread, maintained 2,948 yards of tread, removed 14 fallen trees from the trail, and removed encroaching brush from 4,224 yards of trail. A total of 2,598 professional crew hours were spent on this effort.
Wild flowers growing in the burn scar
Wild flowers growing in the burn scar
In September of 2017 eight volunteers accompanied inmate crews from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Gabilan Conservation Camp to finish bringing the initial 0.75-mile segment of the Eastern Pine Ridge Trail up to standard. During this effort 1,320 yards of trail were brushed and 72 yards of trail tread were maintained, and a total of 77 volunteer hours and 252 inmate crew hours were expended.

This project was funded by Matching Awards Grant #AI-512 from the National Forest Foundation, and a donation from Recreational Equipment INC.

The VWA plans to continue this project in the spring, with the goal of restoring stock access of the PRT all the way to Pine Ridge Camp.
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