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Access no longer denied

by Andy Bourelle

Staff Writer

Finally.

Residents of Carson Valley have permanent public access to the forests and trails of the Job’s Peak area.

With the help from residents, the American Land Conservancy and the United States Forest Service have purchased a 2-1/2-acre trailhead which accesses Faye Luther Canyon and Job’s Peak. It marks the first legal access to the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada from Carson City to the California state line.

“There are a lot of different people that will use this trail: aggressive hikers, retired folks, young children,” said Ame Hellman, vice president of the ALC. “It’s just beautiful up there. It’s so spectacular.”

The 2-1/2 acres became available, but the Forest Service – which is allowed to pay only the assessed value for land – was not able make the purchase.

That’s where the community came in – by raising $57,000.

“They kicked in a major portion,” said Bill Van Bruggen of the Carson Ranger District. “I think it’s great. It’s a fantastic example of a community-supported project.”

The forest service secured the remaining $40,000 for the project and worked with the ALC to complete the purchase.

The trailhead is not yet complete, but the public still is welcome to use the access. It is located on Foothill Road, across from the Faye Luther Canyon historical marker.

The $57,000 was raised in about one year, and Hellman estimated 50 people contributed time, energy and money to raise the funds.

Hellman said resident Lori Chitwood stood out in regards to energy contributed to raising the money.

“I tried to go trailriding on some trails I’d been riding on my entire life, and I was told I wasn’t allowed to. That’s why I got involved,” Chitwood said. “I hike, and I want my children to be able to hike up there. I think it’s going to be an asset to the community. I feel it’s a step in the right direction for preserving the quality of life here.”

Thousands of acres of public land are now available to residents, Hellman said, which before could only be accessed by driving out of the Valley. Although it is the first legal access to the Sierra from Carson City to California, everyone involved hopes it is not the last.

When county commissioners approved the Job’s Peak Ranch development a few years ago, they made it a condition of the approval that access be made to the public lands.

The Forest Service, from that time, was given 10 years to complete the trailhead and provide the access.

“I would like to see that go through,” Chitwood said. “That would provide a very large loop. It would be a great hike. Hopefully, that will happen.”

The Record-Courier E-mail: rc@tahoe.com

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