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Trailhead access celebrated

by Christy Chalmers, Staff Writer

They came on bikes, horses and with dogs. Some stayed to hike afterward, while others gathered for celebratory refreshments in Gardnerville.

All of the roughly 30 people present agreed that a Thursday afternoon dedication ceremony for the Faye-Luther Canyon trailhead was a milestone for Carson Valley’s outdoor enthusiasts.

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada, joined representatives of the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, American Land Conservancy, Carson Valley Access Community and Douglas County for the ceremony. The focal point was the new parking area and trailhead, located off Foothill Road a few miles south of Centerville Lane.

The parking area has room for several horse trailers, along with single vehicles. A bulletin board carries maps, warnings about wildlife and requests for trail users to clean up after themselves.

Private contributions of $58,000 were paired with public resources. The trailhead took more than four years to develop and is the only public access between Carson Valley and the Sierra Nevada range.

“It was an absolute sin that we had to trespass to hike to the highest peak surrounding Carson Valley,” said Jacques Etchegoyhen, Nevada director of the American Land Conservancy, which helped acquire the trailhead site.

“I’m glad I’ll be legal,” added John Singlaub, manager of Carson City’s BLM field office.

Several residents who enjoy hiking and riding on the public land above Foothill Road attended the ceremony. Though a dedicated trailhead may mean more people on the trails, they said they were happy with the improvements.

“I feel a lot safer now,” said resident Cathy Lund, who hikes twice a week with her dogs, Reggie and Elsa. “There are a lot of motorcycles on Foothill Road, and sometimes they come up suddenly.”

“There will probably be more people, but it doesn’t matter,” said Robin Catherwood, whose Arabian horse Kara was chomping at her bit to trot up the trail. “Everybody gets along really well.”

Chuck Paya, who sold the land for the trailhead, watched the proceedings from astride a 10-speed bike. He worked with the Carson Valley Access Community, American Land Conservancy and others to provide what some suggested could be one of several trailheads.

The Faye-Luther trailhead is for “people who want to see Nevada like it should be seen,” said Reid. “We need more places like this.”