China Spring Youth Camp helps build mountain trails |

China Spring Youth Camp helps build mountain trails

by Richard Morissette

Snow has come to the Tahoe Rim Trail and the tools are put away for the season.

As I reflect on completing my first season with the staff, crew leaders and volunteers of the Tahoe Rim Trail Association (TRTA), I can honestly say that it has been a rewarding learning experience. Once I had learned the basic trail building techniques, I was soon asked to share those skills with others as a crew leader.

With the TRTA you learn by doing and crew leading was no exception. You are given several first-time volunteers and a task to complete.

One of those learning experiences involved working with the boys from China Spring Youth Camp.

Camp leaders Michael Beam and Dave Dunbar, both certified trail builders, have been bringing 8 to 10 boys ages 13 to 18 from the camp to help build trail for the last two years. It has been a win-win experience for both the boys and the TRTA crew leaders.

After a hard day, the boys feel a sense of accomplishment when walking the trail they have just built. And the TRTA get a lot of trail done in a day. Mike told me that one boy was so proud of his efforts on the new Mt. Rose section that when he returned home he took his family out hiking the trail.

China Spring Youth Camp, located about nine miles south of Gardnerville, is where juvenile offenders are educated and counseled for five or six months.

The camp’s mission is to prepare these at-risk youth for a successful transition back to their homes, careers and communities. The camp accepts youth from throughout Nevada with the exception of Clark County.

A girls’ camp, Aurora Pines, has recently been added to the China Springs facility. Beam, a program manager at the facility is hoping to get a couple more of the camp staff certified as trail builders for next year’s TRT season. Beam is also joining the CVTA and we expect to see both boys and girls from China Springs working on Carson Valley trails next spring. This will give our volunteer trail building effort a big boost.