Save the Buckeye Path

Buckeye trail sign in Royal Gorge area-2 6-21-14I am starting to notice a new and totally unexpected trend in my life, ever since the acquisition of the Royal Gorge Properties. Contrary to my expectations that we had saved Donner Summit I find that we seem to actually be losing things. The latest casualty is some of the community minded spirit that makes the Summit such a great place to live.

In the last couple of weeks I have discussed some of the new single tack trails that are being created by the Truckee Donner Land Trust (TDLT) on the Royal Gorge lands. Last week we were out walking the dogs in the forest on the west side of Serene Lakes when we came upon another beautiful meandering footpath that ran parallel to the Big Ben trail. If you have been out on Big Ben lately, you know that it is not the pretty little ski trail it used to be. It was the unfortunate victim of the the very necessary forest restoration project being done by TDLT. The trail is now covered by 6-8 inches of wood chips and quite frankly it’s going to be a few years before it becomes a nice walking or riding trail again. I’ve taken to using the James Joy trail instead.

Maggie at Buckey trail sign in Royal Gorge area 6-21-14Well apparently someone else saw the need for an alternate trail to Big Ben. This individual, obviously being a community minded person, decided to create a footpath that meanders through the newly restored forest along Big Ben. Whoever this person is, they put in a lot of time and effort to clear the forest debris to make a wonderful little path for all to enjoy. But that person did not stop there. To mark this alternate route this person with an obvious artistic flare, created beautiful hand carved and painted trail signs. The trail is named the Buckeye Path (after the wonderful little Buckeye butterfly that flits around the summit). I think we can all agree, this was a wonderful good deed.

Well, unfortunately, we seem to live in a time when no good deed goes unpunished. An email is circulating now in which the new trail has been labeled “abuse that will not be tolerated” by TDLT. This is really a slap in the face to all community minded people on the summit. Those beautiful hand carved trail signs apparently don’t conform to TDLT sign regulations (like all those beat up Royal Gorge ski trail signs do?). I think we are witnessing a real loss of perspective in the summit community. We are talking about a walk in the woods. How many regulations do you need for that? TDLT is now planning on removing these trail signs. Wouldn’t it be more productive if TDLT would try to utilize this type of community spirit? I think it’s time to slow down the regulatory bus that seems to be barreling through the summit area lately and get back to the open minded spirit that used to live here. If you’re feeling the same, you might want to contact TDLT and let them know. You also might want to tell them to save the Buckeye Path while you’re at it.

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