The public is being encouraged to walk or ride on the new North Fork bike-hike trail 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday during the Earth Day event at the North Fork mill site.
Spearheaded by Harry Stott, the North Fork Community Trail Coordinating Group and a slew of volunteers have literally bulldozed the trail into fruition. In a sluggish economy that has funds for many services being cut back, including environmental projects, this group of North Fork individuals and businesses has made a dream a reality.
The one and half mile biking and hiking trail is located at the old mill sight in North Fork, which once thrived as a major industry within this logging community from the opening in 1943 till it closed in 1991.
Stott, rode the trail last Saturday with his son Jermiah on their mountain bikes.
"After two years this is becoming a reality but we still have a long way to go," Stott said. "We have created a trail where people can ride their bikes, walk, bring their dogs and possibly even ride their horses."
He said there have been many volunteers who have helped with the trail including Jere Miller, a research consultant and volunteer with the North Fork Volunteer Fire Department, who helped bulldoze the trail wide enough for both bikers and hikers alike.
"We have faced some big hurdles in making the trail accessible," Scott said. "Jere Miller and Keith from All Right Recycling and I brought in huge rocks and fill dirt to fix giant holes on the trail. Eventually we will bring in two bridges, a 16-foot and a 30-foot, in order to make crossing the creeks a little safer and easier. Right now we are just using old plank boards and thick tree limbs."
The trail, which is mostly shaded, has two entrances, a lower trail and upper trail, which are currently marked by wooden signs that Stott himself carved and painted. For bikers, the upper entrance provides more of a challenge climbing, along with the opportunity for some downhill speed. The lower level is great for hikers who want to begin the trail with less impact and then gradually climb various hills for more of a vigorous climb. Whichever way you go, you will experience great scenic vistas,wildflowers, sounds of creeks, lush meadows and wild life.
Stott said it takes large equipment and lots of volunteer time to get trail improvements accomplished.
"This is why it has taken more than two years to get this trail going." Stott said. "Most of the volunteers are local businesses and organizations like All Right Recycling, Slim's Koffee Shak, Stott Builders, North Fork Community Development Council, Crossroads Recycled Lumber, Squirrel Cage Theatre and Foundation for Resource Conservation, who look at the trail as an attraction for people visiting the Mountain Area."
During Saturday's Earth Day event, the public will learn about sustainable landscaping and composting, native plants, solar energy, solar cooking and will see an electric car. There will also be food on the site provided by various vendors, as well as the North Fork Women's Club and The Greater North Fork Gallery will be open.
Dance demonstrations, music and tours of the new fire station will be available throughout the day.
The event is sponsored by the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians, Foundation for Resource Conservation, North Fork Community Development Council and the Yosemite Sequoia Resource Conservation and Development Council.
Details: Diann Miller, (559) 877-4620.