Why Trails Matter

Local trails are a community asset

With community support from volunteers and donations, Bear Yuba Land Trust has built and maintains over 35 miles of local trails for hikers, runners, mountain bicyclists, equestrian riders, wheelchair users and families.

Trails preserve the rural and scenic quality of life in this community while contributing positively to the local economy. Hiking community trails offers residents and visitors many opportunities to enjoy nature, renew and participate in healthy outdoor fitness. Trails provide safe routes to school for kids and keep air clean by reducing carbon emissions from automobiles.

“Trails provide a link between people and their natural environment. Trails bring people in close contact with a landscape that is not so highly modified by human use and activities. Trails through open space allow people to get away from the artificial environment they spend most of their lives within,” said Trails Coordinator Bill Haire.

Trails boost the economy

why trails matter

Trails are important to the local economy. Studies show that home values increase when a trail is nearby. For many, nearby recreation opportunities are a determining factor when considering relocating to an area. Quality trails also play an important role in the region’s tourism industry with hiking and biking opportunities known to attract visitors, again and again.

Outdoor recreation is responsible for 6.5 million jobs and contributes $730 billion to the national economy. That means that 1 in 20 employed Americans works in some form with the outdoor recreation industry, according to the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

It is estimated that 50 to 70 million Americans use trails every year. All of these trips require expenditures on gas, food, lodging, and outdoor gear, thus giving a boost to the local economy, according to the American Hiking Society.

Many local businesses in Nevada, Yuba and Sierra counties benefit from the recreation tourism dollars generated by trail use.

Trails improve health

trails improve health

Trails provide a place for outdoor exercise, in turn improving your health and wellbeing.

According to the American Heart Association:

Research shows the benefits of walking and moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day can help you:

  • Reduce the risk of coronary heart disease
  • Improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels
  • Improve blood lipid profile
  • Maintain body weight and lower the risk of obesity
  • Enhance mental well being
  • Reduce the risk of osteoporosis
  • Reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer
  • Reduce the risk of non-insulin dependent (type 2) diabetes

Trails build community

BYLT’s expert trails team creates partnerships between public and private stakeholders and provides resources to plan and develop trails. BYLT trails are built with volunteer labor and donations. No tax dollars are used. Bear Yuba Land Trust works with willing private land owners to procure trail easements. One third of trails are built on private land, where the landowner has donated a trail easement that BYLT holds for public access.

In Nevada County, there is no county parks or a recreation department, though city districts provide ball fields and swimming pools. Community support and volunteer efforts are vital in the development and maintenance of the recreational trails we all value. On trails, people ride bikes, go for walks and runs, talk to neighbors, observe birds and other wildlife, identify native plants, play with children and connect with the land.

To date, BYLT has built and maintains 19 local trails. It started early in the 1990s with the wheelchair accessible Litton Trail near Sierra College. Since then BYLT has built: Alan Thiesen Trail, Bailey Trail, Brewer Road Trail, Cascade Access Trail, Orene-Wetherall Trail, Kenny Ranch Trails, Deer Creek Tribute Trail, Environs Trail, Hirschman Trail, Larimer Trail, Loma Rica Trail, Memorial Park – Empire Mine Trail, Narrow Gauge Trail, Nevada County Government Center Trail, Rattlesnake Ridge Trail, Black Swan Trail and Yuba Rim Trail. In addition, the Land Trust has an agreement with State Parks to maintain the popular Independence Trail.

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