Built by the late Naturalist John Olmsted and community volunteers, the ramp has fallen into disrepair in recent years. Last fall, BYLT closed the ramp for public safety because of concerns with the structure’s stability.
“This is a wonderful trail and we want to make sure it is maintained for many years to come so people can continue to enjoy it. This is one step in a long process of getting this trail back up to the high standard it once held,” said BYLT’s Land Access Manager Shaun Clarke.
Located about six miles from downtown Nevada City off of Highway 49, the Independence Trail is considered one of the most popular trails in the region among locals and visitors and is renowned as one of the first wheelchair accessible trails in the nation. It memorializes the historic Excelsior Canal and local Gold Rush history and also follows one of the most scenic stretches of the South Yuba River.
In 2012, the non-profit conservation organization Sequoya Challenge, founded by local conservationists Sally Cates and John Olmsted, transferred ownership of 207 acres and sections of the Independence Trail, including the ramp, to BYLT.
The Rush Creek Ramp is located on the western section of trail, approximately one mile from the trailhead. The ramp is attached to a large restored historic flume traversing Rush Creek.
A Request for Proposal (RFP) is now available for the project. The project involves:
- Analyzing upper portion of the Rush Creek Ramp and determining the best method of repair or reconstruction to comply with Americans with Disability Act (ADA) standards and provide safe access to a viewing platform.
- Repair of a section of ramp approximately 115-feet long, sitting one to seven feet above the ground.
Proposals are due by March 15. The winning bidder will be selected by May 15. The work will be funded through a combination of private donations and grants.
Founded and built by members of the local community, the trail has been maintained and supported by a passionate crew of volunteers for more than 35 years. Volunteers will be included in the project, as appropriate, under BYLT’s direction.
“People can feel the magic and connect to a different time and place when hiking the Independence Trail. This ramp provides unique access for people of all mobility levels and we need to get it restored,” said Clarke.
Bear Yuba Land Trust (BYLT) is a private, non-profit, membership supported group promoting voluntary conservation of our natural, historical and agricultural resources in the Bear and Yuba watersheds of the Sierra Nevada foothills.