Land News – Summer 2015

BYLT_News_Summer 2015_for WEB 1What’s inside:

  • Why Trails Matter
  • Celebration of Trails a Success
  • Become a Trail Volunteer
  • Trail Etiquette
  • Hike the Yuba Rim Trail
  • Adopt a Trail
  • Save the Date!

Message from Executive Director Marty Coleman-Hunt

Recently I joined Stewardship Associate John Thomson to check-out plans for formal parking and a visitor kiosk at the new Yuba Rim Trailhead at Rice’s Crossing Preserve. We parked along the side of Marysville Road and, rather reluctantly in the extreme heat, walked on the worn path of dried grass in the magnificent meadow overlooking the confluence of the North and Middle Yuba Rivers, 300 feet below. Water flowed, but not much.

As we entered the formal trailhead, the hot, grassy meadow gave way quickly to a mature forest of tanoak and Ponderosa pines. Instantly the temperature dropped. The air became lighter with a sweet and spicy fragrance. Soft pine needles covered the path. As the forest drew me in I felt my muscles relax, I slowed my pace, and I began to look around at the quiet enchantments of nature.

Parks and trails are integral to community and individual well-being. Trails increase users’ physical activity, support mental health, and foster community and social interactions.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA) research shows the benefits of walking and moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day can help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and lowers the risk of obesity, among other health benefits.

AHA research also found that spending time in nature enhances mental well-being, specifically improving attention spans (short and long term); boosts serotonin (the feel good neurotransmitter) and an increases activity in the parts of the brain responsible for empathy and emotional stability.

Trails preserve the rural and scenic quality of life in this community while contributing positively to our local economy.  Real estate agents say home values increase when a trail is nearby. For many, nearby recreation opportunities are a determining factor when considering relocating to our area. Quality trails also play an important role in the region’s tourism industry with hiking and biking known to attract visitors, again and again.  Many local businesses in Nevada, Yuba and Sierra counties benefit from the recreation tourism dollars generated by trail use.

On trails, people ride bikes and horses, go for walks and runs, talk to neighbors, observe birds and other wildlife, identify native plants, play with children and connect with the land. Trails provide safe routes to school for kids and keep air clean by reducing carbon emissions from automobiles.

In Nevada County, there are no county parks or a recreation department though city districts provide managed and group recreation amenities such as ball fields and swimming pools. In Yuba County the parks function has been defunded.  Community support and volunteer efforts are vital in the development and maintenance of trails.  This issue of Land News is dedicated to local trail projects, efforts and opportunities.

Trails matter to me.  Do they matter to you?

Marty Coleman-Hunt

Download Land News – Summer 2015