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Friends of Nevada Wilderness maintaining local trails

Nevada is a state filled with beautiful wilderness areas, many of which can be found right here in Nye County, but the value and benefits of those areas cannot be realized unless they can be accessed by the everyday person.

Working in tandem with federal agencies, Friends of Nevada Wilderness is a nonprofit dedicated to ensuring that so these public lands can continue to be enjoyed by maintaining the trails that thread their way through them. For the past decade, this has included trails all around Nye County. Friends of Nevada Wilderness Trails Manager Tara Nasvik was excited to provide the county with an overview of what the organization has managed to accomplish in recent years.

“We focus all across the state. We advocate, steward and educate for our public lands in the wild areas of Nevada,” Nasvik told Nye County commissioners during their May 7 meeting.

She explained that in her role as trails manager, it’s her job to cooperate with federal agencies to bridge the gaps in those agencies’ resources, particularly when it comes to keeping trails through federal lands cleared and accessible.

“Here in Nye County, there are an incredible amount of backcountry trails,” Nasvik detailed. “People use them for horseback riding, for hunting, for hiking and backpacking, for fishing access, and of course, there are also local outfitters and guides who make their livelihoods off these trail systems.

“So why do we maintain them? The main reason is because they overgrow, logs fall down and access becomes unsafe,” Nasvik continued. “A lot of the work we do out there is basically to provide safe access for all users… We repair tread, we clear trees, we brush these trails and make them accessible for everyone.”

In the last five years alone, Friends of Nevada Wilderness has maintained 165 miles of trails in Nye County, utilizing five volunteer trips and 38 professional crew “hitches”, which Nasvik explained are work weeks. All together, the nonprofit’s value of work in Nye County in the last five years comes to approximately $446,000.

Nasvik spotlighted three specific areas in the county that have been a focus for her group, what she calls the “Crown Jewels of Nevada” - the Arc Dome Wilderness, Alta Toquima Wilderness and Table Mountain, all near the town of Round Mountain.

“The Arc Dome Wilderness Area has the Toiyabe Crest National Recreation Trail, which draws a lot of locals and others to the area. We’ve maintained that whole trail, plus all the access to it,” Nasvik reported. “Over in Alta Toquima, which is just one range to the east, there’s the highest peak in Nye County, Mt. Jefferson. There is a beautiful trail called Pine Creek that goes up to it and that’s one of the many trails that we’ve maintained in that area. And Table Mountain, one range over, has one of the most popular hunting accesses for elk and mule deer. The Barley/Cottonwood loop is one of the trails that we work hard to maintain there as well.”

Using only hand tools, Friends of Nevada Wilderness push through all sorts of conditions, including snow, wind, lightning, wildfires, hail, floods and avalanches, to pursue their mission.

“Despite all those challenges, we are able to get an incredible amount of work done,” Nasvik remarked, adding that this is also made possible by the help of two other groups that regularly lend a hand, Backcountry Horsemen, and Backcountry Hunters and Anglers.

Nasvik noted that Friends of Nevada Wilderness does utilize volunteerism but much of its work is done by hired crews, which come from all around the country but with priority given to locals. Those interested in joining a crew can contact Nasvik at Tara@NevadaWilderness.org or 775-324-7667 extension 208.

For more information on the nonprofit’s activities and mission visit NevadaWilderness.org

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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