By Charles Pekow
A new mountain biking system in Lincoln County, NV is slated to open in the next year or two. A consortium in the area has released a plan for a 40-mile system on public land outside Caliente. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) conducted a public comment period on an environmental assessment in March. It hopes to begin construction this fall and open at least part of the network in the fall of 2017 or spring 2018. The timeline depends on weather and a few ongoing studies to make sure the trails do not interfere with migratory bird patterns and native plants.
The proposed trail system would be open to bikers and hikers – not motorized vehicles or equestrians, since trails for them require more stringent standards. The plan calls for 40 miles of trails and two trailheads, one in Barnes Canyon about five miles east of downtown Caliente and the other about two miles south of town on Ella Mountain Lookout Road. Trailheads would include parking, restrooms, kiosks, shade and picnic/grilling facilities.
A public comment period on the plan ended in March. The project is designed not only for local biking and hiking enthusiasts – but to bring tourism into the area. Only about 27 miles of the planned routes would fall on BLM land. The rest would go in Kershaw-Ryan State Park and the Nevada Division of State Parks (NDSP) would bear responsibility for construction and maintenance of those 13 miles.
BLM, the City of Caliente, NDSP, Lincoln County and the Southern Nevada Mountain Bike Association (a chapter of the International Mountain Bicycling Association) have been working on the plan for four years. Last year, BLM modified the proposed routes to protect cultural resources. The plan calls for a series of loops with a connector trail, with parts designated for different skill levels of mountain bikers and part for hiking only.
Use of BLM trails would be free; trail users in the state park would be subject to the normal entrance fee. Preliminary information is available here: http://tinyurl.com/calientetrailspreliminary
A final environmental assessment will be published soon at eplanning.blm.gov.