Alliance Makes Progress for ‘World Class’ Trails, Parks - Mountain News : News

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Alliance Makes Progress for ‘World Class’ Trails, Parks

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Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2019 9:00 am

Editor's note: As of right now, the alliance has not announced the date of the next meeting, but we'll keep the community informed when we have more information. You can visit their website here.

The Rim of the World Trails Alliance held a combined community input meeting and a board of directors meeting that was well attended on July 15 at the Hootman Center in Running Springs.

Pending approval by the Recreation and Park District, the Trails Alliance hopes to have its monthly meetings at the Hootman Center on a regular basis. Previous meetings were at different locations, resulting in lower attendance numbers. The group is growing and the project to develop interconnected trails will be a significant benefit throughout the mountain communities.

At the July 15 meeting, Karen Reams, general manager of the ROTW Recreation and Park District provided detailed information about a Proposition 68 grant application that she has been working on with assistance from several others who have expertise in specific topics covered in the application.

Proposition 68 went into effect in November 2017, making funds available for upgrading and modernizing parks in qualified geographic areas. If awarded, the grant would provide 100 percent funding with no need for matching funds. Also available under Prop 68 are per capita grants and program grants to get new programs started. Minimum grants are $200,000 and maximum awards are $8 million, Reams explained.

“This is the first grant we are applying for,” Reams said. “It’s the tip of the iceberg. We will be applying for as many grants as possible.”

Kevin Somes then took over the meeting as president of the Trails Alliance. Introductions of board members included Bev Brown, treasurer; Carol Kinzel, clerk/secretary; Chris Ehe, vice president; Jordan Zarate and Dr. Hugh Bialecki, alternates.

Since April, Bev Brown has been working on the process of getting nonprofit status with the Secretary of State — an arduous undertaking due to tedious bureaucratic demands.

The Trails Alliance is working with the Recreation and Park District on establishing “world class” trails with parks throughout the mountain communities; an Active Transportation Plan; and a Phase I project from SkyPark to Running Springs.

Various aspects of the projects will involve cooperative efforts with the U.S. Forest Service and with local Chambers of Commerce.

Local businesses also are contributing their efforts. For example, Snow Valley and Rim Nordic are looking at ways to connect their respective trails. “We have no lake in this area to draw the public, but a trail system, better parks and picnic areas will give people a reason to stop and visit the Running Springs areas,” said Bev Brown. Meanwhile, Chris Ehe has worked diligently to create maps to be used in identifying where existing trails can be linked to proposed new trails.

The alliance is approaching other groups to help get the organization going. Ken Witte has applied for a wildlife corridor to be established at the Heaps Peak Arboretum, which can be used by hikers and bikers as well. They can proceed from the arboretum to the other side to see the sunset and view of the valley.

Karla Kellems, who is a member of the Sierra Club and the San Bernardino Mountains Land Trust, has suggested other appropriate places to establish wildlife corridors under State Highway 18. She has been in touch with the USFS regarding shaded fuel breaks on each side of proposed trails.

Interested mountain residents are encouraged to check the Mountain News calendars and plan to attend future meetings.

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