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Trail Blazer TAHOE Back by popular demand, Youth Backcountry Camps expand in 2016 to include six wilderness immersion trips

INSIDE Send-off from Executive Director Mary Bennington Is America Held Together by Duct Tape? Welcome Chris & Maggie! Summer ‘16 Trail Projects

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” JOHN MUIR

View From The Rim

Trail Blazer is the official publication of the Tahoe Rim Trail Association, a 501(c)3 non-profit whose mission is to maintain and enhance the Tahoe Rim Trail system, practice and inspire stewardship and preserve access to the natural beauty of the Lake Tahoe Region.

STAFF Executive Director Morgan Fessler Director of Trail Operations Chris Binder Outdoor Programs Director Lindsey Schultz


s I look back on my six years as the Executive Director of the Tahoe Rim Trail Association, I am filled with a flood of memories of wonderful moments with our dedicated volunteers, sharing stories of passion with our members and marveling at the energy and commitment of our staff and board of directors. I’ve gotten to know and love every inch of this “trail like no other!” Thank you to everyone who has shared time with me out on the trail – either traversing through its wonders or getting dirty while making it better!

Tahoe Rim Trail Association

Sustainable Funding Director Shannon Skarritt Operations & Marketing Manager Justine Lentz by Mary Bennington Executive Director

As Ursula LeGuin said, “It’s good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” This has been an amazing journey! As I head on to my next adventure, traveling and enjoying life with my husband, I am elated that the TRTA will continue to be guided by the most enthusiastic, capable group of people with whom I have ever worked with. We’ve added two new staff members, Maggie Brandenburg – Outdoor and Youth Programs Manager and Chris Binder – Director of Trail Operations, and three new board members, Lorilyn Chitwood, Jim Cline and Kristen Power. I am thrilled that Morgan Fessler, our former Director of Operations will be our new Executive Director! Her experience with our volunteers, partners, staff and supporters will ensure a smooth transition and a successful future for the TRTA. As always, I’d like to thank all of you – our members, volunteers, partners and supporters! The TRTA is celebrating 35 years because of the amazing dedication of everyone that has been involved in every capacity imaginable! I look forward to my next journey which will definitely include staying involved with this remarkable family – the Tahoe Rim Trail Association!

Outdoor & Youth Programs Manager Maggie Brandenburg Office Administrator Laurie Buffington BOARD OF DIRECTORS President John Singlaub Vice President Jim Crompton Treasurer John McCall Secretary Ande Chern Sustainable Funding Alice Hampton Trail Operations Dave Schnake Trail Use Ro Martinoni Board Members Lorilyn Chitwood, Jim Cline, David DeVoe, Jackie Ferek, Kristin Power, Roger Rosenberger, Carl Woods

Happy trails!

Mary Bennington Executive Director


TRAIL BLAZER | Summer 2016 | Tahoe Rim Trail Association

The Tahoe Rim Trail Association works in partnertship with the USDA Forest Service and Nevada State Parks

The Dirt On Trail Operations

Camp Cooks!


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rails are our lifeblood! They get us to work, spur our by Morgan Fessler Executive Director recreational economy, connect us with the wild beyond our backdoor, challenge us to push our limits, build healthy lifestyles, introduce us to our neighbors, foster stewards for our environment, and provide for endless amounts of FUN! As such an integral part of our lives, like our homes and our relationships, trails need our attention. Trails are an evolving entity. Maintenance practices and techniques improve, land ownership changes, use increases, and the type of use changes. Here on the Tahoe Rim Trail we We like are fortunate to have a community of users that to celebrate at the TRTA, understand these challenges and support the especially the fact that our Tahoe Rim Trail Association to ensure that the volunteers are so extraordinary! world class user experience offered is preserved Volunteers who contribute this season for today and generations to come. on multiple occasions will be invited to an evening at Valhalla Grand Hall on Please consider supporting our trails by joining October 1st so we can acknowledge all us in the field this summer or as a member of your hard work. Thought last year’s the Tahoe Rim Trail Association! We will have party couldn’t be topped? Wait to volunteer trail projects on occasion in June then see what we have in store weekly from July through October. Spend a day this year! giving back to the trails you love!


tee n lu

r Party

This summer we have three backcountry camps that will need extra hands helping plan, shop, prep, and cook for our trail workers. No need to be a master chef. Those of all skill sets are welcome. Fill the ranks of our most important Backcountry Camp volunteer position this summer! For more information, contact Chris at

Van Sickle Waterfall Bridge, June: We’re building a bridge! The Van Sickle Waterfall bridge will replace the stone steps stream crossing at the Waterfall. This project will address environmental and safety issues at the site by keeping users on the trail rather than on fragile streambanks and vegetation. Chickadee Ridge Reroute, July: Our first of two reroutes this summer will be south of Tahoe Meadows at Chickadee Ridge. The trail’s original alignment isn’t quite right and user created social trails have popped up all over the ridge. New trail will be built and the old trail and social trails will be decommissioned to reduce our impact on this iconic spot on the Tahoe Rim Trail. Mott Canyon, August – September: Our main project for the summer is the Mott Canyon Reroute. Currently Mott Canyon road is one of the few remaining dirt road sections included in the Tahoe Rim Trail. For hikers, bikers and equestrians it’s a steep, rocky and just plain unpleasant part of the trail. We are constructing new trail along the ridgeline allowing for incredible views and dramatically improving the user experience. It will also take us one step closer to our goal of removing dirt access roads from the trail so that the term ‘world class’ applies to all of the Tahoe Rim Trail’s 165 miles. Fontanillis Lake, September: We are headed into the wilderness and, more specifically, to one of my favorite lakes on the trail: Fontanillis. We’ll be doing work on the outlet and shoreline to make the trail more pleasant for users and reduce our impact on riparian areas. P.S. There will be swimming!

Make your mark on the legendary TRT! Join us in helping build and maintain the trail.

Staff News & Notes

Is America Held Together By DUCT TAPE?

Welcome Chris & Maggie!


he average American home probably has a few rolls of duct tape lying around for the random “fix anything” solution. Have you thought about taking it into the backcountry though? Duct tape’s humble origins start with a mother of two WWII soldiers writing President Roosevelt in 1943 of the need to create by Lindsey Schultz Outdoor Programs a waterproof, cloth tape to improve Director the seal on boxes of ammunition sent overseas to battle fields. At the time, little did anyone know duct tape’s versatility. Manufacturing continued to grow after the war, as did the number of inventive ways duct tape was used to solve problems encountered in everything from spaceflight to fashion trends. Today, duct tape is a common tool found in TRTA Guide’s and Crew Leader’s packs when out in the field. You can purchase lightweight, mini-rolls or make your own mini-roll using a hollowed Bic pen or your water bottle. Below are my top 10 reasons to carry duct tape in the backcountry:

1. Mend the sole of a boot 2. Seal a tent rip or failed tent zipper 3. Repair a leaky water jug or hydration bladder 4. Splint a broken trekking pole 5. Patch a ripped down jacket or sleeping bag 6. Reseal opened food containers 7. Repair glasses 8. Make a belt (for the longer, food deprived trips) 9. Medical support i.e. sling, bandage, splint, or blister care 10. Fashion a rope If your love of duct tape goes beyond this article, every year on Father’s Day you can visit Avon, Ohio, The Duct Tape Capital of the World, to celebrate three days of all things duct tape complete with a duct tape parade!

The Tahoe Rim Trail Association is thrilled to welcome Chris Binder and Maggie Brandenburg to our team! Chris Binder is our new Director of Trail Operations and comes to us most recently from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy in North Carolina. As the Director of Trail Operations, Chris will be putting his background of volunteer engagement to good use overseeing TRTA trail building and maintenance projects. Hailing originally from the Midwest, Maggie Brandenburg joins the team as our new Outdoor & Youth Programs Manager. As the Outdoor & Youth Programs Manager, Maggie will be leading youth boldly into the wild on Youth Backcountry Camp outings and coordinating TRTA backcountry skill courses.

Our New Look!

Notice anything different? Minor changes were made to the TRTA logo based on a marketing and branding update completed this spring. The changes are aimed at ensuring not only is the TRTA shield recognizable but that it recognizes that the Association as the driving force behind stewardship of the trail. More changes will be rolling out over the summer to our print and electronic media to help update our look!

35th Annual Celebration Save the Date!

It’s party time! Join us on Tuesday, October 11 from 5pm-8pm at Thunder Canyon Country Club in Washoe Valley for our 35th Annual Celebration! You won’t want to miss out on a night of FUN celebrating our memories and accomplishments from the year. The night will include a hosted cocktail hour and yummy food, a silent auction, and a special celebration of the 15th anniversary of the 165 mile loop being completed in 2001. Tickets for this event are $50 per person. Registration will go live this summer!

Fundraising & Education

2016 Tahoe Rim Trail Challenge

The buzz of the Tahoe Rim Trail Challenge is in the air! Now in its fourth year, this year’s challenge is taking you to new heights as you set out on an adventure you won’t forget! Being a Trail Challenger also means becoming a steward of our public lands! This year, the program will includes, family-friendly Leave No Trace activities which teach the seven outdoor ethic principles about stewarding and protecting the outdoors. What are you waiting for? Become a Trail Challenger! Visit to enroll today!

Member Memories Every time I meet one of you, our members, at a community event or speak to you over the phone, I am blown away by the passion you have for this beloved trail. It’s wonderful hearing how the trail has made a difference in your life and why you support not only the trail, by Shannon Skarritt Sustainable Funding but also the Tahoe Rim Trail Director Association. Your stories and enthusiasm inspires me to keep connecting with more supporters in order to build a vibrant community of outdoor enthusiasts who give back to trails. The next time I see you, be sure to tell me your story of what the trail means to you!

Office Heroes

The Tahoe Rim Trail Challenge is a family-friendly event for experienced and novice users alike!

Become A Member! The enduring support of our 2,300 members is essential to all that we do at the Tahoe Rim Trail Association. We could not offer the exceptional trail experiences, volunteer programs or the TRT’s outstanding trail system, without YOU! As a thank you, we’re pleased to offer member perks and benefits aimed at keeping you engaged and connected with our TRTA network! Check out your benefits:

• The satisfaction of supporting the TRTA and helping us • • • • • •

accomplish our mission! A subscription to our bi-annual Trail Blazer newsletters. 10% discount on all TRTA merchandise. Member discounts on trainings and courses. Invitation to our fall Annual Celebration. Invitation to special member-only hikes and events. CALSTAR Backcountry Emergency Evacuation Insurance discounted group rate of $35 through the TRTA.

Not a member? Join today at

The TRTA would like to recognize our weekly office volunteers. These folks do everything from keeping the TRTA fleet of vehicles in top shape, adding endless hours into our database, membership mailings, filing, gear cleaning, it never ends. Thank you for brightening our days each week and for all you do!

2016 Major Grant Funding • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

American Quarter Horse Association California Alpine Club Foundation California Gang Task Force E.L. Cord Foundation El Dorado County Resource Advisory Committee Jack Van Sickle Family Foundation N. Eccles & H. Hayward Family Foundation National Forest Foundation Nevada Recreational Trails Program NV Energy Foundation Pacific Crest Trail Association Recreational Equipment Inc. SLT Endowment – El Dorado Community Foundation Tahoe League for Charities Tahoe Mountain Resorts Foundation Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation Vail Resorts Echo Promise

TAHOE UNPLUGGED Getting Teens Outside with Youth Backcountry Camps


id you know that in the U.S., the average teenager spends nine hours a day consuming media? That doesn’t include the media they use for school or homework. From television and video games to tablets and smart phones, teens today are spending more time in front of screens than they are with their families, at school, or even sleeping! Fortunately, recent research reveals that when kids learn and explore outdoors, it can address their “screen addiction” and increase not only their cognitive and problem-solving abilities, but also their nutrition, eyesight, social relationships, and self-discipline. With all these reasons for youth to get outdoors, the TRTA is excited to be expanding the Youth Backcountry Camp (YBCC) program this summer by embarking on six backcountry trips. After seeing the positive impact on past youth participants, the TRTA has dedicated funding to be able to offer three of these adventures at no cost to regional community groups including the Boys & Girls Club of Lake Tahoe, SOS Outreach, and Presidio Community YMCA. In addition, the TRTA is eager to offer two open-enrollment 3-day, 2-night Youth Backcountry Camps to engage youth ages 12-17 this summer in the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains. Lead by talented TRTA and Tahoe Institute for Natural Science (TINS) field staff, participants will learn many skills and concepts such as teamwork and leadership skills, Leave No Trace ethics, trail stewardship, basic backpacking and navigation, and explore the natural history of the Lake Tahoe Basin. The TRTA will provide all gear, food, permits and transportation to and from the trailhead. If you would like to see more youth get outdoors, you can donate to the YBCC Program, and know that your contribution will help connect a young person to nature.


TRAIL BLAZER | Summer 2016 | Tahoe Rim Trail Association

Encourage the youth in your life to unplug by signing them up for a summer adventure on the Tahoe Rim Trail. 2016 camp dates are: YBCC Tahoe Unplugged (3-day) June 19th – 21st, ages 12-14, $295 YBCC Tahoe Unplugged (3-day) July 31st – August 2nd, ages 14-17, $295 Registration and additional information is available on our website!

2016 Outdoor Programs

BACKPACKING 101 For those that are new to backpacking, don’t want to camp alone, or are looking for a little guidance, Backpacking 101 is the perfect outing for you. Backpacking 101 will teach you the basics of trip planning, risk management, and dressing for success in the backcountry. This two-day introductory course will take place August 20th and 21st with an overnight at Showers Lake. Additional information and registration is available on the TRTA website.

GUIDED HIKES You are cordially invited to enjoy the wonders of the Tahoe Rim Trail through the TRTA’s educational guided hikes. With the start of the summer upon us, Tahoe’s forests, wildflowers and vistas are beginning to beckon. June 25th Alpenglow Mtn. Festival Wildflower Walk July 9th Wildflowers, Views, and Falls with TINS Aug. 19th Shadows of a Full Moon Hike Fall schedule to come! Check out the TRTA website for more info.

SEGMENT AND THRU HIKES The Tahoe Rim Trail Association’s extremely popular Thru and Segment Hike program which guide participants around the entire trail in either day long segment hikes or a 15 day journey will once again circumnavigate the trail in 2016! These programs filled in mere minutes when registration opened in January. Make your feet your friend and contact Lindsey to be put on the 2017 interest list to get the insider information for either program at (775) 298-4491 or

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Trail Blazer

The Official Publication of the Tahoe Rim Trail Association

Thank you to the following business and corporate members. Not a business supporter, but would like to become one? Contact Shannon Skarritt, Sustainable Funding Director at 775-298-4490 or to learn more.

Freel Peak

Mt. Tallac



Mt. Baldy $2,400-$1,000 mt. watson members - $999-$500 Microsoft - Barton Health - Lithia Reno Subaru - Southwest Gas Carson Tahoe Health - Olympic Bike Shop - Martis Camp Club - Harrah’s NNV castle rock members & trailside inn members - $250 Wanna Ride Trail Shuttle - Ursack - M Levy and Company - Lake Tahoe Pizza Company - Red Oak Realty - Sorensen’s Resort In-kind & Media supporters - $500+ YESCO Outdoor Media - North American Embroidery - Moonshine Ink - Feline Design

2016 Summer Trail Blazer  

View the latest trail happenings from the Tahoe Rim Trail Association!

2016 Summer Trail Blazer  

View the latest trail happenings from the Tahoe Rim Trail Association!