Carson Valley Trails Association builds Sierra Canyon trail bridge

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Four Carson Valley Trails Association members built an 18-foot-long trail bridge in five days in November on the 16-mile Sierra Canyon/ Genoa Loop Trail near Genoa, Nevada, on the Carson Ranger District of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. This non-motorized bridge accommodates hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians and replaces an old twisted and uneven log that was placed across the creek many years ago. The crossing was once a logging road established in the 1800s.

“The new bridge provides a safe, dry crossing, especially during high flows,” explained Dan Morris, Recreation Staff Officer on the Carson Ranger District. “We know that our visitors will appreciate this new design – it eliminates the former steep grades into the drainage and allows bikers to continue riding across without dismounting,” said Morris. The former log was often under water during runoff periods

The association funded the project’s environmental report and the bridge design and approval; construction of the machine-built portions of trail system, including the bridge and other trail amenities, were also paid mostly by the Carson Valley Trails Association through a reimbursable grant from Nevada’s Question One Program.

“The volunteers had their hands literally full on this project,” said Morris. “All the material, including a total of 79 bags of 60-pound concrete, were used for the two concrete abutment slabs, and had to be hauled about ½ mile from the start of the Sierra Canyon Trail,” said Morris. The bridge, retaining walls and hardware weighs almost three tons.

In addition to all of the intensive hauling, the volunteers excavated the abutments, built and installed the wooden form boards and rebar cages, and poured the concrete. It required a half day to remove the form boards, one day to haul all the bridge lumber and hardware up to the project site, one day to put together the actual bridge, and two days to install the timber retaining walls and approach mats.

A recycled PVC matting was placed on both approaches to the bridge to help retain soil within the approaches and maintain a smooth transition on and off the bridge. The five-foot wide glued-laminated longitudinal slab with curbs sits atop two concrete slab abutments and has timber retaining walls along both approaches. It was fabricated by Western Wood Structures, Inc. in Oregon.

Forest Service staff performed the survey work and bridge design, and provided key assistance in fine tuning the exact location of the concrete abutment slabs and anchors. Learn more about this release by contacting Dan Morris at 775-884-8150; view Carson Valley Trails Association website at: www.carsonvalleytrails.org.

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