[The trail association] and these volunteers make all the difference in getting these trails in place.”
Years before the Arnold Rim Trail was conceived, an 8,000-acre area known as the urban interface forest had become a zone of contention between homeowners, recreationists and a growing contingent of off-road motorized vehicle enthusiasts, some of whom had created a spider web of trails running willy-nilly over the varied terrain. Clashes between motorized users and homeowners were increasing. Human impact was taking a toll on the land, particularly in sensitive riparian areas.
After the U.S. Forest Service issued environmental impact statement alternatives that were rejected by nearly everyone, the agency ended up supporting a separation of motorized and non-motorized travel—a landmark community agreement. The final decision called for providing high-quality motorized trails in areas furthest from residential neighborhoods and developing trails for non-motorized use in the portion nearest homes. The Arnold Rim Trail became a galvanizing concept for non-motorized trail development and in 2004 was officially documented in an agency record of decision.
At the inception of the Arnold Rim Trail, the Arnold Rim Trail Association and the Forest Service Calaveras District gathered input from local residents and homeowners about their concerns. Association Steering group members worked side by side with local political leaders, young people and retirees all helping realize the dream—one mile at a time, while at the same time carefully addressing community concerns about increased trail use and how that might affect the citizens of Arnold.
The original Chairperson of the Arnold Rim Trail Association Randy Crutcher shared these thoughts as the trail was being conceived, “In my time on the trail, I’ve reflected on how special this area is. I’ve watched a doe deep in the cover of Pacific dogwood emerge with a spotted fawn. I’ve seen the red feathers of woodpeckers glinting in the sunlight as they mark territory on ponderosa and sugar pine, white fir or incense cedar. I’ve stood, transfixed, at the top of San Antonio Falls, mentally grappling with how these sheer walls of stone rising hundreds of feet came to cradle the white horsetail cascading down a hundred feet or more. When I stand at a place called Top of the World, I can fully comprehend why someone gave it that name. Scanning the horizon, I see Mount Diablo to the west, beyond the great Central Valley, and the high country of the Carson-Iceberg and Emigrant Wildernesses, their snowy peaks trailing away to the Yosemite borderland.”
This is a quote from a longer article written by Randy Crutcher.
Article by Randy Crutcher
This article appeared in OutThere Magazine