Auburn’s Mile 0 getting new Western States Trail prominence
Tucked away on an Auburn side street, it’s called Mile 0.
It’s the final hoof-print for Tevis Cup riders and – through the work of the Western States Trail Foundation and several government agencies – is now positioned for a higher profile among riders, runners and hikers.
Located off Pacific Avenue, the Mile 0 staging area operations, improvements and maintenance are now being undertaken by the non-profit trail foundation under an agreement worked out this month with State Parks and property owner the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
With a concessionaire agreement much like ones used by non-profits to operate the Lake Clementine boat docking facilities and the Cool rock-climbing area in the Auburn State Recreation Area, the foundation is moving ahead with several plans to attract more riders and give Mile 0 a more prominent role.
“We have a great vision for this property,” said Tom Christofk, a former Western States Trail Foundation president and part of the committee working over six years to secure the contract. “And we wanted to increase public access to the trail.”
One of the first changes put in place is a rollback on the $10 park use fee recently instituted by State Parks at the staging area. The foundation has set up a donation box asking for $5 day use.
Trail foundation leaders joined government officials at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday afternoon at the 1.9-acre site, adjacent to the Overlook Park.
The foundation spent $30,000 on surveys, an environmental study, archaeological study, engineering, permits and construction of a new driveway entrance to a parcel adjacent to the staging area that will expand riders’ abilities to park overnight and use Mile 0 as a point to set out on rides along the Western States Trail from Auburn.
Christofk said that final agreements should soon be in place to allow that part of the property to start being used by spring. Up to 40 trailers and vehicles have been on the site during the Tevis Cup ride over the past two years. Christofk said that the plan is for six to eight rigs on the property at one time.
Mike Lynch, sector superintendent for the Auburn State Recreation Area, said that the new partnership is the latest in a series of cooperative ventures State Parks has participated in with the trail foundation.
“The concession agreement extends this cooperation even further,” Lynch said. “A public-private partnership like this one is of benefit to the maintenance and protection of the Auburn State Recreation Area and directly helps the operation of the Auburn staging area.”
The foundation isn’t intending to stop efforts now it has an agreement in place. Christofk outlined future plans that include an archway at the top of the Western States Trail to mark its importance and a new information kiosk.