The Ukiah Valley Trail Group (UVTG) in Mendocino County, California builds bridges – of both the literal and figurative kind. Their ultimate mission is to build a bridge between their community members and the natural beauty that surrounds them. They do this by building, improving, and maintaining trails for the community to enjoy, by advocating for access and permission to create new trails, by garnering support for trails from land managers and policy makers, and by raising funds for important projects that will improve trails, protect resources, and provide better experiences for trail users.
By serving hikers, runners, equestrians, and cyclists alike, the UVTG also bridges the gap that can sometimes exist between trail user groups. They keep the needs of all users in mind and promote the enjoyment of trails by all. By proactively engaging with folks like the Bureau of Land Management, Army Corps of Engineers, Mendocino County, and the City of Ukiah, among others, the UVTG is also bridging the distance between trail users and those who manage the land where we all want to recreate.
Last, but certainly not least, they build actual bridges. Yes, they’ve done some well-built puncheon bridges to get over little dips and wet spots. But then there’s “The Big Bridge.” Partnering with the Army Corps of Engineers and Ruzicka Associates, volunteers from UVTG helped build a professionally engineered, 60-foot, fiberglass bridge at Lake Mendocino. The bridge is a great showcase of what can be done when a dedicated group of people has the will to make it happen.
We had a great time with the folks from the Ukiah Valley Trail Group and everyone else who participated in the events of our weekend visit. It was also a pleasure working with the crew from the California Conservation Corps that attended our trail building school and put in a lot of sweat on our trail project.