Dave Maxwell
One of the newly completed mountain bike trails at the Barnes Canyon trailhead.

Construction of the mountain bike trails around the City of Caliente continues.

BLM Ely District Caliente Field Manager Chris Carlton and Andrew Porter of Kershaw-Ryan State Park told County Commissioners that the American Conservation Experience crews have returned to work on building and constructing the mountain bike trails on BLM managed land. Work started last spring, he noted, with one of the trails almost completed, but work had to be halted in the summer, as the ground was too dry to build trails.

Since the crews have been working lately and utilizing some local workers as well, Carlton said a second trail has been completed, “and we now have a total of about 4.4 miles of trails already built and rideable.”

All of the trails are expected to be completed by the spring of 2019.

“I have ridden some of these myself,” he said, “and they did a really good job.”

At present, the trailhead is in the Barnes Canyon area. Jon Prescott, of the BLM, said the trails there were supposed to be for beginner mountain bikers, but are a bit more involved than that, more like for intermediate riders. However, he did not want to discourage any riders from using them, and said: “a beginning mountain biker could still enjoy quite a bit of what is rideable now.”

Carlton said BLM has to fund for about half of the 40 miles of trail that have been analyzed and mapped out around Caliente. “And we have to fund for up to an additional 37 miles that will be tacked onto that. Also, we are conducting environmental analysis for about 65 miles more. That will include areas around Highland, Tunnel Springs, the Clover Mountain Wilderness area, and tie into the Silver State Trail of the OHV system, and potentially even at Panaca Summit and back towards town.”

He said more public meetings will be held on all of this, but no dates have been selected.

Porter said there are 20 miles of proposed trails on the 1,700 acres of the Kershaw-Ryan park. He said he is currently looking to get three or four grants to get all the trails built.

“We have to fund for Phase I and II. Phase I has about four and a half miles of trail. It will be a difficult build,” he said, “involving a lot of hand work and rock work. Phase II is about eight miles in length, upon the mesa. “This will be more of a beginner trail,” Porter said he plans to apply for funding for Phase III later this month.

He also said work on Phase I is being delayed while they seek a qualified contractor that also has a Nevada contractor’s license, which is required by the Nevada State Parks. “Most of those who are qualified are working up north, and we haven’t been able to get arrangements worked out yet. I was hopeful of getting something on the ground this fall, but it’s looking more likely toward spring instead.”

Holly Gatzke, representing the Lincoln County Authority on Tourism, formerly named Lincoln Communities Action Team, said she was very pleased with the level of cooperation and communication exhibited by each of the groups involved in creating the mountain bike trails.

“Yes, everyone is working on their own aspect of it, but we do get together once in awhile to make sure we are all on the same page, that it’s meshing together, that it’s working and things are happening. That’s what really has been effective, that everyone is talking all along to make sure a package is being created that works well for the community and for the tourists and bikers that will be coming.”