Volunteers head out to work on trails in in Larson Meadows near Lake Cachuma.

Volunteers head out to work on trails in in Larson Meadows near Lake Cachuma. (Courtesy photo)

Camp Rancho Alegre near Cachuma Lake is rising from the ashes after the devastating 2017 Whittier Fire.

Twenty-five student athletes from the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA), South Coast Composite Mountain Bike Team, volunteered to help build multi-use trails in Larson Meadows at Camp Rancho Alegre. They worked from 9 a.m.-noon April 18, grooming trails with rakes, hoes and shovels.

After a brief welcoming, the youth rode to the top of Tower Ridge to get instructions on trail building. The downhill mountain bikers were supervised by Dillin Osleger, executive director of Sage Trail Alliance, which builds local bike trails throughout California and is contracted to build a trail system a Camp Rancho Alegre.

Parents and coaches worked side-by-side grooming about a mile of trail. The young cyclists gained a variety of skills, as well as knowledge of such things as water flow, erosion, vegetation, and trail design.

“As much as I love our work in creating trails in beautiful places, there is nothing quite like seeing the pride and ownership that volunteers local to the area take in their work,” said Dillon. “I am confident that folks will find immediate joy in these trails at Camp Rancho Alegre. They will find a lifetime of appreciation for the outdoors through their time here.”

“The kids had a blast; they loved riding a trail they just built, and we coaches were thrilled to have the opportunity to share the value of trail stewardship with our team,” added Bill Sargent, director of South Coast Composite team.

Funding for the estimated six miles of trails has been provided by TREK Bicycle Corporation, whose mission is to “change the world by getting more people on bikes.”

The downhill mountain bikers rode the trails throughout the afternoon. Several trails drop into Larson Meadows and join the beginner’s trail below. “The trails are awesome,” a youth biker said. Cyclists then ascended the fire roads back to Tower Ridge where the fun started again.

“Thank you for allowing John to participate yesterday,” said one parent. “He really enjoyed himself and was thoroughly tired from the weekend, perfect. Please keep my contact for any future workdays. He’ll be there.”

“We look forward to introducing mountain biking to the Outdoor School students, as well as Boy Scout boys and girls. There are endless possibilities when one thinks about biking and camping in Larson Meadows,” said Glen Goddard, Rancho Alegre camp director.

The mountain biking programs at BSA Marian Council camp Tamarancho, https://www.boyscouts-marin.org/tamarancho-mtn-biking/4023, will be used as a model for Camp Rancho Alegre.

“Rancho Alegre has committed to building new multipurpose trails as part of its overall reconstruction. Plans are underway to launch a new program to introduce youth to off-road bike riding and skills,” said Bob Maloy, LPC’s bike and trail visionary.

“In addition, the Los Padres Council of the BSA intends to allow the public limited access to these trails through a permit program during specific times and seasons for a fee. These new trails will link to existing trails from the Pacific Coast to Lake Cachuma and and beyond,” he said.