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The Silverado Trail Rehabilitation

Story by Chris Vargas
Pictures by Mike Boeck, Debra Clark, Ned Reynolds and Chris Vargas

What we thought was going to be a 6-hour trail work day turned out to be a 3 1/2 hour trail work day thanks to the 62 volunteers who showed up and worked their rear-ends off repairing the trail.

Volunteers included members of the Warrior's Society, SHARE, Socal Trail Riders (STR), the Sierra Club and residents of Silverado and Modjeska Canyons. The youngest volunteer was 10-year old Troy Sladeck, who also holds the record as the youngest finisher of the 40-mile Counting Coup.

The trail was damaged during the recent fires by heavy equipment widening it for about 3/4 of mile from the bottom of the trail so it could be used as a fire break. From the 3/4 mile point the fire break ran straight up the ridge to the top cutting across the trail at many points.

The planning began on the Friday before the work with Forest Service Trails Manager Debra Clark, Silverado resident Mike Boeck and Warrior's Society members Tim Panttaja and Chris Vargas hiking the whole trail to the top to determine the damage. Luckily, most of the damage was at the bottom of the trail, but we were amazed at what looked like "bomb craters" at the top of the trail near the Main Divide Road where the fire break was cut wide across the ridge. In this wide fire-break area the Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team had used a big tractor mounted back hoe to dig pits all over to prevent off-road vehicle access once the area is re-opened.

As I previously mentioned, we had so many volunteers working that we were able to finish the work in 3 1/2 hours. We all had a great time afterward (at lunch provided free to the volunteers) discussing how great the event turned out and how much work we had accomplished; we were all amazed at what can be accomplished by passionate volunteers.

For additional pictures go to the Socal Trail Riders message board.

Thanks to Wilderness Trails Manager Debra Clark for helping to organize the trail work. Debra has poured her heart into making the Trabuco District a great place for the public to recreate in. Thanks also to trail bosses Ken Rands, Denny Bean, Jim Simescu, Ned Reynolds and Tim Panttaja for helping to organize and lead the trail work and to all our volunteers whose passion was evident in the work they completed.

- Chris

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