An effort to connect Lake Tahoe and Pyramid Lake with a 116-mile trail for bicyclists is getting closer to completion. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports that the Tahoe-Pyramid Bikeway recently opened its newest section in California along the Truckee River.
With a new section of bikeway now open in Nevada County, California, the project is seventy-five percent complete. It's a combination of paved roads, existing dirt trails, and sections of new trails, with funding coming from both federal programs and private donations.
Janet Phillips has spearheaded the project for the last decade. Back in 2003, she dreamed up the idea of creating a massive bikeway after working in water resources management. During her career, she spent a lot of time in the field and realized she was privy to a unique view of the region's natural beauty.
"I felt that it was really too bad that there was no way to see the Truckee River at less than seventy miles an hour on the freeway," she says, "so it seemed like a really great vision to create a trail along the river."
Phillips says the bikeway has been formed in a piecemeal fashion because it winds through five counties in Nevada and California, so there are many parties involved in this process.
"Because it is multi-jurisdictional, nobody had the authority to implement this vision across all those boundaries," Phillips explains, "so we started a nonprofit group to implement it, working with all the government agencies along the way."
Gaps in the bikeway still remain and along with additional funding, finishing the project would also require permission from some of the private land owners along the designated route. The Environmental Protection Agency recently named the bikeway as one of eight winners in the Western US for its "environmental champion" award.