Linear Park gets interpretive signs

Brian CorleyJoe McCarthy, left, and Rick Schock put together one of the five U.S. Forestry Service signs as Forest Ranger Steve Hale looks on.

Brian CorleyJoe McCarthy, left, and Rick Schock put together one of the five U.S. Forestry Service signs as Forest Ranger Steve Hale looks on.

A small crowd gathered in the icy cool near Fremont Elementary School on Saturday morning to dedicate five informative signs along the city's new paved linear trail.

Faces in the crowd included Joe McCarthy, the city's new economic development manager, city supervisors John Plank and Pete Livermore, City Manager John Berkich, U.S. Forest Service representatives Steve Hale and Tom Baker, trail consultants Anne Macquarie and Rich Shock, and the Boy Scouts of Troop 341.

"There really were no speed bumps to this project," said McCarthy, administrator for the project. "The only speed bump was hoping that it wouldn't snow this morning."

The one-mile trail, hailed by many at Saturday's dedication as a collaborative effort, runs along the stream by Fremont Elementary School and over to the north side of Governor's Field.

Anne Macquarie of Lumos and Associates civil engineers was in charge of researching the area to come up with the wording for the signs while Carol Foldvary-Anderson, Brewery Arts Center instructor, created the artwork.

The signs give insight to the mining history, plant and wildlife, climate and native people of the area.

"We cobbled all those things together and came up with these five signs," McCarthy said.

Funding for the signs came from a $20,000 grant by the Forest Service.

"It's really a great project," said Tom Baker, Rural and Legislative Liaison for the Forest Service. "It's great to be able to put up the funds to make something like this happen."

McCarthy said the interpretive trail -- which took two years from start to finish -- was rare in that it isn't out in a wilderness or rural area.

"The Forest Service was really gracious to let us think outside the lines and put this trail in an urban space," he said.

McCarthy said the groups involved in the project all wanted to create something that could be used by the most people possible, from seniors to children.

"We wanted to make sure we weren't just applying for the money -- but that we had a real unique little project for them to consider," he said.

Judging by the crowd's response Saturday morning, the project is a success.

"It's a real community-based effort is what it is," said John Walker, Web master for the the arts center.

He'll be putting together a digital tour of the trail on the Brewery's Web site at -- though it won't be done for a while.

"I still have to take all the pictures, then scan them in," he said.

The Boy Scouts did the manual labor of putting the signs up. They were careful to tape newspaper over the shaft of the signs to protect them from cement splatter.

"These things are always fun," joked Life-ranked Boy Scout Nick Brothers between shovel loads.

The city has spent about $500,000 improving the linear park. The trail ends near the freeway right-of-way east of Saliman Road, and will eventually run north to Fifth Street and then under the freeway.


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