A commemorative dedication marking the official opening Wednesday of the Kings Canyon/Waterfall Trailhead and trail paid tribute to wildfire fighters.
A large cadre of the collaborators who helped make the projects involved become reality attended where the paving ends for Kings Canyon Road at a morning event overlooking a hazy Carson City urban area due to a wildfire 45 miles south.
“If we didn’t have that fire going on down there,” said Mayor Robert Crowell in ceremonial opening remarks, “this would be a perfect day.” The reference to the Washington Fire near Markleeville, Calif., provided backdrop and context at an 8:30 a.m. event celebrating trail and trailhead work completed, protection of the Carson City water supply and wildfire fighters’ deaths 39 years ago not far from the trailhead site.
One of two kiosks at the site is a refurbished Fallen Firefighter Memorial honoring Kenneth Carvin, Jon Ivins and James Davidson, a trio who died in a helicopter crash during a wildfire-fighting operation. They were helping fight the 1976 King fire.
The other trailhead kiosk provides information on the trail, which was a collaborative effort by volunteers and government to help protect water by having a new trail pathway that helps avoid degradation of a creek that’s part of the city’s drinking water supply. City, state and federal agencies were involved.
Roger Moellendorf, city Parks and Recreation Department director, said the trail that leads to a waterfall in this high desert provides a unique setting and he has been told eventually is going to link with the famed Tahoe Rim Trail.
Moellendorf, overseeing the ceremony, thanked the various collaborators, brought some up for brief remarks and then had them all gather together for recognition and photographs.
He also said a Carson City quality of life survey showed trails and pathways are atop the things listed as of interest to residents. His department oversees the extensive open space bequeathed to or purchased by city government.
The mayor’s remarks, while embracing various aspects of the day’s meaning, also focused on trails. He said there’s much talk about economic development and other things that make Carson City a great place., but indicated trails trump them.
“This is where the rubber meets the road, or meets the dirt,” he said. “This is the guts of why people want to come to Carson City.”