Carson City hiking now made easier | NevadaAppeal.com

Carson City hiking now made easier

Terri Harber
Appeal Staff Writer
Kevin Clifford/Nevada Appeal Bill Blythe, trails equipment manager for Beneficial Designs, helps Jeremy Vlcan, trails project assistant, finalize a trail overview map near the Mexican Ditch Trail (North) in Carson City Friday. TOP: Vlcan checks the level on a trail overview map.
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People who have difficulty getting place to place now have help deciding whether they want to trek Carson City’s east-side trail system.

Signs now up in three locations – Riverview Park, Mexican Ditch and the Moffat open space area – provide highly detailed information about conditions, such as grade, slope, surface and width of the trails.

“The intent is to allow more use of trails by people who are mobility- challenged,” said Vern Krahn, the city’s parks planner.

Anyone who’s interested in traveling the trails can use the information to determine whether they want to go forward and how to proceed, however. Someone with a heart problem might want to skip a stretch with a significant grade, or a long-distance walker might use the information to decide which direction to take and how many times to take it, Krahn said.

“Most people associate hiking Riverview or Mexican Ditch trails only for people who want to hike miles and miles, but this isn’t the case,” he said.

The nearly five miles of trails interconnect and portions loop around. Some trails have steep extremely steep or narrow sections.

Beneficial Designs Inc. measured trails across Northern Nevada for access, maintenance and did a complete inventory about the characteristics of 17.2 miles of trails to provide information about them all. This Minden-based business focuses on the recreational needs of people who have mobility issues.

Owner Peter Axelson was presented with an award for these efforts in June 2005 for outstanding use of federal funds for recreational trails.

“The whole idea is to give people information so people can make their own determinations,” Axelson said.

He sustained a spinal-cord injury in his late teens while rock climbing and has been in a wheelchair since. He still enjoys skiing, hiking and a variety of other outdoor activities – with the help of devices his company creates.

Axelson can travel many of these paths using a special wheelchair that is lower to the ground and outfitted with mountain bike-type tires, he said.

Cost for building the 2-by-3-foot signs was $3,500. The city paid for the signs, which are separate from Beneficial’s assessment work that included Carson City, he said.

The United States doesn’t have wide-ranging rules for people with disabilities to access trails, but Axelson has been involved with this effort by working with the U.S. Forest Service to establish trails guidelines.

• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber@nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111, ext. 215.