It’s easy to find details about Nevada City’s many publicly-accessible trails with a quick search on the internet.
But the Miners Trail, which opened in 1992 and follows Deer Creek beside the Highway 20/49 off-ramp that leads into downtown Nevada City, is conspicuously missing from most local trail guides.
The trail has become increasingly popular among people looking for a discreet place to drink alcohol, loiter, and camp illegally near downtown Nevada City. The evidence lies in plain sight: littered bottles, cans and trash is consistently found along the trail, according to a presentation at Wednesday’s city council meeting.
“It’s a complex issue,” said Council Member Reinette Senum. “There’s homeless, there’s a variety of people. It’s a party place, and it’s where young people go to hang out and do things they’d get in trouble for otherwise.”
A group of volunteers, including representatives from the Nevada City Rotary Club, that helps maintain the Miners Trail, told City Manager Mark Prestwich in early 2017 that the area was rife with problems, including fire risks, environmental hazards and public safety concerns, according to a staff report.
The California Department of Transportation, which also maintains portions of the trail, reported recurring expenses associated with fence repair, litter and associated impacts, the report states.
In response, Prestwich, along with volunteer Jim Morris, initiated a “Miners Trail Task Force” to assess the issues and consider possible solutions. The task force included volunteers and representatives from the Nevada City Police Department, public works, city engineering, Caltrans, California Highway Patrol and the…
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