Spring has sprung at the Nisenan Cultural Reclamation Corridor (NCRC) in Nevada City and exciting planning is underway for the new segment of the Deer Creek Tribute Trail (DCTT)! With funding from the California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA), local non-profit The Sierra Fund (TSF) has been working in coordination with the owner of the NCRC, California Heritage: Indigenous Research Project (CHIRP), and the trail easement holder, Bear Yuba Land Trust (BYLT), to develop a trail design that is responsive to both the landscape and the cultural priorities of the Nisenan people. The NCRC property was acquired by CHIRP in 2018 via a CNRA grant awarded to TSF. In 2019 TSF was awarded the current CNRA grant, which is funding activities including the development of a culturally informed land management plan and construction of a new trail segment, complete with fencing and fuels reduction.

Over the last couple of months, staff of BYLT have been out at the NCRC site flagging potential trail routes to vet with CHIRP and the Nevada City Rancheria Nisenan. After incorporating feedback from CHIRP’s Executive Director, who walked the entire proposed segment, BYLT is working to finalize the design. The proposed route will be provided to the Nevada County Planning Department in the next few weeks to secure the needed permits to get this work off and running on-the-ground. TSF is in the process of drafting culturally-informed mitigation measures that will be applied to all activities at the site in addition to the mitigation measures required under CEQA. Cultural considerations are foundational to all stages of the trail construction – from trail design, to building, to the interpretive signs that will be installed when the trail is completed sometime next year.

Plans for fuels reduction activities focused along the trail corridor are also underway and TSF has a site walk with the trail builders scheduled for early May. As with the other aspects of this project, fuels reduction around the new trail segment is being planned under the direction of CHIRP, with Nisenan traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) defining approach and priorities.

It is anticipated that the planning aspects of this project will wrap up at the end of June, with work on the land to launch shortly thereafter. The new trail segment, complete with fencing to delineate the boundary between public access and private land at the NCRC, should be finished by next spring. Residents and visitors to the Champion Mine Road area and Deer Creek Tribute Trail are encouraged to keep an eye out as crews work to reduce fire risk in the canyon and add new length to the beloved trail system. Please continue to respect that the land is the private property of CHIRP and that the public should stay off the new addition to the DCTT until its completion is publicized. Feel free to reach out to The Sierra Fund with any questions you may have. Happy Trails!

To learn more about The Sierra Fund’s work and this project visit their website at https://sierrafund.org/nisenan-cultural-reclamation-corridor/