Category Archives: Community

Truckee named one of “America’s 20 Coolest Outdoor Towns”

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Matador Network named Truckee one of their “America’s 20 Coolest Outdoor Towns.”

“THIS LIST COULD EASILY HAVE 100 PLACES. The US simply has so many canyons and rivers and slopes, so much coastline, all of it with rad little towns along the way.

“So putting together this list, we narrowed it down with a few criteria:

“1. The place should be an actual town, not just a spot or destination. In other words, you can live/work there year round, and even in the “off-season” it’s still cool.

“2. The outdoor objectives that make the place so rad must be part of the immediate surroundings. If you can’t climb / ski / paddle / surf right in town, the access should be just beyond, not an hour away.

“3. The place should have a notable culture, tradition, or local economy around the activities (and natural resources) themselves. Of special mention are places such as Salida, where actual infrastructure has been developed (manmade whitewater features) that brings cool events and awareness to the town.

“For obvious reasons, we came back with a high concentration of places out West (and in Hawaii/Alaska). May not be fair, but if you visit you’ll understand.

“All this said, finding big lines can happen anywhere. Where I grew up in the southern Piedmont (forested, gentle rolling hills kind of terrain), a trickling neighborhood ditch became a gnarly class V kayak run if you caught it right after a thunderstorm.

“The ultimate limitation is never the place but your imagination. Let us know the what kinds of lines you’re finding right in your town.

9. Truckee, CA

Perfect day

“Anything multi-sport springtime: Ski corn, downhill or cross-country mountain bike up Western States or Martis Peak and then wrap up the day with a fly-fishing session on the Little Truckee as the dry flies start popping. Maybe even a surf strike mission to SF if you can squeeze it in. Get a quick climb in up on Donner Summit at Snowshed or Blackwall…just to round it out.

Honor roll

“Beers: A cooler by the river or at the Chamoix if you can make it before the sun goes behind tram face
“Coffee: Coffee Bar on Jibboom or Wildflour in Squaw
“Eats: Tacos Jalisco, or next door at Treat Box for a burger
“Gear: The Backcountry, Tahoe Sports Hub, Start Haus does a great tune
“Music venue: Moody’s

“Special thanks: Tucker Patton.”

Read the full article, here.

(Source: Matador Network; Photo: Jeff Engerbretson/Squaw Valley)

2015 Fourth of July parade in Grass Valley names Grand Marshals

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Sandy Woods, who is retiring as CEO of the Nevada County Fairgrounds, and John Hart, a photographer for The Union newspaper in Grass Valley who is retiring after 51 years, are the Grand Marshals of the Fourth of July parade in western Nevada County, our magazine has learned.

This colorful Fourth of July parade alternates each year between Nevada City and Grass Valley. This year it’s Grass Valley’s turn.

Woods is featured in the spring issue of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine for her accomplishments at the Fairgrounds. It writes: “Much of the credit for a full year-round ‘dance card’ at the fairgrounds goes to Sandy Woods, chief executive officer of the Nevada County Fairgrounds, as well as the staff and board. Sandy’s keen business acumen, which includes 20 years at the fairgrounds, as well as a previous experience in finance, has helped the Nevada County Fairgrounds thrive at a time when other fairs are struggling.

“This winter, Woods was inducted into Western Fairs Association Hall of Fame. Woods also has been Chair of the California Fairs Alliance, which provides advocacy and resource development for California fairs.

“After serving 20 years at the fairgrounds, Woods recently announced her retirement as CEO. Recruitment for a new CEO has begun, and Woods will continue in her role until a replacement is found.”

John Hart, a Grass Valley native, began working, full-time, at The Union on June 15, 1964, according to the community newspaper. After a full 51 years on the job, Hart plans to retire on June 15, 2015, the newspaper has said.

“Hart’s history with The Union extends even beyond his half decade as a staffer. Hart got his start as a 9-year-old paper boy, delivering the Sacramento Bee for a six-month stint before taking on a route for The Union,” according to an article about him.

The parade is Saturday, July 4th at 10 a.m. and will include about 75 entries. The festive parade winds through downtown Grass Valley. Parade-goers are advised to bring lawn chairs and arrive early to find a good vantage point.

(Photo credits: John Hart: The Union newspaper; Sandy Woods: Nevada County Fairgrounds)

Colorful history blooms at Empire Mine with garden tours

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Combining history, color, and serenity, Empire Mine State Historic Park’s thirteen acres of landscaped grounds are a popular highlight, especially when the springtime gardens are in bloom. Designed in the early 1900s by famed architect Willis Polk, these magnificent estate gardens are among California’s oldest and most unusual.

“Early spring is the time the stunning Gold of Ophir roses are likely to look their best,” said Garden Tours Coordinator Jeanne Powell, “and this season, for the first time, Garden Tours will be offered on both Saturdays as well as Sundays for the public to enjoy.“ The Gold of Ophir rose graces the dramatic entrance to Empire Cottage, one of the Park’s most photographed sites. One of many heritage roses, the Gold of Ophir reflects the romance and prosperity of Empire Mine’s heydays. “We are proud of our gardens,” Powell added. “They are lovingly tended by one full-time gardener and a staff of volunteers.”

To celebrate the springtime displays, enthusiastic, knowledgeable docents will lead the Garden Tours on Saturdays in April and on both Saturdays and Sundays from May through late September. Visitors may view the formal and informal gardens, the reflecting pools or even the grassy walks. Tours vary with weather changes and what’s in bloom. Many specimens on the grounds are thought to have been gifts to the Bourn Family (Empire’s prosperous owners from 1869 to 1929) from their world-traveled friends. Benches provide plenty of places to sit, rest, and savor the surrounding beauty that transports visitors to another era.

Tours last about 45 minutes, and will feature landscape trends of the early 1900s, as well as the Arts and crafts Movement that influenced landscape design. Fascinating photographs will bring history to life. Visitors may also see the perennial gardens and permanent plantings both at Empire Cottage and the nearby Clubhouse.

There is no extra charge for these tours, and everyone’s invited – including dogs on leashes. Roses are being propagated this year by docents, and will be for sale in the Gift Shop this autumn. “Many think Empire Mine’s golden treasures are underground, but the Park has a plethora of floral treasures above the ground as well,” Powell said. Garden enthusiasts, artists and photographers are advised to bring their cameras.

Empire’s well-tended estate gardens are a fascinating contrast to the gold, grit and glory of the Mineyard below, making a day at Empire Mine State Historic Park an unusual, unforgettable trip to Nevada County’s world-famous past. The Park welcomes approximately 100,000 visitors a year, many from all over the world.

Garden Tours at Empire Mine State Historic Park will begin at 11 a.m. every Saturday in April, and every Saturday and Sunday from May to late September. The Park is located at 10791 E. Empire Street, Grass Valley, CA 95945, and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $7 for adults 17 and over, $3 for children 6 – 16, and free for children under 6. Phone (530) 273-8522 for further details or visit

(Photos: Dreamspinner Productions)

Ananda Village’s annual tulip display

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While the Crystal Hermitage upper and lower gardens are now open daily, each spring Ananda Village opens to the public for viewing of their amazing 15,000 imported Dutch tulip display during their Springtime at Ananda event. The 2015 dates this year are April 4 – 5 and 18 – 19, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

View photos of some of the gardens at our photo gallery here. For directions to Ananda Village or to purchase tickets, visit

Enjoy a video of the gardens here:

(Photos: Roseanne Burke; Video: Crystal Hermitage)

Truckee snowboarder Mike Basich’s tiny home

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“A professional snowboarder in California figured out a genius way to get closer to the slopes. Mike Basich built this tiny 225-square-foot home in the middle of his 40-acre property near Truckee, Calif. He told Laura Ling from “Going off the Grid” about how he built his new digs by hand. “It took me five years — two and half years to do all the rock work. I think I moved about 175 ton of rock.”

“Not only is the little house off the beaten path, it’s also off the grid. That means no Internet, no indoor plumbing, and no traditional electricity. Luckily for anyone wanting to take a shower or wash their hands, the property has two creeks that provide water for the home. The best part for Basich is the location. Not only can he snowboard on private trails, but the property even has its own chair lift that Basich built with the help of some friends. If you think this style of living is crazy, Basich is one of 180,000 Americans choosing to live off the grid. He says of the home, “I like to think of it as getting back to the basics of humanity. I like feeling connected to the earth more than I could with a 4,000-square-foot house.”

(Source: Yahoo!News)

Singer-songwriter Randy Newman performing in Grass Valley on June 26, 2015

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Music in the Mountains is going to present popular singer-songwriter Randy Newman on Friday, June 26 ”under the stars” at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley. It marks Newman’s first performance ever in the Sacramento region.

Newman has won three Emmys, six Grammy Awards and two Academy Awards. He has been nominated for 20 Academy Awards. Newman also has his own star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.

“An Evening with Randy Newman” is part of MIM’s SummerFest — from June 16 to July 5. “We want to take festival-goers on a sonic journey where they will not only be entertained, but will experience true musical excellence,” explains Cristine Kelly, executive director of Music in the Mountains. “Randy Newman was the perfect artist to headline this year’s festival. He is a master musician and storyteller who is known for his incredible body of work.”

With songs that run the gamut from heartbreaking to satirical and a host of unforgettable film scores, Newman has used his many talents to create musical masterpieces. Often referred to as a “musician’s musician,” many of the world’s most notable singers have covered his songs including Alan Price, Van Dyke Parks, Judy Collins, Cass Elliot, Art Garfunkel, the Everly Brothers, Dusty Springfield, Nina Simon, Wilson Pickett, Pat Boone and Peggy Lee, to name just a few.

After starting his songwriting career as a teenager, Newman launched into recording as a singer and pianist in 1968 with his self-titled album Randy Newman.

Throughout the 1970s he released several other acclaimed albums such as: 12 Songs, Sail Away, and Good Old Boys. In addition to his solo recordings and regular international touring, Newman began composing and scoring for films in the 1980s.

The list of movies he has worked on since then includes The Natural, Awakenings, Ragtime, all three Toy Story pictures, Seabiscuit, James and the Giant Peach, A Bug’s Life and Disney/Pixar’s Monsters University, the prequel to Monsters Inc.

Newman was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013.

Tickets are $55 premium; $37.50 general admission; $85 for a general admission family pass (two adults and two children); and $15 for youth under 18. The performance begins at 8 p.m.; gates open at 6:30 p.m.

Watch a Newman video here:

Tickets for MIM’s SummerFest — the region’s top classical musical festival — go on sale April 1 unless otherwise noted:

Tuesday, June 16: Young Composers I, Peace Lutheran Church, Grass Valley, show at 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, June 17: Young Composers II, Peace Lutheran Church, 7:30pm

Friday, June 19: Wet Ink featuring the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, Peace Lutheran Church, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, June 20: Messiaen, Quartet for the End of Time, Peace Lutheran Church, 2 p.m.

Wednesday, June 24: The Glory of Russian Ballet, Nevada County Fairgrounds, Amaral Center, 7:30 p.m. Tickets on sale now through season subscription only.

Friday, June 26: Randy Newman, Nevada County Fairgrounds, outdoor main stage, 8 p.m.

Saturday, June 27: Cirque de la Symphonie, Nevada County Fairgrounds, outdoor main stage, 8 p.m.

Sunday, June 28: The Mozart Requiem, Nevada County Fairgrounds, Amaral Center, 3 p.m. Tickets on sale now through season subscription only.

Wednesday, July 1: Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto, Nevada County Fairgrounds, Amaral Center, 7:30 p.m. Tickets on sale now through season subscription only.

Thursday, July 2: Conrad Tao, In Recital, Nevada County Fairgrounds, Amaral Center, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, July 3: Happy Birthday USA, Nevada County Fairgrounds, outdoor main stage, 8 p.m.

Sunday, July 5: Storm Large of Pink Martini and the Crazy Arc of Love, Nevada County Fairgrounds, outdoor main stage, 7:30 p.m.

(Source: Sierra FoodWineArt; Photo at top: Pamela Springsteen)

Officials and stakeholders gather for opening dedication of Rice’s Crossing Preserve

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Friday, May 20, 2015, local, state and national officials gathered in a quiet meadow overlooking the Middle and North Forks of the Yuba River during a dedication ceremony of Bear Yuba Land Trust’s (BYLT) 2,707-acre Rice’s Crossing Preserve.

“This is one of those remarkable projects. This is special,” said Northern California Director of Trust for Public Land Dave Sutton. “It is people, it is individuals, who make this work happen.”

Sutton was joined by Program Manager for Trust for Public Land Markley Bavinger who worked tirelessly for many years with many stakeholders to secure the deal.

The $3.25 million acquisition was funded by Proposition 84 funds through the California Natural Resources Agency’s River Parkways Program ($1.9 million) and Sierra Nevada Conservancy ($1 million) in addition to funding from the CalTrans Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Program ($350,000).

BYLT acquired Rice’s Crossing Preserve in June of 2014, the largest landholding in the Land Trust’s 25 year history. A community success story, the preserve helped BYLT to grow its conservation footprint from 6,000 to 9,000 acres. BYLT’s stewardship team will monitor the property ensuring that habitat for threatened and endangered species will be protected and restored. BYLT will work closely with South Yuba River Citizens League to develop a monitoring plan for this section of the river.

“It’s all based on the Yuba River, the life of the community… The river has always been and continues to be a way that brings us all together,” said Projects Manager for Yuba County Water Agency Geoff Rabone.

Rice’s Crossing links over 8,500 acres of public open space and will provide unprecedented access to the river in the form of hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and fishing.

Nevada County District 4 Supervisor Hank Weston sees Rice’s Crossing as a key recreation landholding that will drive tourism and help the local economy.

“This will last for generations. This will be the trail system, the connection system, the economy booster,” said Weston, who someday sees himself walking from Bullards Bar to the new covered bridge at Bridgeport.

The acquisition of Rice’s Crossing was initiated in 2007 by a group of conservationists including Shawn Garvey and Janet Cohen who, in partnership with The Trust for Public Land, applied for initial funding. The Trust for Public Land played a critical role supporting the project, partnering with BYLT in 2011, and providing the expertise to complete the acquisition. The Sierra Fund has also remained a key project supporter and fiscal agent from beginning to end.

Other speakers on Friday included: Polly Escovedo from California Natural Resources Agency; Bob Kingman from Sierra Nevada Conservancy, Izzy Martin from The Sierra Fund, South Yuba River Citizens League’s Board President Barbara Getz and Bear Yuba Land Trust Executive Director Marty Coleman-Hunt and BYLT Board President Andy Cassano.
A preliminary management plan for Rice’s Crossing Preserve has been created and Bear Yuba Land Trust is just beginning to seek community input on the project.

“What does the community want us to build and where?” asked Executive Director Marty Coleman-Hunt.

After an overview of the property and recognition of key players in the project, participants walked the still rough first 2.5 mile section of the new Yuba Rim Trail. Led by BYLT’s trails team and built with the help of 17 committed volunteers who worked 187 hours since January, the new trail winds through the shelter of a mixed conifer forest before opening up to views of the Yuba River canyon. A grand opening of the trail for the general public will be held during BYLT’s annual event, Walk on the Wild Side on April 18.

Learn more at

(Source: Laura Peterson, Bear Yuba Land Trust)

Expert team will joint Bear Yuba Land Trust to teach sustainable trail building

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International Mountain Bicycling Association’s (IMBA) Subaru / IMBA Trail Care Crew is coming to Grass Valley and teaming up with Bear Yuba Land Trust to teach people proper trail building technique during a free two day training session in April.

The visit, scheduled for Friday, April 3 and Saturday, April 4, is one of about 40 stops on the 2015 schedule open to anyone interested in trail building.

The award-winning Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew program includes two full-time professional teams of trail experts who travel North America year-round, leading IMBA Trail building Schools, meeting with government officials and land managers and working with IMBA-affiliated groups to improve local mountain biking opportunities. IMBA’s crews have led more than 1,000 trail projects since the program debuted in 1997.

The event will kick off with an evening presentation, “Better Living Through Trails” held at 5 p.m. Friday, April 3 at the historic North Star House, 12075 Auburn Road in Grass Valley.

The presentation will explore the positive relationships between communities and their trail systems. As community assets, trails can improve quality of life and attract significant tourism dollars. Participants will learn how to effectively market quality trails and turn them into visitor destinations.

Key topics of the discussion will include: Case studies; the economic, health and wellness benefits trails bring to an area; the value of single track trails; economics of single track trails; and the fundamentals of building community and destination trails. The following day, IMBA will lead a trail building school from 9 a.m. to noon (lunch included) at the North Star House. Students will learn about trail building theory, essential elements of sustainable trails, how to design and construct a trail and how to re-route and reclaim a trail.

In the afternoon, participants will venture to Upper Miner’s Trail off Highway 20 for trail work from 1 to 5 p.m. Participants must attend the morning classroom session to participate in the field project. Wear pants, closed-toe shoes, a hat, gloves and bring water.

The Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew program has inspired volunteer trail work across the U.S. and abroad helping government agencies and land managers with limited funding to build trails and keep them maintained. As a direct result, there are now thousands of new and improved trails in all 50 states, Canada, Mexico and several European countries.

The Trail Care Crews teach “sustainable” trail building resulting in trails that last with minimal maintenance. This helps reduce trail damage, protects the environment and enhances visitor enjoyment for years to come.

All are welcome to join the Subaru/ IMBA Trail Care Crew leaders when they come to town. For more information and to register for the IMBA Trail building School:;; 272-5994 x201.

About the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA)

The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit educational association whose mission is to create, enhance and preserve great trail experiences for mountain bikers worldwide. Since 1988, IMBA has been bringing out the best in mountain biking by encouraging low-impact riding, volunteer trailwork participation, cooperation among trail user groups, grassroots advocacy and innovative trail management solutions.

IMBA’s worldwide network includes 35,000 individual members, more than 100 chapters, 750 bicycle clubs, more than 160 corporate partners and about 600 retailer shops. IMBA’s members live in all 50 U.S. states, most Canadian provinces and in 30 other countries. For more information visit

About Bear Yuba Land Trust

Bear Yuba Land Trust is a community-supported nonprofit group that saves land, builds trails and offers programs to get people outdoors and appreciate nature in the Bear and Yuba watersheds of the Sierra Nevada foothills. Volunteers are the heart of BYLT’s success. To date, BYLT has built and maintains 19 trails, extending 35 miles. The first segment of the Yuba Rim Trail on Rice’s Crossing Preserve will be opened to the public on April 18. Learn more at:

Watch an interesting video about the Bear Yuba Land Trust, here:

(Source: Bear Yuba Land Trust; Video: Timothy and Christopher Gee)

2015 Nevada City Dirt Classic Series announced

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The 2015 Nevada City Dirt Classic Series has announced the dates for this year’s Dirt Classic Series and Miners Dirt Series. The Nevada City Dirt Classic Series is on X-C ride for all ages held on three Saturdays, May 2, May 9 and May 30. The Miners Dirt Series is held on three Fridays, May 1, May8 and May 22, and is for kids 10 to 14 years old.

Registration is required for all rides and each will conclude with music, food and raffle prizes including a new bike. The bike raffle will be held on May 30 at the conclusion of Race 3. To learn more about the series and to register, visit

Enjoy all of Nevada County bike trails year-round; see a listing of the trails here.

If you’re in town for Race 2 of the Nevada City Dirt Classic race on May 9, be sure to stay overnight and catch the start of Stage 2 of the 2015 Amgen Tour of California in Nevada City on Monday, May 11. Read more about the Amgen Tour here.

(Photos: Nevada City Dirt Classic, Amgen Tour of California; Video: Great Basin Bicycles of Reno)

2015 Nevada County Fair poster introduced

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The 2015 Nevada County Fair poster was introduced today with the theme “Catch the Fair Bug!” Local artist Juli Marks of Grass Valley created the artwork which was selected to be the official poster for this year’s fair which runs August 12 – 16, 2015.

Watch a video from previous Nevada County Fairs, here: