Rattlesnake: A Multi-use Recreational Area

I have been hiking, training for longer backpacking trips for several years. I have tried trails at Rattlesnake, Grimes Point, and Hazen. They were good, but still needed something. Then I started noticing a thing ribbon of trail at Rattlesnake.  I had been parking near the airport and hiking up the road near to the top then crossing over to the many roads both official and non. As I crossed the west side of the hill, I stumbled across what were clearly foot and bike trails. I didn’t know where they started or went, but I would follow parts of the trails as I wandered around. I really enjoyed the trails because they gave more depth to the hiking. Then on an off chance, I parked at the cemetery one day and discovered an entire collection of trail ribbons and started exploring. There is a main trail that goes completely around the mountain, raceway, and trap club. It crosses roads, zigzags in and around the brush and rocks. It has good climbs and intricate places. I was in heaven. This was the type of trail I was looking for. I could push myself physically, and I could interweave the many off shoots creating something different to see. I enjoyed looking at the different rock formations and remnants from the past. I could easily create a scavenger hunt out on the trail.

Coming in to the trail head, I crest over a hill and see a man on the trail ahead of me.  It startled me because I hadn’t seen another person the entire time I had been out hiking. He greeted me in a jovial manner.  “Hi, glad to see you.”  I thought that it was a different way to great someone on the trail, but all hikers seem to have their own way of greeting another.  The brief conversation that followed informed me that he had been working on these bike trails with the intention of giving mountain bikers, trail runners, and hikers a local place to go.

I got to thinking about the work that would go into creating the trails. Had he mapped the trails before building them or after? How did he decide where to turn the trails and where to climb? He definitely integrated the elements of the landscape into the tails using rocks, brush, and natural contours to give the trail complexity and to mark the paths.  Then there were the hours of clearing and marking.  It is truly a work of art. These trails have been mapped and listed on Trailhooks an app for mountain bikers. There have been hundreds of bikers from all over the world who have posted that they have tried the trails.

Rattlesnake Mountain is truly a multiuse recreational area. It belongs to the city, but many people go out and use it for their recreational activities. When I first moved to Fallon in the 70s, it had limited use – races and fireworks, occasionally a bike- a-thon. But now, in addition to the Rattlesnake Raceway there is a trap shoot club and many trails. The trails are for many uses too. There is hiking, trail running, dog walking, mountain biking, motorcycles, rock crawling, and so many more activities. If you want to do something out doors that does not need to be a team sport, you could probably do it at Rattlesnake.

The only problem is that since the recreation area doesn’t have any official designation, besides the raceway and trap club, there are people who misuse some of the trails. There are motorcycles and off road vehicles that tear up the thin trails, there are people who cut across the terrain, and there are people who dump their refuse. All these actions take away from the experience of the trail. Many people might think that since there is an intricate web of trails of all kinds out there, it couldn’t be destroyed. But, since wheels and usage add to erosion, all alternative uses of the trails change them.

The main thing to remember, though, is that no matter how we choose to use the recreation area, we need to be considerate of others. If we are out on our bikes, we need to watch out for those on foot. Dumping of trash should not be done out there no matter what. If we drop some trash, we should clean up after ourselves. If we are running our dogs, they should be trained to your commands and you should be aware that not all people are comfortable around dogs. Your choice to listen to music or not is yours, but consider the volume, someone else might not want to listen to your music.

Some other things that the recreation area need are a good clean up and maintenance, designated areas for motor vehicles, and a couple of outhouses or restrooms.  Otherwise, enjoy the area the way you like. Enjoy what has been given to us, but don’t wreck it for others.

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