By Teri Vance
People who know Donna Inversin well, she said, are reluctant to ride in the car with her while she’s driving.
“My eyes are not on the road, they are on the hills looking for trails,” she said.
And now she’s got her eye on a trail she’d like to see built.
Working with the the Eagle Valley Trails Committee, she is hoping to see a non-motorized trail run the route of the old Virginia and Truckee Railroad from Carson City up to Virginia City.
It would start at the V&T trail off Combs Canyon Road and trace the old route through town, which, for the most part, is complete with bike lanes and just remains to be marked, Inversin said.
The trail building would start where Deer Run Road meets the Carson River. The proposed trail would follow the Carson River east until it meets the tracks for the historic Virginia and Truckee Railway. There, it would split off and follow the tracks north to Virginia City.
To get started, the committee will need to get various easements and the support of the V&T Commission. They will be applying for grants to create the trail, which would be built in three phases.
It would be part of about 20,000 miles of trails in the United States built on old railroad tracks.
“It’s a phenomenon that’s not going away,” she said.
She envisions working with the V&T Commission to build a replica of the old train depot along with a bike rental shop where cyclists could ride the trail both ways or take the train to Virginia City then mountain bike back down.
“This is one of the things that will draw people here,” Inversin said. “We would have so many people come from all over the world putting their bikes on the train and riding down from Virginia City.”
It would also give tourists a chance to see the active mining operation of Comstock Mining on the way to Virginia City.
“People in other parts of the world that don’t know what that looks like,” Inversin said. “They’re going to get a chance to see what it’s about.”
And, she said, it goes right along with the city’s vision.
“Carson City, with the Eagle Valley Trails Committee, foresaw Carson City becoming a destination for hiking and biking and outdoor activity,” she said.
The Carson River Canyon, she said, is one of the hidden treasures of the area.
“It’s a beautiful riparian oasis in the middle of the desert,” she said. “When I tell people I live in Nevada and we have a river running through town, they think I’m insane.”
It’s one of the things that drew her to the area after she retired from her nursing career nine years ago.
She had made a list of everything she wanted in a community, and had it narrowed down to four cities.
But a trip to visit her daughter in Fernley changed everything.
“I never got past Carson City,” she said. “It had everything on my list.”
She doesn’t even have to drive to get to a good hike.
“I just put on a backpack and head up Ash Canyon,” she said.
When she found Muscle Powered, the organization dedicated to creating a walkable and bikable city, she knew she was home.
“That is everything I believe in,” she said. “I wanted a community that was small enough I could get anywhere I wanted to be without hardly ever having to get in the car.”
It’s the same thing she thinks will draw people to the V&T trail along the river.
“It’s the beauty of it,” she said. “You’re within minutes of downtown of Carson City but when you’re up here it seems like you’re in the middle of nowhere. You combine that with the history of the V&T Railroad and the mining. The geology is amazing. You get the beautiful hand-built rock walls. There’s so much here in Nevada. It’s a wonderful, beautiful place.
“It’s more than the sum of all its parts.”