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Indian Valley Record
Greenville, California
July 15, 2009     Indian Valley Record
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July 15, 2009

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Bulletin, Progressive, Record, Reporter Wednesday, July 15, 2009 1C SPORTS RE CREAT I O N INSIDE SECTION C: FEATURING THE ACTION AROUND PLUMAS COUNTY .......................................... ............... .I Whether building trail systems, running bike shops or organizing major mountain bike races, Greg Williams knows how to accomplish things. Photos by Shannon Morrow Bikes, trails and community Shannon Morrow Sports Editor About 15 years ago, a young mountain biker by the name of Greg Williams trans- formed the town of Down- ieville, and it wasn't really intentional. Williams just loved to get outside and ride, so he devel- oped a fantastic trail system in the mountains above town. The trails were so good that mountain bikers started coming from all over, and Downieville's struggling economy was quickly revital- ized by recreational tourism. In the blur of a few years, Williams became the owner of Yuba Expeditions bike shop and shuttle service, the director of the famous Down- ieville Classic mountain bike race and the Chief Executive Officer of the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship. He has been featured several times in national magazines, and sits on the board of directors for Plumas Corporation. Of course, Williams's emi- nence came only through years of hard work. Whether coordinating trail crews or weaving through local bu- reaucracy, he has overcome many obstacles and learned many things along the way. Now in his late thirties, married with a 5-year-old daughter and newborn son, Williams has started shifting his professional energy. Bikes and trails will remain his passion, but his focus has moved into Plumas County, where he has lived the past five years. "I've been working in Downievllle for 18 years, and I'm ready for a little bit of a change," said Williams. "There's not a sense of com- munity there like there is here. There's a lot of active people in Plumas County--a lot of like-minded people who make outdoor recreation a priority." Two weeks ago, Williams opened his new bike shop in Graeagle, and it has already been well received by many of the locals. Located in one of the little red buildings downtown, two rows of beautiful bikes line the front of Williams's shop. In addition to high perfor- mance mountain and road bikes, there are also several bikes with fenders and bas- kets that are perfect for run- ning errands around town. Like everything else Williams does, he put a 10t of energy into making his new bike shop as nice as possible. A cedar log func- tions as the bike stand, cheer- ful paint decorates the walls, and a custom-milled cedar board serves as the counter- top. Outside, bar stools are anchored to the front porch, and new landscaping surrounds the building. But aesthetics are just the beginning for Williams. He also believes in great cus- tomer service and insists on bringing in high-quality help. "I want to hire locally, and I'm most interested in people skills--you have to have friendly employees. I can teach how to fix bikes." Most bike shop owners are acutely aware that their busi- nesses become much more than simply a retail store or service shop. "Community bike shops become a hub for active peo- ple," said Williams. "They know they can pop in and get local knowledge." Williams's bike shop is the best place in the area to learn about local trails. Beyond the giant maps that adorn the walls, Williams and his crew have been working diligently to build outstanding new trails throughout the region. The Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship, which Williams founded in 2003, is a volun- teer driven nonprofit group that maintains and enhances trail systems around Graea- gle, Lakes Basin, Downieville and Quincy. The SBTS has donated over 22,000 hours of volunteer la- bor to the Plumas and Tahoe national forests, creating 25 miles of new trails and main- taining countless miles of ex- isting trails. Williams realizes recre- ational tourism can greatly benefit the local economy, and he has specific plans to- ward developing a high-qual- ity trail system to attract this desirable element. "These trails are to serve the communities they're around," said Williams. "As human beings, we need to be outside. Trails benefit so many people for generations. They keep us active and healthy. "If people are going to stay in Plumas County, it needs to have a good trail system. Our generation has to have it. The local leaders need to re- alize how strong recreational tourism is, and what that money can do for this county. We can build a world-class trail system that provides safe routes and links our commumtms. With his passion, knowl- edge and drive, Williams has already accomplished much. But for him, it's just the be- ginning. Williams has developed a master plan for the Mohawk Trail System, a group of non- motorized trails that will: link Graeagle, Whitehawk, Portola and Calpine. The 45 miles of trail will be built in six manageable stages, creat- ing local jobs and a major as- set to the area. The first section, the Mills Peak Trail, is already under construction. It is a beautiful seven-mile route that follows a prehistoric Maidu path from Mohawk Valley to the top of Mills Peak. The Plumas County Board of Su- pervisors, Eastern Plumas Parks and Recreation, Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative and the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship have funded the project. A locally hired trail crew and group of volunteers are constructing the Mills Peak Trail, with the help of a mini trail excavator equipped with a blade, bucket, hy- draulic thumb and rock ham- mer. With a new bike shop to run and trail system to build, Williams is moving beyond Blairsden resident Kim Kalbaugh, left, swings by to check out the shop. The new bike shop in Graeagle, called Lost Sierra Adventures, rents eVery bike it sells, from high-end mountain bikes to classy grocery-getters. the legacy he created in Downieville. He's still the guy in charge, but now dele- gates a lot of the responsibili- ties to trusted employees. Williams likes that he can now ride his bike to work. He likes that his shop is near his daughter's preschool. He's even planning to build a pathway in Graeagle along the river and highway to make it safer for bicycles and baby joggers. After all, his son will be 3 months old next week. "In Downieville, I learned so much," said Williams. "But this is where my thoughts and energy are now. My friends and family are here, and this is what's real fOr me. I'm excited about being in this community." FnE| D00IVUY To Most Locations! 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