DESERT EDGE, Calif. - The first major Coachella Valley hiking trail to open in more than a decade was unveiled to the public on at a grand opening on Friday. Avid hikers everywhere are excited.
"There's the best hiking here of anywhere I've been in the entire world for its variety and Desert Hot Springs is wonderful to have this addition," said Heidi Osterman, who is visiting from Canada.
The Kim Nicol Trail, a 5.6-mile loop in unincorporated Desert Edge, is a joint effort -- eight years in the making -- of the Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy and Friends of the Desert Mountains.
CVMC Executive Director Jim Karpiak said the trail "will become a must-see destination for valley residents and visitors who want to embrace the Coachella Valley's natural environment. Creating this trail required cooperation from a number of local and state agencies, and we're grateful that so many came together to provide this trail access to the public.''
The path is named after Kim Nicol, a former regional manager at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who died in January 2015 following a battle with cancer.
"Kim was passionate not just about protecting our natural environment, but about providing people with access to learn more about the plants and animals that are unique to the desert,'' said Katie Barrows, director of environmental resources for the Coachella alley Conservation Commission. "This trail is a fitting tribute to her legacy in the Coachella alley.''
The trail, which is open to hikers, dogs, equestrians, and cyclists, offers sweeping views of the Coachella Valley while steering hikers away from habitat areas that the desert's wildlife call home.
The Kim Nicol Trail lies on land owned by CVMC, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the Coachella Valley Conservation Commission, and was created through "extensive clean-up of illegal dumping and debris and closed off access to off-road vehicles.''
The two conservation groups instrumental in the trail's creation are also working on two new trails near Indio and Desert Hot Springs.
"Our volunteers were honored to contribute to this worthy project, which fits in with our goals of protecting sensitive habitat,'' said Tammy Martin, Friends of the Desert Mountains executive director. "By providing safe access to our open desert, we can provide a hands-on education of our desert landscape for generations to come."
Noticias en español: Telemundo 15