Head to web before you hit the trail

Entering a web address can mean experiencing more than 400 miles of trails and 316,000 acres of pristine meadows and forest just outside the computer screen.

Two initiatives to foster physical activity and utilize Southern Nevada outdoor potential launched recently.

Neon to Nature

Play gets plugged in with the regional urban and nature trail system resource neontonature.org.

The website launched this year for Southern Nevadans to access maps, descriptions, lengths and available amenities for the estimated 460 miles of urban off-street trails and on-street bicycle lanes.

The Southern Nevada Health District launched Neon to Nature to centralize outdoor information and promote healthy living. Clark County, Henderson, the cities of Las Vegas and North Las Vegas and the federal entities contribute to the website.

More than 1,100 additional miles of recreational trails are in the works, said city of North Las Vegas principal planner Johanna Murphy.

Murphy said North Las Vegas is building its trail system in segments, and residents have been confused about trail availability in the past.

“Our two traditional trails are the Las Vegas Wash Trail and the Upper Las Vegas Wash Trail in addition to park loop trails,” she said. “We’re constantly adding new parts to the trails. People may not have realized that construction has completed (on a project), and they have a trail close to their home.”

One trail to be found on the site is the recently completed Flamingo Arroyo Trail, which begins at Eastern Avenue, just north of Twain Avenue. The first trailhead and parking is about a half mile east near the corner of the Pecos McLeod Connect and Emerson Avenue. The trail follows the Flamingo Wash until it joins with the Las Vegas Wash and connects with the Sunrise Trail in the Clark County Wetlands Park.

Along the paved trail, visitors will encounter arching steel signs and shade structures and benches crafted from the rubble of demolished casinos.

The Flamingo Arroyo Trail is one of the early pieces of what is eventually to be a vast network of trails across the valley connecting the heart of the city to the edge of town.

“Eventually, you’ll be able to go right along the edge of the Wetlands Park by bicycle from the Flamingo Arroyo Trail,” said Clark County Wetlands Park Coordinator Elsie Sellars. “It’s going to be a great resource.”

For more information on trails near you, visit neontonature.org or call 759-1270.

Heading to the mountains

Gomtcharleston.org is the result of an identity crisis turned opportunity.

The U.S. Forest Service, Spring Mountain Conservancy and the Great Basin Institute have decided to rebrand their online resource discoverspring
mountains.org and encourage visitors to “Go Mount Charleston.”

The bugs to gomtcharleston.com are still being worked out, but officials say the new website will be more user-friendly and interactive as visitors seek information about hiking, camping, construction updates and more.

The area in question is the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest in the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area. To the layman, it’s Mount Charleston, said Spring Mountain Conservancy spokeswoman Suzanne Hicks.

“Mount Charleston is really the name of the town,” she said. “We didn’t want to lose sight of what the area is really called. It’s a name people identify with more.”

The site’s name change comes before an era of construction. Several projects to upgrade campgrounds, trailheads, roads and a visitor center are expected through 2014. The website is to include current information for those curious about project statuses or restrictions, Hicks said.

“Construction is never set in stone, and deadlines and timelines do change,” she said. “The website will reflect that.”

Interactive tools will help visitors find and register for the free hikes and programs, such as kids’ Science Safaris, Hicks said. The previous web address is to reroute to the new site.

“We want to continue to offer great new programs and build a respect and stewardship of this area,” Hicks said. “This is public land that belongs to everyone.”

For up-to-date construction information, call 515-5447 or visit fs.usda.gov/htnf/smnra_construction. For U.S. Forest Service only information, visit fs.usda.gov/htnf. For more information on the site changes, visit gomtcharleston.com.

Sunrise/Whitney View reporter F. Andrew Taylor contributed to this report. Contact Centennial and North Las Vegas View reporter Maggie Lillis at mlillis@viewnews.com or 477-3839.

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