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Film showcases recreation, beauty of the canyons

By: Gloria Young, Journal Staff Writer
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By Gloria Young Journal Staff Writer Ask Bill Mash about his favorite spots in the Auburn State Recreation Area and he’ll describe the remote beauty of Windy Point or the vistas of the Omstead-Knickerbocker loop. “I love the really remote areas,” he said. “But I do the majority of my hiking closer to home — (for instance) the confluence. I really love all of it.” Mash, who retired from Hewlett-Packard and is now a videographer, has been hiking the American River canyon trails for about three years. For the past couple of years, he is out there three or four times a week. He’s the founder of Foothill Hikers and active in the Canyon Keepers. He’s also created a film, “See Ya on the Trails of ASRA,” that discusses all the recreational aspects of the park. He produced the film with help from the Canyon Keepers as well as Auburn Recreation District Director Jim Ferris. Contributors included Gary Hughes, Canyon Keepers official photographer, who provided many still shots. Photographer Leon Turnbull also provided photos. “It took about two months to put it together,” Mash said. “It was done last October. I really wanted to include the breadth of the whole park.” The film covers everything from hiking, biking and horseback riding to whitewater rafting and historical notes. It is 45 minutes of everything you want to know about the Auburn State Recreation Area, he said. “From the Auburn dam and Stagecoach (Trail), to bridges and gold mining, it’s quite in depth,” he said. “There’s a section where a State Parks employee shows an old dredging operation that is still in ruins along the Middle Fork.” The recreation area is larger than many people may realize, he said. “It has main trails in five towns — Colfax, Applegate, Auburn, Cool and Weimar,” he said. For example Windy Point is accessed from Colfax. “There’s a new trail that has been put in out there, the trail that goes down to the river,” Mash said. “For a long time it had limited access and the trail was in poor shape. The gentleman who did the work on Windy Point (received an award for it). It is well regarded as one of the finest wildflower hikes in the park.” Mash has made the film available to anyone who wants to see it online. “It’s in five chapters on YouTube,” he said. “It has a menu that pretty much makes it feel like you are watching a DVD. You can select various aspects and view that part of the film.” So far it has received about 800 views, but he and fellow Canyon Keepers would like to see that number grow to get word out about the recreational jewel of the foothills. Ferris is very pleased with the finished product. “I had asked Bill to help me revise a presentation that I do periodically for the Canyon Keepers on the ASRA,” he said. “I’ve been doing the same PowerPoint presentation for the past half-a-dozen years. Instead of just helping me put on something new, he developed the whole new video presentation. It involves still shots, a lot of video and a music background. He basically has covered the entire ASRA including river rafting — the last section, which is really kind of spectacular. It goes from one end of ASRA to the other, including a lot of highlighted trails that he or others are particular fond of.” There’s even a segment on geocaching, Ferris added. The film includes comments from a half dozen local people who are knowledgeable about the ASRA, including Park Ranger Michael Lynch, Roger Grogan and Laird Thompson, as well as Ferris and State Parks officials. “I’ve seen it three or four times,” Ferris said. “I keep accusing (Mash) of making changes. I always see something different in it. I see more details that make it very interesting to me.” Mash also promotes hiking through the Foothill Hikers online site. “It is an exceptionally good source of information on hiking locally,” Ferris said. “They have all the information in one place for a person to find out every hike that is going on locally by whatever organization is putting it on.” You have to be a member to access the calendar but membership is free. Some days of the week there are two or three hikes. You can click on it and find out who to contact and where to meet to participate, Ferris said. Reach Gloria Young at gloriay@goldcountrymedia.com ------------ To view the film, “See Ya on the Trails of ASRA,” visit http:// www.youtube.com/user/FoothillHikers?feature=mhum To learn more about Foothill Hikers and the hiking calendar, see www.meetup.com/Sierra–Foothill–Hikers