Deer Creek Tribute Trail

The Deer Creek Tribute Trail project is a multi-phase effort by numerous local organizations to create a nine-mile trail along Deer Creek in downtown Nevada City.

Since 2010, The Sierra Fund has served as the fiscal sponsor and project manager for certain phases which include: securing easements,  constructing trail segments, creating interpretive exhibits, restoration of floodplain habitat, and celebration of the people who helped build our community’s rich cultural history.

This project has been funded by grants from the California Resources Agency. Additionally, The Sierra Fund has worked with community members to provide the cash flow necessary to finance the project. Many members of the community stepped forward to provide short-term cash flow loans to help build the Tribute Trail.

Phase II (completed in 2014)

Phase II of the project was completed in fall, 2014 and a new footbridge was built across Deer Creek just downstream of Nevada City. The Angkula Seo bridge (built by Seattle Bridge LLC) and its surroundings honor the Nisenan People, the original people of this area. Angkula Seo is the traditional name for Deer Creek, used by the local Nisenan People.

Rockwork along the new trail sections, constructed by partner organization Forest Trails Alliance
Rockwork along the new trail sections, constructed by partner organization Forest Trails Alliance

This phase also included some trail building to connect the new bridge,  to the existing trail system, plus some educational signage and work to remove invasive species and replant with native plants to improve forest health. 

Partners in this phase of the Deer Creek Tribute Trail project include the City of Nevada City, American Rivers, Foothills Nisenan Nevada City Rancheria, Forest Trails Alliance and Sierra Streams Institute.

Phase 1 (completed in 2011)

Phase I of the project provided Nevada City with miles of new trail, a new pedestrian footbridge, and over 100 acres of restored vegetation in the Deer Creek Watershed.

Chinese Tribute Bridge, completed in the first phase of the project

Funded in 2005 by the CA Resources Agency with Proposition 50 bond funds, this phase was a unique collaborative effort among local organizations including: Sierra Streams Institute, the City of Nevada City, the Tsi-Akim Maidu Tribe, the Natural Heritage Institute, the Bureau of Land Management, Bear Yuba Land Trust, Greater Champion Neighborhood Association and the Chinese Quarter Society and Save Our Historic Canals.

Related Project

In 2018, a 32-acre property on Deer Creek was acquired by the Nisenan Tribe of the Nevada City Rancheria, concluding a multi-year effort to return the land to the original people of the area. The Sierra Fund has supported the project for the last five years, including successfully applying for the grant that funded the acquisition, in partnership with the City of Nevada City. Plans are under development to extend the Deer Creek Tribute Trail across the property, diverting a portion of the Tribute Trail from Champion Mine Road and promoting the safety of recreators and drivers.

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