The Tehachapi Mountain Trails Association has been quietly working behind the scenes for more than a year on a plan to expand Tehachapi's trail systems.
But time is running out, and now the organization is hoping to receive an extension on assistance from the federal government set to expire this month.
Last year, the organization applied and was awarded a grant in Sept. 2012, through the National Park Service for assistance in the development of an organization and concept plan to present to the community as well as appropriate government entities, to develop a multi-use non-motorized trail network in the greater Tehachapi area.
And while the grant does not provided actual money, it does provide the services of a National Park Service outdoor recreation planner, which TMTA President Trent Theriault said has resulted in the project gaining much-needed community support.
With the help of the NPS-provided planner, Theriault said the organization has been able to develop its own identity with a name and mission statement.
"The vision of the newly named Tehachapi Trails Partnership is to help develop and pursue the development of non-motorized trails in the greater Tehachapi area," he said.
However, according to Theriault, who has founded the TMTA with other fellow enthusiast back in 2008, the organization needs one more year of assistance from its provided planner.
"We still have things we need to get in place," Theriault said. Then we can actually ger started working on the trails themselves."
So, the TTP reached out its community and local government partners late last month, in order to secure a least three letters of support, which it needed to apply for its extension.
Theriault said on Aug. 14, that he had already received letters from City of Tehachapi and the Kern County parks department, and was expecting the third before the end of the day. The Board of Directors of the Greater Tehachapi Economic Development Council also voted to provide a letter of support.
If the extension is extended, Theriault said the next step in the evolution of Tehachapi's trail system will be to begin discussions about how to fund the trails, as well as the logistics for maintaining them.
"As much as I would love to get out there and start digging in the dirt, there is still a lot of work to do," he said. "We need a complete plan."