A couple weeks ago I went public in my launch of Sierra Mapping Project. I immediately had many people express their excited interest for mapping every trail in California’s iconic High Sierra. Friends approached me with the idea to launch a Kickstarter for SMP.People realize the need for an accurate, but most importantly current inventory of our trail systems.
A couple days ago I launched the Sierra Mapping Project Kickstarter Campaign. In just a few short days, the community has backed over $650 out of the minimum goal of $2,500. The campaign will run for 40 days… of which we’re now down to 35.
I founded Sierra Mapping Project out of a dire need to have current and accurate information on the trails ALREADY in place in the Sierra Nevada. There were many instances when I would be going into the backcountry and the information I was receiving from our forest service was terrible at best. Now, this is through no fault of their own. Budget cuts, current funds running low, and a lack of personnel has made it near impossible for our beloved FS to do their job. Thus I began scheming my brain child… Sierra Mapping Project.
The main goal of SMP is to provide current conditions and an inventory of our cherished trail systems FOR FREE to the community. These are OUR trails and we should have access to this information. I will be GPS’ing EVERY trail in the High Sierra and creating a GPS track which will be available for download free of charge for YOU. In addition to a GPS track, you will have access to elevation profiles, water sources, and current conditions.
In recent years, our treasured Pacific Crest and John Muir Trails have received an overwhelming amount of traffic which can be detrimental to the trail system. With the sudden influx of day hikers, backpackers, and horse packers the infrastructure of these trails have been degrading rapidly. By GPS’ing EVERY trail in the High Sierra it is my hopes to relieve some of the congestion off the JMT/PCT and get people into other areas that our Sierra holds for us. By bringing a voice back to these networks were securing our trail systems and showing the government that we need to have these areas available/maintained for use. The more people that show an interest in our backcountry the bigger impact we can have of protecting OUR land for not only us but future generations as well.
The money raised from the Kickstarter Campaign will go towards GPS instruments, GIS software, non-profit fees, basic operational costs such as gas, batteries, gear repairs, etc. Sierra Mapping Project will be a non-profit and will be around for years to come, collecting current conditions as well as updating old information. This is THE SAME information that our Forest Service is supposed to be collecting, but since they’re unable to it’s time for the community to step up to the plate and preserve the wild land which we hold so dear. Remember, Sierra Mapping Project will be a tax-write off!
Another aspect of Sierra Mapping Project is to scout for new loops, routes, and thru-hiking alternatives. I am the biggest proponent of wild and adventurous exploration. Therefore, all routes will be minimally documented with the exception of a short summary to uphold the integrity of off-trail adventure and purity.
I am working in collaboration with Tom Harrison; California’s great cartographer who produces top-notch maps. I’m sharing my findings with him to make his information as accurate as possible for backcountry enthusiasts.
I leave tomorrow, May 12th, on the project’s first ~350 mile venture. I will begin at South Fork Campground, travel up through Mineral King, meet up with the High Sierra Trail and take that to the PCT at Bighorn Plateau, from there I’ll stay on the JMT/ Sierra High Route until I get to Devil’s Postpile where I’ll take our San Joaquin River Trail back to Clovis.
I’m jazzed to be able to share my findings with YOU! The Sierra’s are my backyard and I’m beyond thrilled to be sharing her beauty with the community. It’s going to be cold, snowy, and steep, but the mountains are calling me home.
Sierra Mapping Project is for the public by the public. Please share with everyone! The more people who know about this meaningful and worthwhile project the better. Anyone who visits the High Sierra will benefit from Sierra Mapping Project. Become a backer today!
A huge thanks to Sierra Mapping Project Sponsors – the dedicated folks who see the need for this venture: ULA, Western Mountaineering, Bedrock Sandals, Tom Harrison. Sierra Mapping Project is actively seeking sponsors… it’ll be a tax write-off!
Have a beautifully organic day,
Sara “BloodBank” Fry
Founder of Sierra Mapping Project