The State of the Trail – September 2015

State of the Trail September 5, 2015

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With today’s news of a rubbish fire erupting from the historic pool, I am prompted to remind us all that Hilltop is not a safe place.  To the vandals who likely set this fire, we appeal to your humanity and common sense…lives and property are nothing to toy with.  Thanks to our local fireman who quickly snuffed out this afternoon spectacle in the heart of our Town.  We understand the smoke was visible from Hesperia.

Please know that those of us intimately involved with resolving – once and for all – our cultural landmark are doing so with the best intentions for all concerned  Also understand that the number of people, groups and organizations now watching Hilltop – from its boarders – is staggering.

Below is a recent letter sent to Hilltop Ownership thanking them for their support of the Trail and recapping the last 15 months of land acquisition grant season.  But first, here’s a tally of significant funding sources to date.  Hilltop Ownership, The State, The Town and this Community owes itself a round of applause.

4.5 k                        Community Donations to date

95 k                         Professional In kind services to date

5 k                           T.Bennett scholarship award -HDCF

155.85 k                  MDAQMD Grant Award

160 k                       L & W Grant Award to TOAV

160 k                       TOAV Match L & W Grant


 $ 580,350 .00         Trail Funding Sources to Date



360 Apple West, LLC

c/o 42592 Moonridge Rd.

Big Bear Lake, CA.  92315

Mr. Doyle,

On behalf of the Apple Valley Legacy Trail (AVLT) and this Community, I’d  like to invite you and the Ownership team to a very special, cultural event to be held August 7th at the Apple Valley Inn.  This gathering – 6 months in planning – will celebrate and recreate AV’s famous Steak Fry; another key milestone of our 3 year journey in studying a place of historic intrigue.

As you know, the last 15 months have been dedicated to real estate acquisition grants.  Your team’s referral of Martha at MVR Consultants was instrumental in guiding this Community to a delivery outcome now at hand.  In September 2014, the Town of Apple Valley (TOAV) not only reviewed MVR assessment and findings of project validity, but to their credit, sponsored grant application costs.  I must tell you, for this Community to find key stakeholders in one accord, provided the AVLT levels of traction, previously only dreamed of.  Thank you.

Reaching goals is important, but with reward comes new responsibility; our celebration lasted a minute. We understood the depth of  work ahead of us; building deeper levels of Community Connectivity.  Fundamental to grant application success is a prerequisite demonstration to you, TOAV and Grant Decision Makers that this volunteer lead initiative enjoyed multiple footholds of support, including Regional recognition.   What began as a generally, quiet plod, evolved into the Community Lift we envisioned, as  Trail Rider alliance’s matured or sprouted.  And so the Community embraced the task with passion, purpose and hope.  The Community is engaging like the waters of a tsunami arriving to a distant shore.  The shore in this case is Hilltop, where its being awakened from a long sleep.

I’m not aware of anyone in this Community who does not love the project.  Built into this Communities quest to reclaim our landmark, is a resolve to cure the Ruin of further risk to public safety; a benefit to all Stakeholders.  Creating the Legacy Trail will require all the elements one would expect including  sustainability and generational oversight; there is much to be done once the Gateway Phase ends.  That said, it is only Community Narrative – squarely placed on Hilltop – which can deliver tangible texture, ballast and pride.  We all agree, that as Apple Valley’s center piece, Hilltop must reflect our values from the skies which it calls home.   As I have said before, others less informed may see indifference when looking at today’s Hilltop, but we see practical and thoughtful solutions for mutually beneficial possibility.

In understanding the true matrix of this initiative – People – we literally could list hundreds of folks-organizations who contribute their time, treasure and talent.  But for the purpose of this broad update, I’ll only list a few.


Apple Valley Legacy Museum (AVLM) opened its doors earlier this year in the shadow of Hilltop.  Located at Apple Valley Inn’s – Bob Hope Cottage, this sister project showcases AV history in a unique and simple manner.  The volunteers which staff it, 7 days a week, are a credit to Marcy Taylor’s (AVLM Founder) relentless passion to preserve key contributions of our earliest arrivals.  Her personal connection to the regional, historic archive has offered the Legacy Trail unsurpassed exposure.  Marcy has spearheaded the Steak Fry planning in a manner resembling bulldog on pork chop; amazing focus.

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The development of the Hilltop Legacy Junior Board (HLJB) unites our mission to the next generation of Apples.  Under the guidance of a diverse team of professional teachers and mentors, this dynamic Intern Program enters our students into the core matrix of Reclaim, Repurpose and Revitalize.  Thank you for permitting these kids a tour of Hilltop.  As always, Janet Stevens Moore represented you with high class and did a great job of showcasing your unique and challenging parcel.  It was an amazing day; the energy and interest expressed from our future leaders is inspiring.


The Daily Press was delighted to cover the field trip and celebrate many of the Regions most talented students.  HLJB is now 10 students strong and each of the (5) high schools involved have recruited 10-25 kids each.  HLJB will play important roles during the Steak Fry; both in hospitality service and presenting portions of Legacy Trail update to our Community.


Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District (MDAQMD) has recognized the Legacy Trail as an important component in improving air quality throughout the Mojave River Valley.  Beyond human motorization benefit, their grant administrators appreciate unique opportunity which the HLJB represents in connecting students in the unique, Legacy Trail arena.

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Maggie Vee and the Village Art Collective – “Connecting people to community through the arts” – has been busy developing and spotlighting the cultural happenings on Highway 18 including the Legacy Museum, First Friday High Desert, Burning House Art Studio, The Cocoon Gallery and Gifts, Soundsmells and many other’s.  Essentially, she is mapping this blossoming Art Corridor which has been in development for years.




It’s impossible not to mention the hundreds of folks who personally gave of themselves in advancing the Legacy Trail or the thousands who watch and cheer lead from various social platforms.  In favor of brevity, I’ll defer their acknowledgment for another time and place.  They’re not seeking notoriety or recognition; they simply embrace a better way of life for their children and grand children.  They recognize their personal stories of faith, hope and strength in the narrative that is the Legacy Trail; they wish to be a be a part of it.

We understand that grant pursuit yielded various levels of success in a very competitive grant market.  We attribute this unprecedented result to your support and global cooperation as presented in the brief outline above.  This Community takes enormous pride in the diversity and depth of the feasibility efforts prepared…conservatively documented at some $ 95,000.00.  Delivery of the “shovel ready” Legacy Trail to a very capable TOAV Staff and MVR Consultants, was our pleasure and one made possible by your valued guidance, support and insight.  Thank you for being gracious and integral in this process.

In closing, please be our special guests for the vintage Steak Fry.  As has been our habit in all things Legacy Trail, we wish to be the solution to Hilltop’s challenges for everyone.  As the primary stakeholder and the executive steward of this wonderful property for the past 15 years, we wish for you to witness – first hand – the Cultural Soul of Apple Valley.

In recognition of your efforts on behalf of the Legacy Trail, we have reserved a complimentary table of 10 for you and your team.  If you like, you are welcome to a few moments of the Trail presentation and speak to the Community from an Owner’s perspective, or you can simply enjoy the evening as our honored guest.  The hibernation of Bass Hill is over and we owe you a debt of gratitude.  You have my personal guarantee, that celebrating your legacy at Hilltop will be integral to the Legacy Trails, genesis story.

Thank you in advance for considering our invitation and do not hesitate to call should you have any questions.



Steven Richard – President AVLT

Cc:        Donald Tatera, Vice President AVLT

Lisa Lawrence , Executive Director – High Desert Community Foundation

Frank Robinson, TOAV Manager


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