Efforts by the Klamath Trails Alliance to raise $8,000 in a matching grant by the year’s end are moving forward. So far, the group has raised more than two-thirds of the challenge grant.

Earlier this month, EcoSolar and Electric offered to match up to $8,000. Alliance members Dennis Taugher and Drew Honzel said the group has raised $5,985, or nearly 70 percent of the goal.

Money raised will be used to build more multi-use trails as part of the developing Spence Mountain Trail system. Three miles of trail were built this past season by professional trail crews from Bend. By combining the EcoSolar grant with community donations, it’s hoped another 2 miles of trail will be built next year.

Taugher and Honzel said the trails alliance was able to provide funding for the first 3 miles and other work after receiving $50,000 from an anonymous donor.

The trailhead is located off Highway 140 West, up from the Howard Bay boat ramp at Upper Klamath Lake. Taugher and Honzel credited the Oregon Department of Forestry for logging an area that fit up to 15 parked vehicles and the Oregon Department of Transportation for providing land for the parking area.

The alliance wants to finish developing the parking area and install an informational kiosk. The Klamath Watershed Partnership is funding the kiosk.

“It’s amazing when you get knowledgeable people together and see what can happen,” Taugher said. “This really needs to be a community effort.”

“It’s been unbelievably amazing,” Honzel agreed. “It has been a great community effort.”

So far, nearly 30 individuals and the Linkville Lopers Running Club have made or committed donations ranging from $5 to $1,000. Donations are tax deductible. Honzel and Taugher said the “soft” fundraising effort has mainly focused on sending letters explaining the campaign to selected individuals, businesses and organizations.

“Drew has almost single-handedly done this,” Taugher said of work by Honzel to develop the Spence Mountain Trail.

The trail is envisioned for use by mountain bikers, hikers, trail runners and, during the winter, cross-country skiers. Based on a 2012 proposal, the ongoing first phase calls for creating a six-mile easy-to-moderate trail along the Spence Mountain ridgeline. Long-range plans envision more than 15 miles of varied difficulty-level trails connecting with Eagle Ridge County Park.

“This is a legacy,” Taugher said of donations to build the Spence Mountain Trail, which already meanders through lush timberlands and offers sparkling views of Upper Klamath Lake. “The trail is going to be here a long time.”