1973: Proposed Coastal Trail System

In 1973 a report was published and distributed by Trails Council in partnership with over 25 organizations and agencies. The report set goals that over 40 years later we are still working diligently to achieve.

The good news is two-fold.  The interest in and popularity of Mission to Mission hiking in Santa Barbara County has increased dramatically in recent years. We are also just a few years away from miles of bluff-top trails being added to the California Coastal Trail along the Gaviota Coast. Trails Council recently published the Gaviota Coastal Trail and Access Study Guide (2013) which builds on the coastal trail concept outlined in the 1973 report with a framework to guide future trail planning and construction. Following is an excerpt from the 1973 report.

Santa Barbara County Trails System
Mission to Mission Trails for Hikers, Bikers and Equestrians

SUMMARY: Goals of the Triple Use Trail Plan

Throughout the nation, the demand for recreational activities has increased dramatically. The desire for recreation has awakened a new interest in California's remaining undeveloped areas.

In addition, many people are now considering alternative forms of transportation. The return to nature has also returned Californians to a desire for simpler, more healthful, non-polluting forms of transportation, primarily hiking, hiking and horseback riding.

Santa Barbara, with its year-round equable climate and matchless scenic beauty between the Channel Islands, ocean and Santa Ynez Mountains, is an ideal location for a model triple-use trail. The movement is a healthy one for both the individual and society. It should be supported and encouraged by state and local governments. The scenic and historic resources of this county can be enjoyed without damaging the environment if trails are well designed and access is limited to non-motorized means.

The supporting groups and agencies propose a Santa Barbara County Coastal Trails System — a triple use recreational trails system linking the Santa Barbara, Santa Ines and La Purisima Missions.

The trails system was designed with the following goals in mind:

•  To interconnect four units of the State Park System.

•  To establish a model for triple-use recreational trails.

•  To establish a link in the State of California Pacific Coast Trail System.

•  To provide for the special needs of hikers, bicyclists, and equestrians in the design of the trails system

•  To establish sites for overnight, day-use, and environmental observation at appropriate locations

•  To maximize recreational and wilderness opportunities

•  To protect the natural and historic environment.

Learn More: A copy of the original 30 page proposed Coastal Trails System report is available.

Download: 1973 Santa Barbara County Trails System Proposal (27MB PDF)

1973 Santa Barbara County Coastal Trails System Proposal

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