Trail Funding in Recent Years

© William B. Dewey

© William B. Dewey

On August 28th County Riding and Hiking Trails Advisory Committee (CRAHTAC) gave a briefing to the County Planning Commission regarding concerns about the draft Gaviota Coast Plan. The presentation provided guidance on the elements they believe are missing from the plan and require the Planning Commission to take action.

  • Goal — A clear goal to expand recreation and trails
  • Objectives — Commitment to strive for improvements
  • Action Items — Measurable performance standards
  • Policies — To promote trails, open space and recreation
  • Tools — Tested County tools to acquire trails, open space and recreation

After the presentation, one of the topics of discussion was the funding of trail construction and maintenance. As part of a follow-up letter, CRAHTAC noted several projects that the Trails Council has taken an active role in. Funding for construction and maintenance of trails is always of concern, particularly during periods when government support is cut-back.

...we think that the Commission should be aware that the community has stepped forward to raise over one million dollars for trail construction projects in just the last three years and has performed literally dozens of major and minor maintenance or trail reconstruction efforts during this same period.  Some examples are briefly highlighted below:

Franklin Trail, Carpinteria: This new major 2.5 mile-long foothill trail construction project entailed raising approximately $780,000 from state and local grants, private donors and the County.  The Trail will open in fall of 2013. This project was managed by the Land Trust and Friends of the Franklin Trail with the Trails Council constructing over one mile of steep foothill trail. The County of Santa Barbara contribute $122,000 to the trail permitting and construction cost.

Ellwood Mesa Coastal Trail: This project involves reconstruction of over 2.2 miles of the California Coastal Trail on Ellwood Mesa and well as development of two coastal access trails. Local and state grants have provided $150,000 in design, public outreach and environmental/ permitting costs.  This project is being managed for the City of Goleta by the Trails Council.

Baron Ranch Trail: This project involves an planned 3.5 mile-long extension of the County’s existing Gaviota area Baron Ranch Trail to the crest of Santa Ynez Mountains.  Over $60,000 local grants and private donations have been raised to date.  The Trails Council is managing planning, design and environmental review for the US Forest Service and has entered into a maintenance agreement with the US Forest Service to ensure long term maintenance of the completed trail.

 Midland School: This project involved rehabilitation, reroute and extension of over 10 miles of trails on the Santa Ynez Valley’s Midland School.  The Trails Council performed the majority of construction work which was funded by $20,000 in private donations. No governmental funds were involved.

Jesusita Reroute: This project involved the rerouting and construction of 1,800 feet of new trail to bypass and eroded and hazardous segment of this heavily used trail.  The Trails Council raised over $4,000 to perform surveys to support easement dedication from a private property owner and perform all construction work. No governmental funds were involved.

In addition to these projects, major maintenance efforts a have been completed on the Rattlesnake, San Ysidro foothill trails, Lake Los Carneros trail system and others across the County.  Community based organizations augment government agency resources financially and through volunteer work. A partial list includes: Back Country Horsemen, Condor Trail Association, Los Padres Forest Association, Los Padres Trail Riders, Montecito Trails Foundation, Santa Barbara County Trails Council, Santa Barbara Mountain Bike Trails Volunteers and other organizations that support nature-based recreation. These and many other examples demonstrate the community’s c commitment to and capability of building and maintaining area trails.

If you are wondering how you can help, consider becoming a member of the Trails Council, making a tax deductible donation or signing-up to be a trail volunteer.

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