How 45 miles of trails get built
This article appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of Landmarks, the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County’s newsletter.
Building 45 miles of trails is taking longer than we expected and, in hindsight, we should have known better – because we are doing something that has never been done before, at least not around here.
Four non-profits are creating a defacto state park (San Vicente Redwoods) and working to build 38 miles of trails through it. (The Land Trust is working on another seven miles on our Watsonville Slough Farm and on the Glenwood Preserve). The San Vicente trails are not just any trails. They are trails for mountain bikers, and trails for hikers and equestrians. They are trails through sensitive wildlife habitat that cross eight creeks. They will be some of the most environmentally-sensitive trails ever built.
Our Conservation Director, Bryan Largay, who has worked on the design of these trails for four years now, says they’ve ruined his hiking experience – because he now sees the weaknesses in trail design everywhere.
One reason it is taking so long is that there are four drivers in the driver’s seat – the four partners who bought the property. We each play different roles, but we all have to sign off on the access plan – and each organization has its own culture and decision-making process. At this point, it looks like we’ll have a finalized access plan by the end of this year, but honestly, it’s looked like that before. It’s taking longer than we expected, but if we weren’t doing it, it wouldn’t ever get done. •