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Last week the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) authorized seeking up to $6 million in a federal grant to build 6.3 miles of trail from Wilder Ranch to Coast Dairies. Earlier this month the Land Trust Board promised to contribute $3 million in matching funds if the feds will approve the grant. The California Coastal Conservancy is planning on putting in $950,000 as well.

The grant is part of the Federal Lands Access Program (FLAP). RTC and the Land Trust partnered in 2013 to seek a bigger grant to build more trail. This year we’re asking for less and increasing the Land Trust match from 11% to 40% in the hopes of increasing the chances of getting the grant. There’s a lot of competition for this and other grants – which is why the Land Trust’s matching funds are so important to getting the Rail Trail built. Our Board’s willingness to increase the match demonstrates our willingness to do what it takes to get these grants and get this trail built.

The 6.3 miles of trail includes 4.6 miles of the Coastal Rail Trail and another 1.7 miles of natural surface spur trails. We’ll find out if we get the funds in April. If we do, that will mean that a quarter of the 32-mile rail trail will have already been funded – with funds for segments in Watsonville and Santa Cruz already lined up and work underway.

This grand vision is turning into reality, step by step – and we’re excited to be a part of it!

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Stephen Slade is the Executive Director at Land Trust of Santa Cruz County. He has more than 40 years non-profit experience in fundraising, communications, and management – and a deep passion for the lands that make Santa Cruz special.

Find out more about Stephen Slade…

This Post Has 3 Comments
  1. I was born in Santa Cruz and plan on raising a family here someday soon. A new trail would be fantastic. I think it is very important to also consider all of the possibilities of a newly cleared area. I assume the goal is to maximize the use of the trail encouraging people of all walks, shapes and sizes to make good use of it. Santa Cruz county has become a Mecca of sorts for a rising activity in disc golf. Many people of our community have embraced disc golf as a very positive activity providing them with a means to exercise, walk the dog, and/or spend important bonding time with their kids. I would love to help aid in the trail in any way I can and also help envision the possibility of expanded uses of the area for important outdoor activities like disc golf. Please let me know your thoughts. Thank you for being such a positive influence in the community Mr. Slade.

  2. Waldo — Welcome to the county! The design of the Wildlife Crossing is a Caltrans project, not something the Land Trust is involved with. Our role is to protect the land on either side. My understanding is that Laurel Curve is built over a natural drainage that has been filled in — which makes it cheaper to build a tunnel than a overpass. But I’m no engineer and Caltrans has plenty of them. Call or email our office and we’ll find a time to talk.

  3. I live close to the glenwood wildlife meadow and recently learned about the Laurel Curve project. I am a retired wildlife biologist and worked for Caltrans in the 70’s doing designs and followup studies of wildlife use of freeway crossings. In the 80’s worked for an international firm and designed(directed engineering work) for several structures for wildlife mitigation.

    I am rather new to this area but my personal findings with ;both under crossings and over crossings is that the latter are more effective . I talked to the lead biologist in Nevada for the I-80 freeway corridor and he has moved toward over crossings and has done some comparisons. Further the over crossings are cheaper in that they need only be designed for carry wildlife not cars(well soil and plantings do move the design up a bit) but certainly disrupt traffic less.
    Anyway I would like to get involved in your projects, and discussions of the future of wild lands in the area.

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