Marin County Parks and Open Space Department

Road and Trail Projects

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POSTED ON: September 16, 2016

Cascade Canyon Community Workshop Update

On September 8, 2016, Marin County Parks hosted a community workshop in Fairfax on current proposed projects in the Cascade Canyon Open Space Preserve. Staff opened with a presentation about the Road and Trail Management Plan and its implementation. With the participation of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Biologist, Dan Logan, who presented to the public on salmonid biology and current conditions in the Corte Madera Creek watershed, staff introduced two proposed projects and made recommendations for their implementation. 

  1. A proposed project to decommission the undesignated Happersberger Trail. The Happersberger Trail is highly erosive and steep, with grades up to 35% and areas of degraded native vegetation. A portion of the Happersberger Trail is located on adjacent Marin Municipal Water District (MMWD) lands. This adjacent portion of the trail was left undesignated by the MMWD in its 2005 systemwide trails plan, and it remains a priority for closure and decommission by the MMWD. Consistent with our designation established in fall 2015, the portion of the trail located within the Cascade Canyon Preserve will not be maintained and is subject to decommission as time and resources permit. Under the current proposal, we would decommission the portion of the trail located within this preserve in summer 2017 as a stand-alone project.  
  2. A proposed project to decommission the undesignated High Water Trail, construct two multiuse (pedestrian/equestrian/bicyclists) bridges over San Anselmo Creek, and re-designate the use of a portion of the Canyon Trail from pedestrian/equestrian to full multiuse. This combination of actions would allow for safe year-round access through the canyon, remove all recreational traffic from the creek, and eliminate a significant source of harmful sediment into the creek through the elimination and restoration of the High Water Trail.

San Anselmo Creek is a tributary of Corte Madera Creek. Both Corte Madera Creek and San Anselmo Creek are habitat for federally listed steelhead and native rainbow trout. Both projects would benefit water quality and the native fisheries supported by these streams, as well as allow for the restoration of sensitive native vegetation. Staff recommends implementation of both projects as proposed. A formal public comment period is open on both proposed projects through October 8, 2016. To submit comments, or for more information about what is being proposed and the alternatives studied, contact Chief of Planning and Acquisition Carl Somers at (415) 473-2820.

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POSTED ON: September 9, 2016

Alto Bowl Community Workshop Update

On August 25, 2016, Marin County Parks hosted a community workshop in Mill Valley on current proposed projects in the Alto Bowl Open Space Preserve. Staff opened with a presentation about the Road and Trail Management Plan and its implementation. Next, staff provided an orientation on a future project to repair the Alto Bowl Fire Road, which is undercut by erosion and is failing at its northern end. Informed by detailed feasibility studies and with the participation of consultants who authored the studies, staff introduced two proposed projects and recommendations for implementation.

  1. A proposed project to improve drainage and change the designated use of the Bob Middagh Trail to allow bicycles. The related feasibility study presented a range of physical measures that could be taken to address concerns about comfort and safety, including speed control devices, minor realignments of the steepest sections, and brush removal to improve sight lines. These measures would not be mutually exclusive and the public was invited to weigh in on what specific combination of measures would be most appropriate in conjunction with a change in the designated use to allow bicycles. Staff made a specific recommendation to proceed with implementation, but held off on making a specific recommendation of how the trail could be appropriately improved until public comment is collected and synthesized.
  2. A project to address the severe erosion and barriers to accessibility present along the so-called “Gasline Trail” (a trail connection that follows a PG&E transmission line and gasline alignment between Alto Bowl Fire Road, near its junction with Coach Road, and the Horse Hill Trail). The related feasibility study evaluated alternatives for addressing these issues, including rebuilding the trail in its current location using closely spaced switchbacks, building the trail in its current location using stairs, and building the trail in a new location to the north of its current alignment at a 5 or 10% average grade. The trail is currently designated as dual use (equestrian and pedestrian) and none of the alternatives considered included a change-in-use component. In other words, the use would remain dual use as currently designated. Rebuilding the trail in its current location with closely spaced switchbacks is deemed to be infeasible. Relocating the trail to the north and constructing it at a 5% grade is deemed to be technically possible but too disruptive to the visual and physical environment. Both other options were feasible and presented as viable alternatives. Of the two, relocating the trail and constructing it to a 10% average grade seemed superior because it would cost much less to construct and maintain and would be much more accessible to those with mobility impairments than stairs. Staff recommended restoring the current damage and developing a new trail connection consistent with one of the two feasible and viable alternatives. Staff held off on recommending a specific alternative until public comment is collected and synthesized.

A formal public comment period is open on both proposed projects through September 24, 2016. To submit comments, or for more information about what is being proposed and the alternatives studied, contact Chief of Planning and Acquisition Carl Somers at (415) 473-2820.

The Marin County Open Space District (MCOSD) road and trail projects are part of a science-based, public inclusive, comprehensive plan (RTMP) which addresses the complex challenges of MCOSD roads and trails. The plan was developed over the course of four years on the basis of extensive outreach and public input.   

The MCOSD road and trail projects are designed and implemented to reduce the environmental impact of the road and trail network and enhance visitor experience and safety. During the Road and Trail Management Plan (RTMP) planning process, the following five major habitat and trail improvement projects were prioritized for implementation during the 2016 season.

Fairway Trails Improvement Project and Adoption

Trail Decommission and Adoption in Camino Alto Preserve

This information is also available in a Fact Sheet

The existing network of unsanctioned social trails and abandoned roads near the end of Fairway Drive in Mill Valley is steep and redundant, with significant effects on natural resources. In order to adopt portions of these trails, the MCOSD road and trail crew will restore habitat and adopt portions of a network of trails. Work includes decommissiong and restoration of over 5,500 linear feet of trail and construction of approximately 1,700 linear feet of trail reroute.

Timeline

Project Identified2014
Project Planning2014-2015
ImplementationAugust - Fall 2016

Project Objectives

  • Restore over 20,000 square feet of redwood and bay woodland habitat for threatened northern spotted owl
  • Decrease wildlife habitat fragmentation
  • Establish an improved trail system for visitors exploring the natural communities of this gateway to Mount Tamalpais
  • Provide a designated connection for hikers and bikers between Del Casa Fire Road and the neighboring community

California Environmental Quality Act Documentation

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The MCOSD has approved a portion of the Fairway Trails Project described in the Fact Sheet above. The MCOSD will proceed with the construction of trail improvements between the end of Valle Vista Avenue and the Del Casa Fire Road and the decommissioning of the social trials in the interior of the preserve. The remaining portions of the originally proposed project are on hold for now, while we evaluate use patterns on the existing trails. For more information about the project approval, please see the approved Negative Declaration.

The MCOSD has completed an Initial Study and Draft Mitigated Negative Declaration for this project. These documents are available for public review during a 30-day comment period. For more information, please see the Notice of Availability. Marin County Parks must receive written comments no later than 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 13, 2016. Submit written comments to: 

James Raives
Marin County Parks
3501 Civic Center Drive, Suite 260
San Rafael, CA 94903-4157
(415) 473-3745
(415) 473-3795 (Fax)
JRaives@marincounty.org

Candelero Canyon/Contour Trail Complex Improvements, Adoption, and Decommission Project

Trail Decommission and Adoption in Gary Giacomini Preserve

This update is also available in a Fact Sheet.

The MCOSD road and trail crew will restore habitat and adopt portions of the Candelero Canyon Trail and Contour Trail Complex, including decommission and restoration, drainage improvements, and visitor safety improvements.

Timeline

Project Identified2015
Project Planning2015-2016
ImplementationAugust - Fall 2016

Project Objectives

  • Restore over 8,000 square feet of Mt. Tam and redwood forest habitat.
  • Reduce sedimentation caused by unsanctioned trail construction and historic logging routes.
  • Establish an improved trail system for visitors exploring the serpentine-laced chaparral covered ridges.

California Environmental Quality Act Documentation

Roy’s Redwoods Loop Trail Project

Trail Improvements and Wildlife Habitat Restoration in Roy’s Redwoods Preserve

This update is also available in a Fact Sheet.

The MCOSD road and trail crew is making improvements to the Roy's Redwoods Loop Trail, including installation of bridges and drainage improvements along the existing trail route.

Timeline

Project Identified2014
Project Planning2014-2015
ImplementationJuly - Fall 2016

Project Objectives

  • Reduce sedimentation caused by trail use in the Lagunitas Creek watershed
  • Establish an improved trail system for visitors exploring these primeval groves of bay and redwood trees

Old Railroad Grade Trail Realignment Project

Trail Improvements and Stream Habitat Restoration in Loma Alta Preserve

This update is also available in a Fact Sheet.

The MCOSD road and trail crew is realigning a portion of the Old Railroad Grade Trail, including habitat restoration, bridge installation, and new realigned trail segment.

Timeline

Project Identified2015
Project Planning2015-2016
ImplementationJuly - Summer 2016

Project Objectives

  • Restore approximately 10,000-square feet of oak and bay woodland habitat.
  • Eliminate sedimentation cause by steep grades and visitor traffic in watercourses.
  • Establish an improved trail system for visitors exploring the headwaters of Corte Madera Creek.

Connecting Octopus Access Road and Camino Alto Fire Road Project

New Multiuse Connector Trail in Camino Alto Preserve

This information is also available in a Fact Sheet.

The Marin County road and trail crew will work on trails in the area referred to as the “Octopus Junction” in the Camino Alto Preserve in Mill Valley. The project will restore habitat along 2,500 linear feet of unsanctioned trail and provide a sustainable multiuse connector trail between Octopus Access Fire Road and Camino Alto Fire Road.

Timeline

Project Identified2015
Project PlanningJune 2015-May 2016
ImplementationSummer - Fall 2016

Project Objectives

  • Restore more than 12,000 square feet of oak and bay woodland habitat
  • Eliminate sedimentation caused by unsanctioned trail construction 
  • Build a new sustainable connector that is better for wildlife and visitors exploring the natural communities of this gateway to Mount Tamalpais

California Environmental Quality Act Documentation​