Marin County Parks and Open Space Department

Road and Trail Projects

The Marin County Open Space District (MCOSD) road and trail projects are part of a science-based, public inclusive, comprehensive Road and Trail Management 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. 

2017 Projects and Workshops
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Trail Decommission and Adoption: Gary Giacomini

POSTED ON: APRIL 13, 2017

The MCOSD road and trail crew will restore habitat and adopt portions of a network of previously unsanctioned trails in the Gary Giacomini Preserve, including decommission and restoration, drainage improvements, visitor safety improvements, and adopting the historic Hunt Camp Trail as a hiking and biking accessible trail.

Timeline

Project Identified: 2015
Project Planning: 2016-2017
MCOSD Administrative Public Comment: April 13 to May 15, 2017
CEQA Process: May to June 2017
Project Determination: June 2017

Project Objectives

  • Restore over 18,000 square feet of chaparrel, redwood forest, and grassland habitat.
  • Establish a trail system that is less fragmented for wildlife and improve the sustainability of the visitor experience.
  • Reduce sedimentation entering the watershed caused by poorly performing unsanctioned trails and historic logging roads.

Project Documents

If you have questions or comments regarding this project please contact Regulatory Open Space Planner Kristina Tierney or call (415) 473-5283.

2017 Draft Road and Trail Work Plan

POSTED ON: FEBRUARY 13, 2017

Today the Marin County Open Space District (MCOSD) announces its draft 2017 Road and Trail Work Plan. The work plan, or project list, identifies the road and trail work proposed for implementation between late spring and fall. All projects support Road and Trail Management Plan goals—creating sustainability, reducing environmental impact, enhancing recreation, and improving safety. 

Proposed projects for 2017 include:

  • Alto Bowl Fire Road Sustainability and Access Project
    Alto Bowl Preserve
    Stabilize fire road bed, replace failed culvert, and reduce erosion on Alto Bowl Fire Road
  • Cobblestone Fire Road Sustainability Project
    Mt. Burdell Preserve
    Improve Cobblestone Fire Road for environmental sustainability
  • Irving Fire Road Sustainability Project
    Terra Linda/Sleepy Hollow Preserve
    Improve Irving Fire Road for environmental sustainability
  • Bob Middaugh Trail Recreation, Safety, and Restoration Project
    Alto Bowl Preserve
    Adopt multiuse policy, implement visitor safety improvements, and reduce erosion on Bob Middaugh Trail
  • Cascade Canyon Bridges Project
    Cascade Canyon Preserve
    Install bridges and adopt a multiuse policy on a portion of the Canyon Trail, and restore upland stream bank and decommission High Water Trail
  • Horse Hill Trail Realignment and Restoration Project
    Horse Hill Preserve
    Install Horse Hill Trail extension, restore grassland, and decommission the eroding Gasline Trail
  • Hunt Camp Trail Sustainability and Restoration Project
    Gary Giacomini Preserve
    Adopt and improve Hunt Camp Trail, install Hunt Camp Trail/Manzanita Fire Road connector, and decommission select San Geronimo Valley social trails to protect habitat
Highlights of the 2017 projects include:
  • Commencing multiyear restoration and monitoring processes on erosive fall line recreational trails
  • Improving critical fire road access for use by fire and emergency vehicles 
  • Augmenting bike access to single track trail by 14% 
  • Improving multiuse trail sightlines and excessively steep grades

The draft 2017 Work Plan will be presented at the Parks & Open Space Commission meeting on March 16, 2017. The Board of Supervisors will consider these projects during their June fiscal year 2017-18 budget hearings.

For more information contact Senior Natural Resources Planner Jon Campo at (415) 473-2686 and Chief of Planning and Acquisition Carl Somers at (415) 473-2820.


2016 Projects and Workshops

Bob Middagh Trail: Alto Bowl

The proposal to improve and open Bob Middagh Trail to bicycle use is moving forward. A significant majority of the 400 public comments submitted favored the proposed change. Additionally, the Marin County Open Space District (MCOSD) concluded that, with the recommended trail improvements, the addition of bicycle use on the Bob Middagh Trail could be accommodated in a safe and sustainable manner, and would not have significant effects to natural or cultural resources. Design modifications will be in place prior to allowing bicycle use on the trail. The MCOSD is moving forward with project designs, resource surveys, and environmental compliance. The MCOSD anticipates work will begin in spring 2017.

The proposed realignment of the Gasline Trail, reducing its steep grades, will also move forward. The current alignment is dangerous for hikers and equestrians, and inaccessible to many people with disabilities. The proposed realignment will make this trail safer and more accessible. The next phase of project planning includes design, resource surveys, and environmental compliance. The MCOSD anticipates work will begin in spring 2017.


Candelero/Contour Trails: Gary Giacomini

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 Identified: 2015
Project Planning: 2015-2016
Implementation: August - 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

This update is also available in a Fact Sheet.


Canyon Trail: Cascade Canyon

The proposal to construct two recreational multiuse bridges and adopt a change in use on a segment of the Canyon Trail in Cascade Canyon Open Space Preserve was approved. Construction of the San Anselmo Creek bridges will allow the Marin County Open Space District (MCOSD) to decommission the High Water Trail, which does not meet safety standards. It is anticipated that construction of the Cascade Canyon bridges will begin in summer 2017. With respect to the Happersberger Trail, proposed decommissioning is delayed until it can be implemented in association with a project that provides a similar recreational experience in the general vicinity of the Cascade Canyon Preserve. In the meantime, this trail remains undesignated and, as such, is closed to bicycling, horses, and dogs.


Community Workshops: Alto Bowl

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.


Community Workshops: Cascade Canyon

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.


Fairway Trails: Camino Alto

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 Identified: 2014
Project Planning: 2014-2015
Implementation: August - 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

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
Phone: (415) 473-3745
Fax: (415) 473-3795
JRaives@marincounty.org

This information is also available in a Fact Sheet


Loop Trail: Roy's Redwoods

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

Timeline

Project Identified: 2014
Project Planning: 2014-2015
Implementation: July - 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

This update is also available in a Fact Sheet.


Octopus Junction: Camino Alto

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 Identified: 2015
Project Planning: June 2015-May 2016
Implementation: Summer - 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

This information is also available in a Fact Sheet.


Old Railroad Grade Trail: Loma Alta

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 Identified: 2015
Project Planning: 2015-2016
Implementation: July - 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.

This update is also available in a Fact Sheet.