Marin County Parks and Open Space Department

Road and Trail Projects Archive

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

Bob Middagh and Gasline Trails CEQA: Alto Bowl

Work on the Bob Middagh Trail project began on July 11, 2017. The trail was widened to approximately five feet, and steep segments adjusted to a more comfortable grade. Drainage was improved and two failing culverts replaced to help control erosion. Bob Middagh and Gasline Trails were realigned to reduce running slopes, improving erosion control, improve accessibility, and reduce safety hazards. As part of this project, the Marin County Open Space District (MCOSD) designated Bob Middagh Trail for hiking, biking, and equestrian multiuse.

The MCOSD completed a CEQA consistency analysis to determine if the project required a negative determination or environmental impact report (EIR). The consistency analysis concluded that the projects were consistent with the RTMP EIR, because they do not result in new or more significant impacts from project changes, changed circumstances, or new information. Based on this document, the MCOSD determined that it was not necessary to prepare a new EIR or negative determination.

Funded by Measure A, this project helped create a sustainable, multiuse connection between preserves. The Marin County Open Space District (MCOSD) approved these improvements.


Horse Hill Trail: Horse Hill

The Horse Hill Trail Realignment and Restoration Project improved trail safety and restore grasslands. Horse Hill Trail was extended 2,000 feet and Gasline Trail was decommissioned. Completed in July 2017, this project was funded by Measure A.


Hunt Camp Trail CEQA: Gary Giacomini

The Marin County Open Space District (MCOSD) approved proposed improvements to the Hunt Camp Trail in Gary Giacomini Preserve. The approved project included the construction of two trail reroutes on Upper Hunt Camp and the installation of wet crossings and drainage to support incorporation of the trail into the MCOSD trail system as a hiker/biker trail. These improvements were designed to ensure the trail is properly drained and would minimize environmental impacts, while improving user safety. The project proposed to establish a new connecter trail for hikers and cyclists, to be constructed from Lower Hunt Camp Trail to Manzanita Fire Road, to maintain private property rights and reduce unsanctioned trail use through bands of chaparral. Additionally, a small portion of the existing Hunt Camp Trail, connecting to Juniper Avenue, was designated as hiking only, to provide a neighborhood connection to open space.

The Marin County Open Space District (MCOSD) approved a CEQA consistency analysis for this project. The consistency analysis concluded that the project was consistent with the Road and Trail Management Plan Environmental Impact Report (EIR) because it would not result in new or more significant impacts from project changes, changed circumstances, or new information. Based on this document, the MCOSD determined it was not necessary to prepare a new EIR or negative declaration.


Irving Fire Road: Sleepy Hollow

The Irving Fire Road Sustainability Project in Terra Linda/Sleepy Hollow Preserve reduced sedimentation into the watershed and maintained safe emergency access. Completed in July 2017, this project was funded by Measure A.



2016 Projects

Bob Middagh Trail: Alto Bowl

A significant majority of 400 public comments favored improving and opening Bob Middagh Trail to bicycle use. The Marin County Open Space District (MCOSD) concluded that 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. The MCOSD approved moving forward with project designs, resource surveys, and environmental compliance. 

The proposed realignment of the Gasline Trail, reducing steep grades, also moved forward. The original alignment was dangerous for hikers and equestrians, and inaccessible to many people with disabilities. Project planning included design, resource surveys, and environmental compliance. Funded by Measure A, work on this project took place in spring 2017.


Candelero/Contour Trails: Gary Giacomini

The MCOSD road and trail crew restored habitat and adopted 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 High Water Trail, which does not meet safety standards. Proposed decommissioning of the Happersberger Trail was 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. 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 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 was open on both proposed projects through September 24, 2016. 


Community Workshops: Cascade Canyon

On September 8, 2016, Marin County Parks hosted a community workshop in Fairfax on 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 recommended implementation of both projects as proposed. A formal public comment period was open on both proposed projects through October 8, 2016. 


Fairway Trails: Camino Alto

The existing network of unsanctioned social trails and abandoned roads near the end of Fairway Drive in Mill Valley was steep and redundant, with significant effects on natural resources. The Marin County Open Space District (MCOSD) road and trail crew restored habitat and adopted portions of a network of trails. Work included decommissioing 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

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

California Environmental Quality Act Documentation

The following documents were available for public review during a 30-day comment period ending on July 13, 2016. This information was also available in a Fact Sheet.


Loop Trail: Roy's Redwoods

The MCOSD road and trail crew made 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

Marin County Open Space District (MCOSD) road and trail crew worked on the “Octopus Junction” in Camino Alto Preserve in Mill Valley, to 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

  • Restored more than 12,000 square feet of oak and bay woodland habitat.
  • Eliminated sedimentation caused by unsanctioned trail construction.
  • Built a new sustainable connector 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.