Thursday, July 2, 2009

7/1/09 Task Force Public Hearing/ Jesusita Fire Trails Re-opening Recommendations

Dear Trail Users,

If you were one of the 20 or so people who attended the public hearing at City Hall yesterday, you missed a long but informative 2 1/2 hour meeting. The opening and most anticipated subject was the trails affected by the Jesusita Fire and when they might be re-opened. The Task Force designated the agency staff from the USFS, County, and City to make recommendations, since they have the most recent information. Staff then recommended that Rattlesnake Canyon Trail and West Fork of Cold Springs Trail be re-opened. They recommended that Jesusita Trail to Inspiration Point from the San Roque TH be re-opened after fixing some problem areas. Because of sensitivity of neighbors in the Mission Canyon area, and construction work, trails accessed by the Tunnel Trail Head at the end of Tunnel Road were recommended to remain closed for now. The Task Force will revisit this issue at the September 2nd meeting and may make more recommendations then.

Note: The trails affected by the Jesusita Fire including Jesusita, Tunnel, Rattlesnake, and West Fork of Cold Springs are still closed but some are recommended to re-open.

2nd Note: Because of loss of vegetation on hillsides in the burn area, trails may be subject to future closures due to water runoff issues come winter.

We will post any trail openings on our website and of course will send out emails when those openings are to occur. It is without saying that these recommendations to re-open trails closed by the Jesusita Fire could not have been made had it not been for the large amount of volunteers that came out on June 13th to help clear the trails- Thank You!

Other topics of this public hearing included status of the FCT Recommendations. The Task Force spent a long time discussing the management aspects of the rec's which include assessing current trail conditions, developing a trail classification system, trails planning, policy, regulations and trail use designation. Staff also unveiled new trail head signage to be installed at all the local trail heads. See the new signage HERE.

Trail maintenance including the June 13th event was summarized as were other recent trail work events. The Task Force unanimously approved use of the UTAP trail assessment system but recommended that the company who created UTAP, Beneficial Designs, do the assessment. Several public speakers shared their opinion that volunteers not take part in the trail assessment. We agree this should be done by professionals as some of this data may be used for future trail access issues and we want this information to be as accurate as possible. Trail surveying may begin as early as October 2009 but some discussion remains on what data will be collected during the survey process.

Finally a schedule of public hearings was announced for the rest of the year. There will be two more meetings this year, September 2nd and December 2nd, both at 5:30 PM to be held in the city council chambers.

*Task Force Changes: The Task Force welcomed new members City Parks Commissioner Scott Burns and County Parks Commissioner Judith Dale who replaced Chair Steve Forsell and Commissioner James Hickling. Suzanne Perkins is now the chair and Beebe Longstreet is the vice chair.

Thank you,

The Multiuse Trails Coalition,

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