Carpinteria “It seems that it takes a village to build a trail, at least when you are trying to re-create a lost trail through private farm land, a school campus, city streets and sensitive wildlife habitat. We are fortunate to have virtually the whole village of Carpinteria backing the Franklin Trail.”
— Jane Murray, Co-Chair Friends of the Franklin Trail
After many years of fund raising, planning, environmental review and construction the Friends of the Franklin Trail will gather on Friday, November 1, 2013, at 3:30 to celebrate the official opening of the first phase of the historic Franklin Trail. On hand will be project partners, County Supervisor Salud Carbajal, City of Carpinteria Mayor Brad Stein, and many donors, volunteers, consultants and contractors who worked to bring back this valued community asset.
Friends of the Franklin Trail, a hearty group of volunteers, brought loads of inspiration when they launched an effort in 2010 to get this long-desired trail project moving. In 2011, the Friends group asked the non-profit Land Trust for Santa Barbara County to be a project partner, with the Land Trust providing financial, planning and project management support.
On November 1, the first 2.25 mile segment of the Franklin Trail will open for the public to enjoy. This trail is designated by the County as “multiple use,” that is available to hikers, bike riders, and equestrians. The trail will be closed to horses and bikes until January 2014 to allow for rainfall and foot traffic to help compact the loose trail tread. The trailhead is located at the end of Sterling Ave and Meadow View Lane, at the north end of Carpinteria’s Franklin Park.
Salud Carbajal, Santa Barbara County First District Supervisor commented, “The Franklin Trail is like the “Little Engine That Could,” after nearly 40 years of countless obstacles, the community finally has achieved its vision of reopening the trail and providing public access to the scenic foothills of the Carpinteria Valley. This was made possible by a collaborative effort that included government agencies, nonprofit organizations, property owners and the public at large.”
More than 360 people and foundations made charitable gifts for the trail, complementing government grants secured by the Land Trust from the County of Santa Barbara ($122,000) and the Caltrans Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Program ($200,000). The City of Carpinteria has also been a partner in this endeavor, helping to enhance the City’s existing portion of the trail. Private donations, fundraising events and in-kind services have totaled over $530,000.
This short first segment of the trail was particularly costly due to the need to install a 65-foot pedestrian bridge across a tributary of Franklin Creek, several retaining walls, plus fencing and electric gates to provide security where the trail runs along the Carpinteria High School campus and through a private avocado orchard. An informational kiosk and native landscaping to beautify the trail entrance were installed on the campus.
With the first phase built, the Franklin Trail team will turn next to work with the owner of Rancho Monte Alegre and the U.S. Forest Service to see the trail opened across the remaining five miles to the peak of the Santa Ynez Mountains. From there the trail will connect to East Camino Cielo and to the existing back country trail system along the Santa Ynez River. This second phase of the project is expected to be open in late 2014 or 2015, after needed landowner and regulatory approvals are secured and more money is raised to restore the historic trail route.