Trailhead Plans

by Ethan Stewart

More than 300 people packed into the David Gebhard room at the
City’s Community Development building last week as the longstanding
public debate regarding hiking trail access in Santa Barbara’s
front country was renewed with a vengeance. The Thursday evening
joint meeting included representatives of the City’s parks and
recreation commission, the County parks commission, and the United
States Forest Service — as well as nearly three hours of heated
public testimony. The main instigation for the meeting was a recent
incident on Cold Springs Trail, in which a horse fell to its death
after mountain bikers passed by.

The ad hoc Front Country Trail Working Group (FCTWG) — which has
been working for the past two years to develop a comprehensive
usage plan for the trails — proposed a controversial “odd/even”
plan to regulate bike use. The pilot program — which would govern
Rattlesnake Canyon, the west fork of Cold Springs, San Ysidro,
Jesusita, Romero Canyon, and Hot Springs trails — would limit bike
riding to either odd or even days of the month. The FCTWG also
recommended developing new signs, universal trail etiquette, and a
“trail host” program that would oversee the new rules. Off-road
bicycle enthusiasts — who represented the majority of the
crowd — mostly expressed support for all aspects of the plan except
for the “odd/even” stipulation, which they argued wouldn’t improve
safety and would unfairly restrict bikers. The issue will be
revisited at public hearings later this spring.


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.