In an on-again, off-again saga, the Romero Canyon Single Track Trail was finally bulldozed all of the way through yesterday. It seemed as if each day brought a new change in plan with dozers pulled out one day, brought back in the next, and then finally called off on the third.
What is clear is that the single track no longer exists. While the upper part of the route is well graded, Tuesday’s final day of work was rushed, and the trail was left in somewhat of a shambles. Now there is a solid 10-foot wide blade’s width to the trail, with little brushing and lots of debris left behind, but the trail is a mess.
Forest service officials tell me that it wasn’t their intention to leave the trail in such condition but when the containment line was finished in Pendola, the fire danger to the front side of the mountains was no longer there.
“We don’t use dollars from one fire to prepare for or fight the next one,” one of the officials at Live Oak Camp explained. “When Santa Barbara was under threat, we did everything we could to prepare for every contingency, and that included the old Romero Road.”
Rehabilitation dollars may help finish the brushing left behind as well as remove the debris and soft soils. If you are troubled by the condition is which the trail was left you might contact the Forest Service hot line (961-5770) and let them know of your concerns.
While some I talked to were sad of the changes to the trail, one hiker I talked to was excited. “We’ve talked the idea of developing a multi-use trail that everyone could use to death, but honestly, where else could you put one that here? For the first time there may be a crest trail that everyone can use – even the horses.”