California Recreational Trail Plan Update
California State Parks has quietly begun the process of updating the California Recreational Trails Plan. They began seeking public input through the first of a series of meetings last month. They’re asking the public to take a survey asking what you think of the goals of the Recreational Trails Plan (see slides below), and whether you have any recommended additions or changes to the plan as it stands.
The plan hasn’t been updated since 2011. AB1789, a bill championed by the California Mountain Biking Coalition, was signed into law by Governor Newsom last year. The bill, as passed, requires California State Parks to update the plan every five years.
The first public meeting was held on March 31st in Palm Springs, immediately following the California Trails and Greenways Conference. The majority of those present were the CAMTB crew and friends since we’d made sure that our colleagues knew about the meeting. About a dozen advocates representing ten mountain bike organizations spent a good hour discussing the plan, the update process, its shortcomings, and possibilities for expansion with State Parks staff. We hope to see our comments reflected in the public meetings going forward.
The public meeting consisted of a series of printouts from the 2011 progress report, a map showing existing trail corridors, and the meeting presentation, below:
One question on the survey asks whether State Parks should do motorized and non-motorized trail planning separately or in a combined effort. Our legislative team hasn’t yet discussed which approach we’d prefer. However, at the same time as the Recreational Trail Plan meeting, there was an Open House for the Off-Highway Vehicle Access Project in the room next door.
OHV planning has relevance to us, as we’re exploring with State Parks the possibility of building bike-optimized trails in OHV buffer zones. The OHV Community at the meeting next door was also being asked whether to combine OHV and Non-motorized trail planning at the State level. They were encouraged to fill out both the OHV Access Project Survey and the Nonmotorized Recreational Trail Plan Survey.
Other questions on the survey ask for submissions of new potential trail routes. The criteria are on one of the easel photos above. There’s an option to upload files to support those submissions in the survey. We will continue research, do outreach, and take our time to develop meaningful comments.
We expect at least two more in-person meetings and one online meeting, the minimum required. We made our desire known for more opportunities to provide meaningful input to the plan. For now, please fill out the survey, and stay tuned for announcements for upcoming meetings.