Magazine article Parks & Recreation

A Trails System for the Ages

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

A Trails System for the Ages

Article excerpt

Earlier this year, trail enthusiasts achieved an historic victory for trails in Southern California. San Diego County approved the adoption of a revolutionary new County Trails Program (CTP). The new plan, a work in progress for more than a decade, will expand the county's already extensive 300-mile trail network to more than 1,500 miles, and will cover every region of the county's 4,200-square-mile land mass. The amazing diversity of trails in the plan will provide numerous benefits to the local economy and unique recreation opportunities for San Diego residents and visitors.

The backbone of the plan is a 500-mile network of nine regionally and historically significant trails that cover the county from all directions. It includes the southern-most segment of the Pacific Crest Trail, which runs north from the Mexican border all the way to Canada; and the Trans County Trail, which runs west from the Imperial Desert to the Pacific Ocean. The nine regional trails link to 18 community trail plans that comprise an additional 1,000 miles. More than one million hiking and riding enthusiasts who live in the county and countless visitors already enjoy the current trail network on a regular basis.

The CTP is a natural complement to San Diego County's award-winning Multiple Species Conservation Program, which protects close to 100,000 acres of sensitive habitat. The county is home to more types of rare and endangered plant and animal species than any other comparable land area on the continent. Much of the trail network will traverse in non-obtrusive ways through this biologically diverse environment. "The plan for trails is a huge enhancement for now and our future. In these busy days, people need the opportunity to see and appreciate the natural world around them," said Joan Embery, a wildlife preservationist and advocate for the CTP.

A key to the success of the CTP is the unique partnership among local, state, federal and private landowners. …

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