Dec 17

Sierra Azul Bear Creek Redwoods OSP Input Needed

In case you missed the opportunity to provide some input at the Sierra Azul / Bear Creek Redwoods Master plan Meeting earlier this month, you can send in an email with your comments.

Please provide your feedback to
Ana Ruiz, Project Planner
Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District
330 Distel Circle
Los Altos, CA 94022
Email: masterplan@openspace.org

Things to Say:
– Open Bear Creek Redwoods to Bikes!
– Support Option C
– More contour line trails like the Priest Rock to Kennedy option
– Open a bike corridor through Rancho de Guadalupe
– Permit back country camping
– Plan a trails network based on desired routes and modern design techniques rather than on existing trails. Implement it over time.
– Support regional trail connectors such as Limekiln to St. JoesephsThe District proposed three basic ideas to choose from, and said that these ideas could also be selected amongst in a smorgusboard type fashion. The first option, A, is to do nothing – status quo. The second and third options involved increasing public access, and removing legacy buildings to various degrees.

Both B and C options call for leaving Bear Creek Redwoods closed to bikes. While this will be unpopular to the residents of Summit Road who would like bike commute options, their rationale for this was reasonable. They said that this preserve already has a stable on it and a history of equestrian use, and also does not interconnect to neighboring preserves, which is largely correct.

The Basic difference in plans B and C are the amount of parking spaces in the parking lots, number of camp sites, and miles of trail open to the public. Generally speaking, I support option C, with a few caveats.

The “planning” of trails largely involved deciding which existing fire roads to open to the public and which ones to restore to a natural state by slashing and replanting vegetation. I think this is a really shortsighted way to plan, although one could argue that it maintains the historical nature of the preserve. As this is a plan, I would strongly encourage the district to plan some more contour line trails, and shorter loops near trail heads.

Both options would open the vast majority of trails in Sierra Azul, leaving the Rancho de Guadalupe area closed to cyclists. The rationale for that is its proximity to an “urban” center, that it will probably be used by families and proximity to a stable. With Plan C, a trail would be open from Rancho de Guadalupe up to the alignment of the Bay Area Ridge Trail. Since this would be a regional trail connector, I would hope they would open at least a bike corridor through this area, which could someday provide a good loop in conjunction with Almaden Quicksilver.

Other areas that may prove contentious in the mountain bike community are the re-alignments of Rattlesnake and Dogmeat (Upper Priest Rock) Trails. The re-alignments are deemed necessary due to erosion and water quality issues.

Of interest in the plan was a few campsites. One would be 2.5 miles up Kennedy, and another just 3/4 miles up rattlesnake near SDF. The policy is to provide camp sites with bathrooms and water, so remote campsites seem to be out of the question. I did not ask if back country camping will be possible. I think not.

Plan B calls for the removal of all buildings in BCR except the Chapel (and stables) which would be restored. In Sierra Azul, it calls for the removal of all buildings except the Monolith. Plan C calls for the removal of all buildings except the stables.

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