(from Paul Nam)
I went to the November 2011 meeting and spoke out in favor of multi-use trails and approved of the Nov 2 preferred draft alternative as it was a true compromise. A central feature of the Nov 2 draft was the core of no bikes accessible trails for the enjoyment of equestrians. This was counterbalanced by the outer loop of the park being accessible to bikes allowing true multi-use regional trail connections. According to the record, only 2 people spoke out in favor of bicycle trails at the Nov 2 meeting. There were many more in the audience, but for one reason or another, they declined to speak.
On March 7th many more cyclists need to attend and speak to give the Nov 2 draft alternative a chance. The equestrian community is not taking this one for granted, and will be attending in support of the March alternative.
I support the November 2, 2011, Preferred Draft Alternative for Calero County Park. I do not support the new March 7 proposed alternative.
The proposed March 7 Revised Preferred Draft Alternative for Calero County Park reduces bicycle trail access by 4.5 miles. These are 4.5 miles of appropriate and popularly anticipated bicycle access to the regional loop access of the Canada del Oro and Figueroa trails.
Hiking, bicycling and horseback riding are all sound means of recreation and transportation. These modes do share trails and roads all over the world and in many places in Santa Clara County. In the specific case of the Calero and Figueroa trails the trails would be signed multi-use and engineered and maintained to establish good sight-lines (improved visibility) and discourage poor high speed bicycle descending behavior.
The Figueroa and Canada del Oro trails are primary connections to the multi-use trail system in Canada del Oro Santa Clara Open Space which represent longer and more advanced riding objectives for equestrians. If equestrians ride into another agency trail system, one that is multi-use, they should be on mounts, and with a mind-set, that are prepared to share trails with other users. The burden of education and sharing is upon the trail user. It works when everyone respects the other. If a trail user, be they hiker, cyclist, or equestrian, wishes to travel on public trails they must moderate their behavior in the spirit of sharing. If they want a private experience, they need to seek and develop private areas. In Calero County Park, if a horse is not accustomed to being around other riders, the owner may decide to train the animal, and in the meantime stay on trails reserved for the exclusive use of equestrians. More advanced riders can then connect into multi-use trail systems in regionally connecting areas such as Canada del Oro OSP, Santa Teresa and New Almaden Quicksilver County Parks.
I do support the equestrian community and admire the skills, culture, industry, heritage, animal husbandry, and beauty of horses and riding. I have ridden horses, and will do so again, no doubt about it. In no way do I wish to abolish horse riding. I do not support the obstruction of modern mountain bike access for exclusive equestrian use either; especially as exemplified in the SCCO March 7 Preferred Draft Alternative for Calero County Park. I do not prefer it. I detest it. It does not serve the equestrian community to close itself off from the stark reality that bicycling is the preferred alternative mode of trail travel for recreation, learning and experience of nature, and physical exercise for the average resident because it is affordable. Bicycle ownership and operation is relatively cheap and inexpensive compared to the ownership or rental of a horse. Because of this economic fact alone, there will be exponentially more people pushing pedals than holding reins in the future of Santa Clara County parks.
In a score of years many will be pushing up daisies while the living will be pushing pedals and nibbling the browse on the 4.82 miles of public shared use trails here in contention at Calero County Park. I hope I will still be pushing pedals and not daisies 20 years from now, but who knows.
Let the November 2, 2011 alternative be the one chosen for implementation.
The county is going to build new trail and re-engineer old ones. These projects are funded by the property owning residents of Santa Clara County and should attempt to serve their interests correspondingly. Fewer people own and ride horses than bicycles. These trails can be engineered to not only be lower maintenance and less erosion prone; they can also be engineered to enhance multi-use passage, sharing, and enjoyment. Encounters with other trail-users can be opportunities for positive social interaction and not dreaded episodes.
“United we stand, divided we fall.” That is applicable to parks and trails. Together we can have the trails and parks we support, divided we lose trails and parks. All park users are really on the same side. Santa Clara County parks encourages us to share the Calero Trails as much as possible. This is evident from the draft alternatives we see proposed.
Let’s share and support Calero County Park together.