May 16

Henry W. Coe State Park Volunteer Trail Work Suspended

Volunteer trail work in Henry W Coe State Park, infamous for hundreds of miles of steep, guttered, brushy, nondescript trails and dirt roads, is temporarily suspended…due to concerns voiced by staff over the quality and DPR trail standard compliance of the new three mile long Jim Donnelly Trail construction located adjacent to the Hunting Hollow parking area.

The JDT, developed and constructed by volunteers with staff cooperation, has been under construction for a year and a half. The construction process has come under scrutiny due to a few in-sloped. climbing turns, which the DPR specifies to be reconstructed as rolling crown switchbacks, a few rolling grade dips deemed excessive, some grade reversals which were judged to be too abrupt, an unauthorized by-pass, and a lack of overall uniform four foot of full trail bench width. The work stoppage order comes down from the Supervising Ranger, an enforcement officer with no trail building training. This ranger has never picked up a trail tool and contributed labor on any trail work at Henry W Coe State Park. The work stoppage stipulates a prohibition on any tread work in the park without some staff supervision. This effectively stops all maintenance, including brushing, because tread repair and drainage maintenance is a normal part of trail maintenance. It makes no sense to simply brush a trail and ignore tread repair and drainage issues while on-site.

The last trail work event on the JDT was a visit by Volunteers Outdoors California on April 28 and 29. 80 volunteers turned up for a weekend of trail work, free camping, free food, and free beer (sponsored by the Los Gatos Brewing Company). More would have come to the original planned date 2 weeks earlier, but was rained out.

Much was accomplished. A difficult and sensitive area of trail excavation along a riparian corridor of 600 feet long required all spoils to be exported by wheel barrow. This work was very intensive.

Everyone who works on the JDT and trails in Coe will get a commemorative T-shirt.

Thanks to ROMP for their generous donations.

-Paul Nam