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A New Trail Project at Stanford University's Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve

1995 Holiday Party

The "Santa Clara County Trails Master Plan Update"

Dogs Allowed on Trails

Plans for a New Mapping Project

A Generous Donor Writes...

Volunteer of the Month: Sandy Venning

Trail Companion Gets a New Editor

Trail Center Events

Act on Your Good Intentions!

Crew Leader Training Time Again!

A Note From the Editor

Visit the Backcountry of Henry W. Coe State Park

The Trail Companion

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The Trail Companion (ISSN 1528-0241 (print); 1094-222X (online)) is the quarterly newsletter of the Trail Center.

Editor: Scott Heeschen
Staff Writer: Geoffrey Skinner
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Trail Center
3921 E. Bayshore Rd.
Palo Alto, CA 94303
Ph.: (650) 968-7065
info@trailcenter.org

The Trail Companion

January/February 1996

A New Trail Project at Stanford University's Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve

The strong leaves of the box elder tree,
Plunging in the wind call us to disappear
Into the wilds of the universe,
Where we shall sit at the foot of a plant,
And live forever, like the dust.

–Robert Bly

On Dec. 2, 1995, several Trail Center crew members and trail build volunteers gathered at Stanford University's Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve to work on the Mapache Trail. Located off of Sand Hill Road on Highway 280, Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve is one of the best preserved wildlands in the Bay Area and is used by university researchers and docent-led group hikes for studies and educational tours respectively. The preserve lies hidden in the ridges east of Portola Valley and contains a rich variety of plant and animal life - a small wilderness where nature is left to its own accord with only the slightest human disruption.
      Upon entering the locked gate, we drove along meandering dirt roads past the piles of giant PVC tiles, trailers, make-shift greenhouses until we came up on the west side of Searsville Lake where we parked our cars. After a briefing on the Mapache Trail Project, we began our hike into the preserve by crossing a large wooden bridge which took us across a bordering creek and into a cool narrow canopied trail - rich, thick vines and leaves were around and above us like a lush green tunnel. This seemingly obscure and out of place setting was surprising because unlike the more common drier trails of California or the typical wooded pine, redwood or sequoia trails, this particular patch of land along with the surrounding swamps looked like a trail I had hiked in the swamps of Southern Florida's Lake Okechobee except there were no alligators here. This preserve is what some parts of California must have looked like many centuries ago. Soon enough, we reached a clearing where the familiar tool truck was parked and as customary, we covered safety regulations and broke into three work groups.
      The first group worked on rerouting 50 ft of trail to move the creek crossing upstream, avoid ponding and decrease the grade on either side of the creek. The task was nearly complete with much of the poison oak being cleared out. We will continue to watch drainage patterns before deciding about any culverts or other structures to be built. The second group completed work on brushing 300 ft. of a poison oak-laden route which will be ready for tread work on the next work day. Lastly the third group worked on rerouting about 1100 ft of trail uphill to avoid a swampy area that has prevented researchers and hikers from reaching an important bird-watching area. The entire route - an obstacle course among woodrat nests, gullies and fence posts - has been flagged and about half has been rough-brushed. We will continue brushing and treading this route on the next workday.
      The work on the Mapache Trail is a long-term project scheduled to last till June 1996. If you would like to participate, see the schedule for the trail build events and come see one of the most beautiful preserves in the Bay Area!

      – Judie Corrales


1995 Holiday Party

About 25 people came out for our 1995 Holiday Party which was held on December 4th at the Trail Center facility in Palo Alto. In a speech to highlight the year's accomplishments, Larry MacMillen , spoke of the work completed at Castle Rock State Park; the flagging and initial work started at Stanford's Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve which will be an ongoing project for 1996; map completion of Windy Hill and Saratoga Stevens Creek; and a mid-year change of staff which brought in Cindy Stead as the Outreach Coordinator and Alice Stern as Office Coordinator. A retirement announcement and a thank you went to Cathy Sewell who served as Board Member Secretary.


The "Santa Clara County Trails Master Plan Update"

On November 14, 1995, Trail Center Board Members, Geoffrey Skinner and Darwin Poulos, along with 300 people from various organizations, addressed the Santa Clara Board of Supervisors to urge the adoption of a revised and updated plan to that of what was formerly known as the Trails Master Plan. In 1980, Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors initiated the formulation of a Trails Master Plan which outlined proposals for several local and regional trail routes. However, the original fifteen-year old Trails Master Plan did not formally document policies and practices that the County agencies utilize in developing trail corridors and easements.
      To address inconsistencies, the Santa Clara Board of Supervisors began to revise the Trails Master Plan and in 1990, they created the Trails Plan Advisory Committee (TPAC) which comprised of members from a diverse interest group including trail users, landowners and government agencies. The goals of the Trails Plan Advisory Committee were to "document trail policies and practices" and "develop and implement public process to define and improve ambiguous trail routes in the 1980 Plan". The TPAC Committee would then develop, revise and document policies and procedures inherent in the 1980 Plan. Whereas the 1980 Trails Master Plan comprised of a map outlining general trail routes with some accompanying text, the Trails Master Plan Update detailed specific routes as well as construction guidelines for the trails. The Updated Plan also provided protection of landowner's rights. Specifically, "the County will provide indemnification of landowners from liability connected to a trail easements on their property and the County will not use the power of eminent domain to create trail easements across a landowner's property". The above provisions are important because they encourage landowner's to allow development of trails on their property. The only exception to the eminent domain clause is connected to land use, such as in the case of an owner wishing to develop the land or change its use; the county can then use its power of eminent domain. After two and a half years of monthly Committee meetings, field walks, public hearings and workshops, TPAC published the Trails Master Plan Update. Amidst much emotion by both trail advocates and landowners, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted the Trails Master Plan Update. If you would like a copy of the Updated Plan, call the Santa Clara County Publications at (408)453-6959.

      –Darwin Poulos


Dogs Allowed on Trails

The Directors of the Midpeninsula Open Space District voted to allow dogs on trails after three years of studies and public meetings with a community task force. After complaints from dog owners of trail usage inequality, the directors expanded the total to 38 miles of leashed dog trails which include areas in Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve near Interstate 280 and Edgewood Road in San Carlos, Thornewood Preserve near Woodside Road east of Skyline Boulevard, Coal Creek Preserve east of Skyline Boulevard and south of Portola Valley, and four miles of designated trails at Windy Hill Preserve. Additionally, dogs are now allowed on all trails at three preserves in Fremont Older near Cupertino and St. Joseph's Hill and Sierra Azul near Los Gatos. An unleashed area in Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve is currently under development.




Plans for a New Mapping Project

The Trail Center mapping committee will be starting a new mapping project this spring. If you are interested in volunteering, please call the Trail Center, (650) 968-7065, to let us know. We will send you information at a later date about an organizational meeting.


A Generous Donor Writes...

"...I very much appreciate your trails and your maps. I would rather pay this money to you than to a heart surgeon..."

     Back to Top


Volunteer of the Month: Sandy Venning

Sandy Venning was, until this fall, member of the Trail Center Board of Directors, and Trail Companion editor for the past six years. I asked her how she first heard about the Trail Center. "I was hiking at Huddart Park one day in 1987 and saw one of our brochures. It sounded so cool! I love hiking, and I thought it would be a great way to get connected." She became a member, and a year later, the Trail Companion editor, handling her newsletter responsibilities with the same skillfulness and good-natured ease she brings to her full-time job as documentation manager at Oracle Corporation.
      During her tenure, Sandy made sure that 36 issues of the Trail Companion got produced and into the mailboxes of Trail Center members. After her co-editor left four years ago, she did everything from soliciting articles, to editing, designing the layout, and coordinating the printing. If she came up short of volunteers, she'd write the articles herself. I asked her if there had been any rough spots along the way. "Usually things came together pretty close to the deadline," she admitted with a smile. The result was late nights and busy weekends, as newsletter deadlines seemed to mysteriously coincide with work deadlines. Yet Sandy acknowledges others who helped along the way. "The success of the newsletter depends upon contributions from lots of people," she says. "It's always gratifying to see the finished product, but the best thing about being editor is being able to meet other people with similar interests." She credits the many members and volunteers who provided personal accounts of their hiking, biking, and trail building experiences for everyone to share. Over the years, she has seen the newsletter grow to 16 pages and get a streamlined new look from graphic artist, Jennifer Gardin. Sandy feels her biggest contribution was switching to a printer which uses recycled paper and soy-based, rather than petroleum-based ink.
      Her concern for the environment doesn't end with the Trail Center. "I walk just about everywhere on weekends and try to devote at least one day a week to not taking the car. I live right near the train station, so I don't have an excuse," she laughs. I asked Sandy to tell me about her favorite hike. "Berry Creek Falls in Big Basin Redwoods State Park is my current favorite," she says. "It was a 'Bike Ride of the Month' that I first read about in the newsletter. The 11-mile round trip takes you from Waddell Creek on Highway 1, through dry coastal scrub, then redwoods, to a really nice place with three waterfalls. You can sit and soak your feet, or have lunch before walking back." Sandy lives in Menlo Park with Bill, a physicist, and her partner of 13 years, whom she met on a work crew for the Nature Conservancy. She claims the relationship is further proof that "building trails pays!" We're grateful for Sandy's legacy, a lively and informative newsletter infused with her warmth, spirit, and love of the outdoors. With this issue, she is hanging up her red pencil, but we'll still be seeing Sandy around the Trail Center.

      – Anne Bers


Trail Companion Gets a New Editor

There's a new name on the Trail Companion masthead. With this issue, Judie Corrales takes over from former editor, Sandy Venning. "Sandy will be a hard act to follow," Judie says, "but she's offered to help whenever I need it. I'm looking forward to learning a lot." Judie is a technical instructor/writer at Ultratech Stepper, a company in San Jose that makes photolithography equipment. She became involved with the Trail Center in the fall of 1994, when she read in the paper about a trail build at Alum Rock. "It was my first trail build. We worked laboriously for six hours, and as we headed back, I noticed people assembling at the main crossroad. They came for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to dedicate the trail. It's now known as the Todd Quick Trail, named after an Alum Rock park ranger who succumbed to cancer. His family and friends came to celebrate with us. I thought 'this is really neat!'" Since then, Judie has participated in other trail builds. She is enthusiastic about her new role as editor. "I feel we're so blessed with this beautiful nature all around us. The newsletter is a wonderful medium for reaching out to people who want to preserve our parks and open spaces." Welcome, Judie!
      – Anne Bers


Trail Center Events

Thursday, February 8, 6:30
Trail Center Board meeting.

Tuesday, February 27
Mailing party to send out the Activity Schedule. Call to confirm time. Meet new friends and swap hiking tales with other volunteers!

Thursday, March 14, 6:30 pm
Trail Center Board meeting.

Tuesday, March 26
Mailing party to send out the next Trail Companion. Call to confirm date and time. Meet new friends and swap hiking tales with other volunteers!

Wednesday, March 27
Deadline to sign up for Crew Leader Training Workshop (April 13-14). See article in this issue for details.


ACT ON YOUR GOOD INTENTIONS!

Trail building is a great way to give back to your community and nature while also doing something for yourself - exercising and having fun outdoors with new and old friends! You owe it to yourself to take the extra step and hit the trails with us!
      Tools, gloves, training, and supervision provided! Just bring sturdy shoes, long sleeves and pants, sunscreen, water, lunch, and gloves if you have them.
      Call today for more information and to reserve a space on one or all of the following trail building events!

Trail Building Events

     
February 10 Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve (1) (rain date Feb. 24)
March 2 Arguello Park (2) (rain date Mar. 9)
March 23 Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve (1) (rain date Mar. 30)
April 13-14 Crew Leader Training - Hidden Villa
April 27 California Trail Days - Arguello Park
May 18 Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve (1) (rain date May 25)
June 1 National Trail Days - Arguello Park
June 22 Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve (1)
  1. Trail work at Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve from 9:00 am - 3:00 pm. We will be building about 3/4 mile of new trail through a beautiful stream side site in a biological preserve at Stanford that has limited public access. Come help us on this exciting project! You must RSVP to the office and arrive on time to be admitted through locked gate.
  2. Trail work at Arguello Park in San Carlos from 9:00 am - 3:00 pm. We will be constructing a new trail through oak woodlands to allow for convenient circulation into the park from the neighborhood.





Crew Leader Training Time Again!

Becoming a Trail Center crew leader is one of the most effective ways you can support our work in the name of trails and open space! We need more crew leaders to keep up with the desire of our volunteers to build and improve trails and the number of agency request for our services.

      If you've enjoyed trail building and would like to enhance your skills in order to assist others, consider joining us for our annual Crew Leader Training Workshop. On the weekend of April 13-14, theTrail Center's crew leaders will once again head up to Hidden Villa to pass along their crew-leading skills and wisdom. Bring enthusiasm and a desire to make new friends while learning the basics of trail construction, tool safety as well as leadership skills needed to help others enjoy trail building.

      This annual workshop is one step on the path to crew leadership. The rest of the training process includes an apprenticeship and first aid certification. In the apprenticeship, trainees work at their own pace to master a list of skills while working closely with experienced crew leaders at trail builds.

      The workshop is free to Trail Center members and trail builders; other folks are welcome for a fee of $60. The weekend will include a mixture of lectures, hands-on sessions, a Saturday eveningpotluck, and overnight accommodation at the Hidden Villa hostel. Register before March 26 by calling Cindy at the Trail Center office: 415-968-7065.


A Note from the Editor

We are always on the lookout for interesting articles. If you would like to contribute an article(s) - Hike/Bike of the Month, horse or dog trail adventures, nature poems, trail build experiences, interviews, environmental/trail issues - or if you have any comments about the Trail Companion Newsletter send articles and comments to Judie Corrales. Happy writing!

Visit the Backcountry of Henry W. Coe State Park


      For one spectacular weekend this spring, Henry W. Coe State Park will open the gate at Bell Station on Highway 152 east of Gilroy. The annual Coe Backcountry Weekend held in the little traveled east side section of the park is scheduled for April 27 and 28. This event, sponsored by the Pine Ridge Association, allows visitors vehicle access to a remote and beautiful area of the 80,000 acre park. Hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians have a unique opportunity to see and enjoy an area isolated by long distances and rugged terrain from the park's Morgan Hill entrance.
      This area of the park puts on a spring extravaganza of colorful wildflowers in the oak woodland. Fishing for bass and sunfish is excellent in secluded ponds and reservoirs. The trails provide panoramic views of the Diablo Range. Visitors may come into the park for the day, camp overnight at Oristimba Corral or Pacheco Creek Crossing, or backpack to one of the seldom visited areas of the park. They may explore on their own or join a guided ride or hike, or participate in naturalist activities. Brochures, maps, information, activities, and volunteer assistance will be available.
      Participants will travel 8.5 miles on an unpaved road from Bell Station to Pacheco Creek Crossing or an additional 3.8 miles to the Oristimba Corral. The road is in good condition and passable by two-wheel drive vehicles, although there are some narrow and steep sections requiring high clearance. Four-wheel drive is strongly recommended for towing horse trailers. Because of several steep creek crossings, the road is not suitable for camp trailers or motor homes.
      Entry for the weekend is by reservation only. Flyers announcing the event and providing an application form are available at hike, bike and equestrian businesses such as REI and bicycle shops, as well as at the Trails Center and at Park Headquarters. Or call the Henry Coe State Park section office in Gilroy at (408) 848-4006 and leave your name, address, and phone number on the recording. An application with additional information will be mailed to you.
      Applications and entry fees, $5.00 per vehicle for day use, $10.00 per vehicle for overnight, must be returned by APRIL 5. A lottery drawing will be held to meet the 330 vehicles per day space limitation. All unsuccessful entry forms will be returned with their checks to the applicants. No dogs will be allowed. Camp stoves will be permitted, but no open fires, barbecues or hibachis. A group campfire will be held on Saturday night.
      Join us for an unforgettable experience. The backcountry of Henry W. Coe State Park on a spring weekend is not to be missed!
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