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Contents

New Trail Map Available!

A Letter to All Trail Enthusiasts

President's Column

Welcome to our new Outreach Coordinator!

Thanks for a Successful California Trail Days 1996!

A New Guide to Reaching the Outdoors by Public Transit -- New From the Trail Center

Footloose and Fancy Free

Saturday Night at the Movies... June 15, 1996

Wish List

So You Don't Like Trail Work?

Do You Have Carpentry Skills?

Volunteer of the Month: Richard W. Allsop

How Crew Leaders Are Made

Trail Center Profile: Beneficial Design's Peter Axelson, Part One

Trail Center Events

The Trail Companion

Current issue

Back Issues

Guidelines for Submission


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
Resources

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Trail Center
3921 E. Bayshore Rd.
Palo Alto, CA 94303
Ph.: (650) 968-7065
info@trailcenter.org

The Trail Companion

May/June 1996

New Trail Map Available!

Our long-awaited Trail Map of the Southern Peninsula has arrived, just in time for summer! This colorful contour map shows trails in two dozen parks of the central Santa Cruz Mountains, including such favorites as Windy Hill, Monte Bello, Skyline Ridge, and Rancho San Antonio Preserves.


     Our Southern Peninsula Map shows these parks and preserves:


Arastradero Preserve
Byrne Preserve
Coal Creek Preserve
Coal Mine Ridge Preserve
Esther Clark Park
Foothills Park
Foothills Preserve
Fremont Older Preserve
Hakone Japanese Garden
Hidden Villa
Los Trancos Preserve
Long Ridge Preserve
McClellan Ranch Park
Monte Bello Preserve
Pescadero Creek County Park (part)
Picchetti Ranch Area
Portola State Park (part)
Rancho San Antonio County Park
Rancho San Antonio Preserve
Russian Ridge Preserve
Skyline Ridge Preserve
Stevens Creek County Park
Upper Stevens Creek County Park
Windy Hill Preserve
      Trails and fire roads are color-coded to show hiking, equestrian, and bicycling opportunities, and most include mileage. In addition, the map shows visitor facilities such as parking, restrooms, picnic areas, overnight camping, and parks open to dog use.
      The folded map can be purchased from the Trail Center and the PCC Store, and will soon be available at many local outdoors stores and bookstores. The introductory price is $6.50 including tax.
      Trail Center volunteers have spent hundreds of hours gathering the information for the map since October 1990. Teams surveyed the trails with measuring wheel and compass, and several individuals plotted the trail using spreadsheets and hand-drafting, then transferred the data to a mock-up on USGS maps. In early 1995 we took the mocked-up map and text to CartoGraphics, the company which produced our Peninsula Parklands Map. Over many months they traced the map into the computer and prepared it for printing - tasks which proved more technically challenging and took more late nights than anyone anticipated. We are pleased to present the fruits of these labors to you, and we can hardly wait to try out the map ourselves.
      We are grateful to the many volunteers who helped along the way, and to the public agency staff who reviewed the map. A great big thanks to Recreation Equipment Incorporated for their generous grant of $10,000 for volunteer involvement! Sales of this new map will recycle and multiply funds for our volunteer mapping and trail-building programs for years to come.
      See you on the trail!


     Thanks to the following Trail Center volunteers for their work on our Southern Peninsula Map:

Alan Bagley
Craig Beckman
Sheryl Cochrane
Jerry Cooley
Gina and David Earle
Sharon Evans
David Hansen
The late Bob Harris
David Koffman
Al Lissin
Peter Massek
Troy Nielsen
Jack Newlin
Ben Pease
Phillip Pendleton
Peter Petri
Darwin Poulos
Chris Powell
Shiz Seigel
Bern Smith
Mike Smith
Berry Stevens
Lenny Stovel
Tom Williams
And anyone we may have forgotten.

- Ben Pease


A Letter to All Trail Enthusiasts

Each trail each time is a new place, but trails have some things in common. They are the lines connecting the dots of human experience. All history -- like all politics -- is local, and trails connect localities. Events linked over space are trails; events linked over time are stories. There is no better way to experience the life embodied in those stories than to take to a trail at the same pace as that of the actors in those stories -- to walk, or ride, engaging with the appearance of new landscapes at a sufficiently deliberate pace so as to permit that landscape to "register" as a photograph registers, but, unlike a photograph or a videograph, in all dimensions and engaging all our senses.
      Trails are also places in themselves, attenuated and ever-changing, having their own integrity. Many come to mind: the Santa Fe Trail, the Grand Portage Trail, the Great Hopewell Road, and the Caminos Reals.
      Preserving trails is one aspect of preserving places. Both preservation and conservation are traversed by them, because trails have history and because they traverse landscapes. Trails, made by many feet, are "common ground," easements into community. As the very concepts of common ground, of common understandings, or community are all under threat today, trails help in the defense. They speak of the past and present necessity. They speak of one person going to see another, symbolizing both reflection and understanding.
      I've been a hiker for 65 years. For me, trails have been the primary way of engaging with the earth and with the other species with which we share it. I've always liked the idea of walking to places -- especially historical places -- and have enjoyed doing so from southern Manhattan to the Napali Coast.
      These places need protection. Let's join together, in joy, to protect them.

Roger Kennedy, Director of USDI National Park Service
Re-printed from America's Trail Directory, 1995


President's Column

Hello! I'm Scott Heeschen, the new Trail Center Board of Directors president. When I look back on my earlier days with the Trail Center, it might seem strange, but I was more nervous going to my first trail build than any of the other things I've done with the organization. It was several months before I worked up the courage to actually come out and help build a trail, and only then because a friend and I both agreed to do it together. At the end of the day, I was wondering what had taken me so long. I had a great time doing something worthwhile, learned a lot, and met many great people. I continued coming out, and was encouraged to become a crew leader. After learning much more, and enjoying it all, I finally got my red shirt (which is now pink and black, due to effects of sun and poison oak). That led to joining the Crew Leader Training Committee, and then the Board of Directors, and now, becoming president. I'm glad I got over that initial hurdle. I've gotten a lot of enjoyment out of giving something back to the trail system, whether working on trails myself, telling others about great hiking and bicycling opportunities, or helping volunteers have a good time on trail builds. Hope to see you out there!


Welcome to our new Outreach Coordinator!

Our newest staff member is Sandy Nichols who works as the Trail Center outreach coordinator. Sandy works as a part-time landscape contractor when he isn't working at the Trail Center office. He and his wife and two kids moved to the Bay Area from Dallas, Texas, in 1992. The parameters of working as an outreach coordinator appealed to him because not all aspects involved construction. Sandy's interest lies in fundraising and publicity and he recently staffed our Trail Center kiosks at the REI Bike Fair and took part at the Crew Leader Training. If you stop by our office and hear a sweet southern drawl from down the hallway, Sandy is surely right around the corner.


Thanks for a Successful California Trail Days 1996!

A big thank you to all the volunteers who came out for our annual California Trail Days event on April 26. Over 40 volunteers joined us at Arguello Park in San Carlos to build a trail that connects the community to the park. Also a big thank you to the City of San Carlos for providing the barbecue and treats.
      If you missed our California Trail Days event or want to volunteer for more trail construction on this project, we will be back at Arguello on June 1 for National Trails Day. We will construct another segment of the trail and celebrate our work with a barbecue. Call the Trail Center office for more information.


A New Guide to Reaching the Outdoors by Public Transit -- New From the Trail Center

The Trail Center has recently released Transit Outdoors -- a guide to 47 regional parks and shoreline walks in the Bay Area accessible by public transit. A fold-up map shows the parks, the transit connections, illustrative trails, a description of how to get to each park and what you will find there, and all the telephone numbers you need to get the latest park and transit publications.
      Pick up your free copy at the Trail Center office (Tuesdays through Fridays between 11:00 am and 3:00 p.m.) or order your copy by mail, with $2.00 for postage and handling.


Footloose and Fancy Free

If you are looking for terrific guided hikes in the Bay Area and would like to have a learning experience that is lots of fun, contact Michael J. Ellis to get his current brochure for natural history hikes and tours. You can call him at 707 829-1844; contact him at mjnature@aol.com; or write to Footloose Forays, P.O. Box 175, Sebastopol, CA, 95473-0175.


Wish List

An up-to-date version of FileMaker Pro


Saturday Night at the Movies... June 15, 1996

Come see the fabulous slide show of Trail Center photographer, Matt Noall. Bring a potluck dish to share and come hear the stories behind the pictures. For directions to Matt's Cupertino location and showtime, please reply to the Trail Center at (650) 968-7065 by June 12.



So You Don't Like Trail Work?

Then perhaps you'd like to learn mapping skills. Or offer help in the office. Or join the publicity committee. Or help with fundraising. Or even join the Board of Directors. There are lots of ways you can help the Trail Center without getting your hands dirty. The Trail Center depends on volunteers. Call 415-968-7065 to become part of the action...with no sweat.
      The Trail Center is looking for a graphic/layout artist for the Trail Companion Newsletter. If you have experience using QuarkXPress 3.32 or FrameMaker or any publishing software and would like to help produce the bimonthly newsletter, please call the Trail Center office.
      We are also looking for someone to scan in photos as GIF files for our website. If you have a scanner and would like to help make our website even better, call the Trail Center office or send e-mail to:Geoffrey Skinner



Do You Have Carpentry Skills?

We are looking for volunteers with carpentry skills to help construct a wooden walkway in Stanford University's Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve on June 22. If you would like to help on an exciting project, please call the Trail Center office.



Volunteer of the Month: Richard W. Allsop

     When Rich Allsop was first drafted as a crew leader, he had only been on a few trail builds with the Trail Center. "I muddled through the day somehow," he says, "and I guess I did a good enough job to be asked again." It was 1987, and Rich was already an experienced hiker and solo backpacker when he joined the Trail Center. Over the next two years he led trail crews occasionally but didn't really feel sure of his technical skills. "Then I went through a technical training session, which really boosted my confidence," he says. "I also learned a lot from the other crew leaders and work day supervisors I met." When the formal crew leader training program was started in 1990 (see sidebar), Rich was asked to be a trainer. During the next five years, he showed many trainees the ropes. He also helped out during the annual training weekends and started attending Crew Leader Training Committee meetings.
     Rich's interest in the program grew, and in 1995 he became chair of the Crew Leader Training Committee. He's matter-of-fact about his role, but his concern for the quality of the trail building experience runs deep. A self-described "Air Force brat," Rich was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and has lived in Germany, Northern California, and "everywhere east of the Mississippi from Biloxi to Caribou, Maine." He remembers always being interested in the outdoors, whether he was fishing with his dad or exploring his new surroundings whenever the family relocated. A brief stay on a dairy farm gave him an appreciation for hard physical labor and the satisfaction of having something to show for it at the end of the day. After earning a degree in Environmental Studies from the State University of New York at Albany, Rich moved with his family to Crescent City, California, near the Oregon border. There he became a serious hiker and backpacker in a region that was primarily National Park land. Rich moved to the Bay Area in 1982. He currently lives in South San Francisco and works as an electronics technician at Furuno USA, a marine electronics company. His favorite place to go backpacking is Henry W. Coe State Park, the second largest state park in California. Rich likes the fact that it's close (just south of San Jose), has lots of wildlife, and he can hike within its borders for days without emerging. Once he saw a female mountain lion and her two cubs from across Mississippi Lake. It was the second day of a four-day solo trip, and he was frustrated that he couldn't tell anyone about it until he got back to park headquarters. Another Coe trip was his longest one yet. "I didn't see anyone for six days," he says. "At the end of the trip I ran into someone I knew from the Trail Center, and I couldn't stop talking!"

--Anne Bers

How Crew Leaders Are Made

     The Crew Leader Training Program was created in 1990 to provide a formal course of instruction for aspiring crew leaders at the Trail Center. The program has three parts which can be taken in any sequence: the annual Crew Leader Training Weekend, first aid instruction, and apprenticeship. The training weekend involves lectures and field sessions which cover basic technical, safety, and leadership skills. This year's training was held recently at Hidden Valley in Los Altos Hills. Trainees must also get Standard First Aid certification. Classes are offered throughout the year by the Red Cross and the Sierra Club. The apprenticeship part of the program requires trainees to work closely with trainers at trail builds. Trainers are more experienced crew leaders who have been chosen to teach trainees. A trainee works at his or her own pace through a checklist of technical and leadership tasks that gradually increase in responsibility. As trainees demonstrate each skill, trainers give feedback on what they did well and where they may need to improve. The apprenticeship ends with a final exam in which the trainee leads a work crew from start to finish, with the trainer observing.
     When trainees have completed the training weekend, first aid certification, and apprenticeship, the Training Committee meets to decide whether the trainee is ready to become a crew leader. Rich Allsop, chair of the Crew Leader Training Committee, says usually the problem is convincing the trainee that he or she is ready to finish the program, put on a red crew leader shirt, and start leading crews. What does it take to be a good crew leader? "If you enjoy building trails, that's the main thing," says Rich. "It's the quality of the experience that counts." What constitutes a successful work day? Rich says it's the feeling that comes from accomplishing a solid piece of work as a team. "You know you've succeeded when people are a little tired at the end of the day but still have the energy to celebrate." The Trail Center needs crew leaders. For more information, call the Trail Center office at (650) 968-7065.

--Anne Bers

Trail Center Profile: Beneficial Design's Peter Axelson, Part One

I met Peter Axelson at the California Trails Conference held in Asilomar in March after I tried one of his sample wheelchairs, a model called the Cobra. I went down a slope and when I arrived at the bottom of the hill, I struggled to maneuver the wheelchair upwards. My efforts proved futile after much huffing and straining and I sat immobile thinking of how I should walk the wheelchair back to where I started. An observant and elderly woman ran to my aid and pushed me uphill to where I found Peter smiling, watching, and sitting in his wheelchair. What I was doing with the wheelchair was simple enough, I thought, on a pavement with a slope of no more than a five percent grade, but the sheer effort of working against gravity was difficult. Peter, however, takes on natural terrain trails using the same modified wheelchair, which has a lower center of mass than a standard wheelchair, extended foot retainers and a braking system similar to a bicycle.

     After miraculously surviving a 180-foot fall in a rock climbing accident that left him paralyzed, Peter continued his studies in mechanical engineering from Stanford University and founded Beneficial Designs in 1981. Through research, design and education, the company seeks to enhance the quality of life for people of all abilities. Beneficial Designs' motto is that all individuals should have access to the physical, intellectual, and spiritual aspects of life. One aspect of that work involves a project to train individuals to assess trails for universal use. The goal of the trail project is to provide standardized, objective Universal Access Information about individual recreation trails since the majority of existing trail information is subjective. That is, a trail that is moderately difficult for some can be more difficult for others depending on their ability and the mobility device used. To provide objective information about trails, it is necessary to collect detailed measurements of specific trail characteristics. In collaboration with the National Park Service, Beneficial Designs isolated the following characteristics for Universal Access Information: grade, cross slope, trail width, surface type, and the size and type of obstacles. Such information would be posted at the park trailheads for trail users to make their own decisions based on their individual abilities; the same information would be available on audio tapes. The concept of providing specifics of trail characteristics in a standardized form is similar to the nutritional labels on food packages documenting the specifics of a product's nutritional value. Extensive data has been collected on several trails in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. The work of training individuals and agencies on assessing universal trail information continues as Peter and his staff travel the continental United States, Asia and Europe.

     Beneficial Designs is based in Santa Cruz, California. The company also designs and tests equipment for mobility-impaired people such as modified snow skiing equipment, wheelchairs, airplane seats, hand tensile exercising tools, etc. When he's not working on Beneficial Designs projects, Peter travels to his Montana home where he works as a ski instructor. Never allowing any physical limitations to hinder his goals, Peter participated in the 1992 Olympics in the skiing division. Versatile and graced with athletic prowess, he also dances, plays ping-pong, flies airplanes, and, of course, hikes. One of his more memorable hikes was in the Austrian slopes. Peter and a friend managed to reach a considerable height up in the Alps, but they were overtaken by the steepness of the mountain. The particular trail did not have Universal Access Information and he said "a rescue team had to pull me up on ropes!"

      Next Issue: Part Two, Universal Trail Assessment

--Judie Corrales



Trail Center Events

Trail building is a great way to give back to your community and nature while doing something for yourself. 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 such as directions, time and reserve a space on one or all of the following trail builds!

June 1: National Trails Day - Arguello Park
June 13: Board Meeting 6:30 pm
June 22: Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve.... (carpentry skills needed for bridge construction)
July 11: Board Meeting 6:30 pm
July 20: Arguello Park
Aug. 8: Board Meeting 6:30 pm
Aug. 24: Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve
Sep. 24: Arguello Park
Oct. 5: Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve
Oct. 11: Board Meeting 6:30 pm
Oct. 26: Arguello Park
Nov. 14: Board Meeting 6:30 pm
Nov. 16: Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve


     
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