The Marin County Open Space District (MCOSD) has released their plans for Region 1 and 2 and Access4Bikes is very happy to report that we see hope for the future. Please note that these designations and proposals are just preliminary ideas and are not yet final, but they do indicate that the policies against bikes on narrow trails may be about to change in MCOSD lands.
MCOSD Designations in Region 1
In Region 1, MCOSD has proposed designating the trails above the Mill Valley Golf Course as hike and bike as well as making one of the little social trails that connects with Octopus Junction as multi-use.
These changes alone will more than double the bike legal trail alternatives in Region 1. We like that these proposals, especially the recognition that hike & bike trails are an alternative. As we all know, Wagonwheel works and we want more trails like Wagon Wheel, and it appears that MCOSD has heard us.
MCOSD Designations in Region 2
In Region 2, MCOSD seems to have really listened to the mountain bike community as a good portion of the trails bikes have ridden for decades are being designated as bike legal. We may see our biggest gains in the western side of Gary Giacomini where more than 5 historic mountain bike trails are finally being acknowledged as bike legal.
One exciting gain is the designation of Paranickle Trail (Juniper to others) as bike legal. Paranickel provides an experience rarely found in MCOSD lands. The trail is steep, flowy, rocky, and challenging, exactly the kind of experience we need to boost our handling skills and put a big smile on!
Another interesting proposal by MCOSD is to make Split Rock bike legal. Unfortunately there is one little problem, it’s on MMWD land, so we have to see what MMWD says about this idea. At least MCOSD realizes that making Split Rock bike legal would be the best long term solution, which is MAJOR progress. Now if we can get MMWD to see the light…
Region 1 Trail Proposals
From our perspective, the most exciting news came from the project proposals submitted by Access4Bikes and MCBC. A4B and MCBC both identified the need for a new hike and bike trail to connect Middle Fire Road in Camino Alto Open Space with Blithedale Open Space, and avoid the horribly steep fire roads one has to currently ride. After MCOSD rejected both proposals, and MCBC resubmitted (and A4B endorsed MCBC’s revision), MCOSD gave the proposed project an exceptionally positive environmental score of -92 points.
The fact that this proposal garnered such a large environmental improvement bodes well for the process and may indicate that MCOSD is very open to making a better trail network for everyone by eliminating some of the old and poorly aligned social trails and building nice and sustainable singletrack. This would also be a great use for our Measure A funds, which mountain bikers have yet to enjoy.
Lastly and most importantly, if this project actually happens, this great new trail will :
- Help hikers and riders avoid two horribly steep (30%) segments of fire road on Middle Summit Fire Road.
- Provide wonderful views over Mill Valley to SF, as well as up to Mt Tam.
- Have a very nice segment that skirts the edge of redwood groves.
- Be hike and bike so no need for a 680 style freeway. We hope that it looks and feels like Wagon Wheel Trail.
- Create a new connection for longer rides from Mill Valley to and from Mount Tamalpais.
In summary, this will be a sweeeeet new trail.
Access4Bikes and MCBC also submitted proposals to make a number of existing trails bike legal. MCBC submitted a proposal for Bob Middaugh. Access4Bikes submitted proposals for King Mountain, and Maytag and Tartan are in the works too. These proposals will be political and their success will be based upon whether our Board of Supervisors agree that the facts do not support banning bikes. Let’s hope they continue to agree because if they do, Region 1 will be MUCH nicer for bikes someday soon.
All in all, it appears that our efforts may be succeeding. Let’s see how 2016 goes and hopefully, we may have a few miles of new legal trails to ride.