Supes create Adopt-a-Trail programs for transportation corridor

By From page A10 | September 30, 2013

No more grabbing a shovel or a rake on a Saturday morning and moving stuff around on the Sacramento-Placerville Transportation Corridor. El Dorado County Supervisors, on Sept. 10, OK’d a recommendation to establish Adopt-a-Trail programs for three trail elements in the county: the Rubicon Trail, the El Dorado Trail and SPTC.

Following unauthorized volunteer activities, the county issued a “cease and desist letter” April 23 which effectively put an administrative “hold” on volunteers doing trail work. Now the county has adopted a process that formalizes and regulates the efforts of individuals and organizations eager to donate their time and talents to the community.

County staff were directed to establish “working groups” of volunteers to help determine trail sections to be maintained and to coordinate other aspects of the program.

For years volunteers have worked on various segments of all the trails but mostly on a “project specific” basis. That policy will continue for projects outside the scope of the Adopt-a-Trail program, according to documents included in the board agenda. Not quite final, the board action is contingent upon approval of El Dorado County Counsel. Pending that go-ahead, county staff will form the working groups already noted and set up both training and monitoring systems to guide and oversee the program.

Adopt-a-Trail and multiple variations thereof, Adopt-a-Park, Forest, etc. are widespread throughout state parks, national forests, county and municipal jurisdictions all over the country. What they appear to have in common is the notion of “ownership” by the volunteers. And with ownership comes responsibility.

“The program … (will provide assistance) to the county with maintenance issues and give guidance to the volunteers on expectations and limitations on each trail,” the document states, further noting that each program has been tailored to the conditions and needs of each of the three trails.

Listed under the subtitle “Reason for Recommendation” by the Parks and Recreation Commission is that the official program gives volunteers “what they have been requesting for years, the ability to assist in trail maintenance.”

Calling trail users and volunteers, the “eyes and ears of the county,” the document acknowledges “they see what needs to be done and in many cases can get the job done in a timely manner which allows staff to work in other areas.”

Friends of El Dorado Trail Director Mike Kenison called the board’s decision “good news,” recalling the back-and-forth battle over the past four years to find a clear designation for the sections of the SPTC from Oriental Avenue in El Dorado to the county line.

What came to be known by regulars at county supervisors meetings as a tussle between the “trail people” and the “train guys” often sent meetings well past 6 p.m. Testimony featured dozens of individuals and organizations pitching their particular preference for what should be allowed on that section of the corridor and how the county could satisfy what appeared to be widely disparate views vying for the same space.

Eventually, supervisors designated the corridor a multi-use facility which includes rail activity between Missouri Flat Road and Shingle Springs. West from Shingle Springs was generally restricted to hiking, biking and equestrian use.

Vickie Sanders, analyst with the Chief Administrative Office spearheaded the Adopt-a-Trail effort. In an e-mail to the Mountain Democrat dated Sept. 12 she noted, “In creating the adopt a trail program, staff researched other jurisdictions and programs to create a program for El Dorado County.”

Sanders further clarified the differences between the three programs relative to their functions. “The Rubicon Trail is a county road, the El Dorado Trail is a Class I bike trail. The SPTC corridor has maintenance that needs to be done to maintain drainage, vegetation management and various other issues as identified in the SPTC master plan that was adopted in 2003. Having the assistance of volunteers to accomplish portions of this work will be very helpful to the county,” she wrote.

Contact Chris Daley at 530-344-5063 or [email protected] Follow @CDaleyMtDemo.

Chris Daley

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