Off-Road News Big Wins in 2021 and a Bright Future
Marin’s bike trail network expanded by 4 miles in 2021 and our Trail Stewards program is back in action following a long pandemic induced hiatus. Here are the off-road highlights of 2021 and the good news on the horizon.
Ponti Ridge Trail
It’s hard to believe that Ponti Ride Trail was still under construction this time last year, as it now seems like a fixture of Marin’s off-road trail network. It adds 3-miles of flowy trail with amazing views, and provides a more gradual climb up to Big Rock ridge, or at least takes a bit of sting out of the challenge. It won “Best New Trail” at the California Trails and Greenways Conference in April and was featured in the virtual Solstice Scorcher Dirt Fondo in June. It was Marin County Park’s most ambitious trail project to date, with over 680 tons of rock moved, and MCBC Trail Stewards from Marin’s high schools came out in force to prep the trail for its grand opening in January.
Bob Middagh Trail is Finally Open to Bikes!
After years of planning, advocating and litigating, the “No Bikes” signs were finally removed from the Bob Middagh Trail on June 10, 2021 and the trail is enjoying much love and appreciation from bicyclists in southern Marin.
In January 2020, the California Court of Appeal handed down a significant decision that “government agencies deciding whether to provide bicycle access to existing trails are not required to analyze ‘social effects,’ such as perceived user conflict with hikers under the California Environmental Quality Act” (CEQA). It’s important to note that the appellate court decision stated that “although not required, the District did address public concerns of user displacement and potential conflict with bikes.”
Please be extra courteous while riding the trail, as hikers, equestrians and runners are not used to the presence of bikes. Your actions will impact future change in use proposals.
New Trails at Rush Creek!
The Blue Oak Trail and Lucky Aces Trail are under construction at Rush Creek Open Space Preserve in Novato and will improve connectivity between the Bahia Trail along the shoreline and the Bahia Ridge Fire Road. MCBC Trail Stewards helped buff out the Luck Aces Trail in December. The trails will open next spring once winter winds down.
Point Reyes National Seashore Adopts Bike-friendly Plan
The National Park Service issued a Record of Decision for the General Management Plan Amendment in September of this year. The Amendment acknowledges the need to expand public access, including bike-legal trails and gravel roads, throughout 18,000 acres which it currently leases for ranching operations. Watch for MCBC lead bike tours of the existing trails and fire roads in 2022 where we will highlight new routes and enhancements we’ve identified.
Reimaging Recreation on the Mt. Tam Watershed
We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to advance a more inclusive trail system on the Mount Tamalpais Watershed while stewarding the land for future generations. Marin Municipal Water District (MMWD) is developing a Watershed Recreation Management Plan and you need to be part of this process if you care about bicycle access on Mount Tam! Thanks to our members, the framework for the plan acknowledges the need for better distribution of recreation across 17,000 acres of land. A consultant will be chosen in January and the process should get underway shortly afterwards. CLICK HERE to add your name to our stakeholder list.
Liberty Gulch Trail on Azalea Hill
Construction on the Liberty Gulch Trail got underway in 2021, but progress was slowed by the drought and wildfire response. Currently the lower position of the trail is slated to be completed near the end of 2022, at which time the trail will be open as an out and back. Enhancements on the upper portion of the road and a retaining wall at the top could also get underway in 2022. The entire trail will likely be open in 2023. MCBC Trail Stewards got a firsthand look at the project site in early December and helped lay the deck on one of six bridge crossings. Watch marinbike.org/trails for January volunteer dates.
Crank Trail Courtesy Up To 11!
Please take a few minutes to read our article on trail etiquette and how to be respectful of the habitat, wildlife and your fellow trail users when you’re riding the trails of Marin!
CLICK HERE for our Shock and Awww! story.
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