County of Marin - News Releases - Road and Trails Plan

For Immediate Release
August 09, 2016

Third Workshop Coming for Road and Trails Plan

Access in five open space preserves is subject of August 21 meeting

San Rafael, CA – Marin County’s formal plan to manage roads and trails within its vast system of beautiful open space lands will be the subject of a community workshop August 21 in San Rafael.

Marin County Parks, which gradually has acquired lands for more than 40 years, is in the second year of implementing its Road and Trail Management Plan (RTMP), approved by the Marin County Open Space District Board of Directors in December 2014. On Sunday, August 21, the public will have a chance to hear how the plan affects Region 3, which includes the Indian Valley, Lucas Valley, Loma Verde, Pacheco Valle and Ignacio Valley preserves. The meeting is to take place from 1-3 p.m. in the ballroom of the Embassy Suites Hotel at 101 McInnis Parkway.

The RTMP was conceived to make roads and trails more safe, enjoyable, environmentally sustainable, and financially manageable. The ultimate vision of the plan is to ensure outstanding visitor experiences while protecting the rich biodiversity found in the preserves.

The first step in RTMP implementation is the designation of a formal system of signed and maintained road and trail facilities, a process occurring across six regions of Marin County. The first regional workshop took place March 22, 2015, when Parks officials discussed Blithedale Summit, King Mountain, Baltimore Canyon, Camino Alto, Horse Hill and Alto Bowl open space preserves. A second workshop on October 3, 2015, was focused on Cascade Canyon, Gary Giacomini, Loma Alta, White Hill, French Ranch, Roy’s Redwoods and Maurice Thorner preserves. Three more community workshops for Regions 4, 5 and 6 will be held in the future.

Carl Somers, Marin County Parks’ Chief of Planning & Acquisition, said the network of roads and trails were inherited and added ad hoc as the lands were acquired.

“What the RTMP provides is a consistent, inclusive, science-based approach to road and trail management,” he said. “Since we started implementing the plan, we’ve successfully worked with the community to formally designate roads and trails in Regions 1 and 2 to create both a smaller environmental footprint and a better recreational experience. We’re building on the success of the first two regions as we move into designating roads and trails for Region 3.”  

Somers said system designation should lead to reduced conflicts among visitors and reduced impacts on the natural environment.

After roads and trails are formally designated, RTMP implementation includes trail upgrades, realignments, road-to-trail conversions, new trail construction, and active decommissions to improve roads and trails while restoring habitat. Work began this summer to implement specific road and trail projects in Region 1 and 2 that improve the designated network consistent with the RTMP’s multiple goals.

Community engagement, paired with science-based planning, is a large part of the RTMP’s success. The public can participate in community workshops that lead to road and trail prioritization and funding, submit proposals to improve or amend the formally designated system of roads and trails, and promote responsible behavior in the preserves.

The August 21 workshop is an open invitation to neighbors of the preserves, environmentalists, cyclists, hikers, equestrians – anyone who enjoys open space preserves in the Ignacio and Marinwood areas of Novato and San Rafael managed by the County government. One major goal of the workshop is to seek reaction to maps depicting Marin County Parks’ proposed designations for the Region 3 preserves. Also, staff will review procedures developed since the RTMP’s adoption that will allow visitors to formulate and submit proposals for specific road and trail projects, consistent with policies, standards, and best management practices established in the RTMP. 


Carl Somers
Chief of Planning and Acquisition
Marin County Parks

Marin Civic Center
Suite 260
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-2820
Email: Carl Somers
Marin County Parks website