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  1. #1
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    John Nicholas trail status

    Anyone have any idea when it may reopen? I went on the Facebook page, which stated that it was permanently closed. Santa Clara county website states that the trail is closed, with no information regarding future plans for the trail.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EDRN911 View Post
    Anyone have any idea when it may reopen? I went on the Facebook page, which stated that it was permanently closed. Santa Clara county website states that the trail is closed, with no information regarding future plans for the trail.
    Nobody knows. We have to get through this storm today and tomorrow. 5 days of clear then more rain comes again.

    The officials have to wait and see how much more damage happens in these rounds.

    I hear the trail itself from Skyline blvd is in good shape. It's just that the exit trails at the bottom are blocked. Thus they cannot responsibly open it.

    But if someone goes from the top, down then climbs back up, that should be good trail since the new build is bulletproof. But not allowed since officially closed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    I hear the trail itself from Skyline blvd is in good shape. It's just that the exit trails at the bottom are blocked.
    There are five "trails" coming out of Lake Ranch, of which three are vehicle-sized trails, all three of which were completely obliterated in at least one spot last I was there (before my recent knee operation).

    That means they can't get a vehicle into Lake Ranch, even though I saw a SJWC pickup truck go by me and then turn back. I flagged him down and he said he was trying to get to the lake and I told him there was no way he'd do it in a pickup (even 4WD won't help when there are landslides and canyon washouts).

    I posted pictures of all three roads' obliterations here:
    - Landslide completely closes Los Gatos Lake Ranch

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    Caution;  Merge;  Workers Ahead!

    It's unreal how bad the exit fire road is right now.
    There are downed trees and huge slides in at least a half dozen spots
    and many more spots on the fire road are ready to collapse.
    I don't see it opening until at least July.

    On a positive note, besides the small branches everywhere, the trail itself all the way down to the lake is in great condition right now.

    John Nicholas trail status-jack-devastation.jpg
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crooked Cop View Post
    I don't see it opening until at least July.
    With all the trails around Lake Ranch closed, I was calling Sanborn Park Rangers to ask about the rules for off-trail riding and hiking.

    I keep getting just their answering machine, but the encouraging news is that the current answering machine message says that work has started on clearing the trails.

    I think part of their problem is that all three dirt roads touching Lake Ranch that can support a truck are closed by landslides so they have to pick a direction and tunnel in from there.

    I haven't been riding the area due to an ACL replacement surgery.

    Anyone know which direction they're bringing in the heavy equipment?

    Black Road?
    Sanborn Road?
    PG&E Road?

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    On my way home today I stopped off at Sanborn Park where the ranger on duty (Leroy Rodriguez) told me that the section of the John Nicholas trail from Black Road to Lake Ranch is NOT handled by the county.

    The SJWC is responsible, according to him, for the maintenance of the spur from Lake Ranch to Black Road.

    The park is responsible for the spur from Lake Ranch to Sanborn Road, so the park is already working on clearing up the landslide that I first reported the morning after it happened overnight, on January 12th.

    PG&E is responsible for the spur that goes from Lake Ranch to Montevina Road, but he didn't know anything about whether they have started to work on that section since it's not a public easement and has nothing to do with the parks.

    LeRoy also told me that Caltrans is trying to grab an easement from the parks near where the road collapsed near Las Cumbres where the road collapsed, where Caltrans is presenting the parks with a proposal soon.

    Anyway, that answers the question of which way the park is clearing to Lake Ranch.
    If you see heavy equipment there, snap a picture for us, as it will be interesting to see what kind of equipment they use to clear the obstacles.

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    [/QUOTE]

    Damn, that looks as bad as Tamarancho

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    The ranger I talked to Saturday said the water company is hoping to fix the road from Black to lake ranch by some time in May. I've not seen any sign of activity but I dont' go by there that often these days. For the slide on the Sanborn side he said they had to hire a special and expensive crew to take down the large trees on the slide itself. That's pretty hazardous work so I can understand it being expensive.

    It also sounds like the work fixing Skyline north of Las Cumbres will interfere with the skyline trail (like by dumping fill on it). There's surveyor marks on the trail just south of the washout. He seemed to think the Skyline road fix (whatever it is) would be done in 8-10 months.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    The ranger I talked to Saturday said the water company is hoping to fix the road from Black to lake ranch by some time in May. I've not seen any sign of activity but I dont' go by there that often these days. For the slide on the Sanborn side he said they had to hire a special and expensive crew to take down the large trees on the slide itself. That's pretty hazardous work so I can understand it being expensive.

    It also sounds like the work fixing Skyline north of Las Cumbres will interfere with the skyline trail (like by dumping fill on it). There's surveyor marks on the trail just south of the washout. He seemed to think the Skyline road fix (whatever it is) would be done in 8-10 months.
    Thanks for the intel.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    The ranger I talked to Saturday said the water company is hoping to fix the road from Black to lake ranch by some time in May. I've not seen any sign of activity but I dont' go by there that often these days.
    Thanks for that update from the ranger on the SJWC section from Lake Ranch to Black Road.

    While their section is relatively flat, I think they have the lions share of the work to be done because there is so much damage between Lake Ranch and Black Road.

    I suspect the SJWC may also be waiting for the park to open up the way from Sanborn Road so they can get equipment in from both sides, especially since Black Road is apparently marked for 2-Axle vehicles only.

    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    For the slide on the Sanborn side he said they had to hire a special and expensive crew to take down the large trees on the slide itself. That's pretty hazardous work so I can understand it being expensive.
    I agree that it isn't going to be easy. When I was there last, I spoke to workers who said the still-standing trees are the hardest part. The one tree in the middle of the trail is a hundred (or so) feet tall.

    If it had fallen, it would be easier; but it simply slid into the middle of the path!

    I think there is some danger to the work crew because the slope is pretty steep and they are, by necessity, on the downslope (and it's a cliff below and above).

    If I were attacking that landslide, I'd rather attack it from above than from below; but they have no choice until SJWC cleans up the entrance from Black Road, which isn't likely to happen first.

    They can't get in from Montevina Road either, as the PG&E Service Road is washed out in multiple places, with landslides too, and, according to the park, almost all on private property anyway (so they'd have to get permission from a dozen people).

    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    It also sounds like the work fixing Skyline north of Las Cumbres will interfere with the skyline trail (like by dumping fill on it). There's surveyor marks on the trail just south of the washout. He seemed to think the Skyline road fix (whatever it is) would be done in 8-10 months.
    I don't know that area well, but the park ranger I spoke to was unhappy that Caltrans was proposing to allow people to cut through the park property to get around that problem.

    Does anyone have a marker on a Google Map where that cut-around might be?

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    [QUOTE=woodrock;13083001

    Does anyone have a marker on a Google Map where that cut-around might be?[/QUOTE]

    John Nicholas trail status-screen-shot-2017-03-14-5.51.32-am.jpg

    John Nicholas trail status-screen-shot-2017-03-14-5.53.54-am.jpg
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    I sure would not want to cut down a 100 foot tree on a slide that could come down any time, and whose roots were ripped out and it's being held up by mud. I'm glad they found someone to do it and no one was hurt. It did sound like they're working on the Sanborn side already.

    The slie on Skyline is in a place where the skyline trail loops out away from the road a bit. In some places the trail is very close to the road. But in this section there's a small hill between the trail and the slide, though the trail comes back close to the road on either side of the slide. Especially the south side where it's close to the road just a short ways from the slide. I think Caltrans may have to take out some of the trail on the south side to make the curves on the new section of road wide enough... which is probably why there's surveyor marks on the trail there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbrdan View Post
    attached photos
    Thanks. I used the GPS location in the photos to figure out where it was as the news just said it was "near mile marker 10.47" on Highway 35 (aka Skyline).

    Your GPS location is fuzzy but it seems to be Latitude 37.222334 north, Longitude -122.102514,15 west.

    What's interesting is that it seems that it's park on both sides of the road, with Castle Rock on the west and Sanborn Park on the east.


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    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    I sure would not want to cut down a 100 foot tree on a slide that could come down any time, and whose roots were ripped out and it's being held up by mud. I'm glad they found someone to do it and no one was hurt. It did sound like they're working on the Sanborn side already.
    I agree with you that the tall tree that is "standing up" is almost certainly precarious, since it slid into the middle of the trail still standing; so, they probably can't just climb it and lop it off from the top down nor can they just cut it at the bottom easily.

    At least not without risking the whole tree (with crew) tumbling down the 100 feet slope to the stream below and/or popping out of the mud, like a straw in a milkshake flipping the crew up in the air.

    From my thread on the Lake Ranch Trail closure, here's a photo I took from the other side of that mess, at the time that the park was first surveying the damage, where you'll note that I said at that time that they knew they'd need to call in the professionals.


    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    The slie on Skyline is in a place where the skyline trail loops out away from the road a bit. In some places the trail is very close to the road. But in this section there's a small hill between the trail and the slide, though the trail comes back close to the road on either side of the slide. Especially the south side where it's close to the road just a short ways from the slide. I think Caltrans may have to take out some of the trail on the south side to make the curves on the new section of road wide enough... which is probably why there's surveyor marks on the trail there.
    Thanks for that description. Without a topographical map, it looks like Caltrans can crob space from either Skyline on the east or Castle Rock on the west, but according to the ranger I spoke to, it's clear that Caltrans is proposing looping around that hole in 35 by strong arming an easement from Sanborn.

    The location seems to be near latitude 37.219002 north and longitude -122.0755417 west, according to Google Maps.

    Here's a road-closure map:

  15. #15
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    Having been there to see it there is NO chance of going west. East is the way they will go.

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    The south/west side of the hole is private property, not Castle Rock. Location is just to the right of the marked spot.

    John Nicholas trail status-skyline2.jpg
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbrdan View Post
    Having been there to see it there is NO chance of going west. East is the way they will go.
    Yes. The west side is STEEP. And it's made of fill. That's why it slid- when they built the road they just piled material they'd removed from the road cuts in there. On top of a known spring, according to one old-timer I heard from. And yes it's private property. There are houses on that side just to either side of the slide.

    The part of the trail that looks to be affected (because it's marked) starts at the top of the rocky chute just north of the stairs and runs north about 200' to where the trail tees with a short stub that goes out to the road (you can see the barriers on the south side of the slide from there) and the north continuation of the skyline trail along an old fire road, which curves around a hill that 35 cuts through.

  18. #18
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    How's JNT these days? Black Road and the respective trail open for business?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rumpfy View Post
    How's JNT these days? Black Road and the respective trail open for business?
    Closed as closed can be. Black Road is open but the fire roads from Black Road to the bottom of JNT have collapsed.

    From Highway 9, Highway 35 is missing a big chunk.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rumpfy View Post
    How's JNT these days? Black Road and the respective trail open for business?
    JNT is still closed. The fireroad section from the lake has numerous slides though the singletrack section is in good shape from what I have heard.
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    Anyone know if it is possible (and legal) to ride Skyline trail to JNT, descend to the reservoir, climb back up, then back on Skyline trail?

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    But, but, it's the mountain bikes that cause all the trail erosion, right?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    Closed as closed can be. Black Road is open but the fire roads from Black Road to the bottom of JNT have collapsed.

    From Highway 9, Highway 35 is missing a big chunk.
    Rode it a couple weeks ago from Los Gatos by way one of those "alternative" trail entrances. It's in good shape outside of being nearly scoured clean of any kind of organic matter on the trail surface.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sid Duffman View Post
    Anyone know if it is possible (and legal) to ride Skyline trail to JNT, descend to the reservoir, climb back up, then back on Skyline trail?
    The Skyline trail is legal and open. A few fallen trees I believe. Down and up on John Nicholas trail is in good shape. But since the trail is closed due to the Black Road exits, then it's not legal at the moment. They have to close it because they can't expect all users to climb back up to get out of the park.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    The Skyline trail is legal and open. ... They have to close [the JNT] because they can't expect all users to climb back up to get out of the park.
    I like the way you think - which is logical and reasonable.

    The JNT leg from Lake Ranch to Skyline Road is currently a dead-end trail, which may be why they would mark it as "closed", even if it might technically not be closed to traffic for expressly safety reasons.

    Of the five known connective routes emanating from Lake Ranch, only three are open to the public, and all three of those are (apparently) currently closed, even as the section from Skyline Road to Lake Ranch is in pretty good shape compared to the two other public sections from Lake Ranch to Black Road (maintained by the SJWC) and from Lake Ranch to Sanborn Road (maintained by SCC Parks & Recreation).

    Last I spoke with Sanborn Park (a few weeks ago) they had started working on the Lake Ranch Trail, which has only one blockage between Lake Ranch and Sanborn Road.

    Anyone have a picture or update of their progress?

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodrock View Post
    I like the way you think - which is logical and reasonable.

    Anyone have a picture or update of their progress?
    Dude, you're the picture man...we rely upon you for that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by griz View Post
    Dude, you're the picture man...we rely upon you for that.
    I think he's asking so he can walk there this morning and photo the heck out of it.
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    Ah, supper bummer. Thanks for the intel guys!
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    The sign at the trailhead on Black changed recently to "caution road work" so I went down it a short ways. The only work I saw was surveyor's marks. No evidence of any heavy equipment having used the road. If they're working on it they're doing it from the Sanborn end. The ranger I talked to a few weeks ago seemed to think the Lake Ranch road would be open in May some time. That probably depends on a lot of things including weather. If the ground is too wet they can't use heavy equipment.

    On my way back I saw that the "caution road work" sign was stuck on top of the road closed sign that's been there for months so I don't think it's actually open. In any case I don't think it's rideable to the bottom of JNT.

    Skyline trail has a lot of trees down on it.

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    First post, so hello all. I'm wondering if anyone has any update on the skyline trail and JNT?

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    ^^^I have no info on the trail status but, welcome to the forum.

  32. #32
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    JNT is open.
    I'm the problem....

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    Fantastic. Thanks for the info. Do you know if it's relatively clear up to the intersection of Rte 9/Skyline?

    Quote Originally Posted by mtbrdan View Post
    JNT is open.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrRoboto View Post
    Fantastic. Thanks for the info. Do you know if it's relatively clear up to the intersection of Rte 9/Skyline?
    Yes it is.
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    Can you get to the trail from Black Rd yet?

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    Still officially closed though plenty of people were coming up.
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    There's a lot of carnage on the road from Black to Lake Ranch Reservoir. You will have to carry your bike over some very large tree trunks.

    It may be open on the other side, from Sanborn. I'm not sure.

    JNT from the reservoir up to Skyline is in excellent shape with no obstacles, though every little rock is exposed. It can use some riding to clear the loose rocks.

    I also rode Skyline Trail from the cave-in to JNT and that was in good shape too.

  38. #38
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    Lake Ranch down into Sanborn is open.
    I'm the problem....

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    yep, rode that on Saturday. Must have been an impressive slide they removed from Lake Ranch Trail, looks like a lot of diggin.
    From BlackRd you should also be able to just pedal up the remaining corners (I know those are steep) and then turn right and enjoy the lonely ride on 35 to Skyline trailhead. No cars (meaning very view ones) there because of the closure.

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    I keep getting confused by this....

    JNT between the reservoir and Black Road is open?

    Checking the closure status on SCCParks it says closed. "John Nicholas Trail is open to Skyline (SR35), JNT closed south to Black Road." https://www.sccgov.org/sites/parks/Pages/Closures.aspx

    I can understand if this website is behind on the updates.

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    no, that´s exactly what the website says:
    Sanborn Rd to Lake Ranch Reservoir (pretty steep about half mile climb): open, big slide(s) removed.
    Connection from Lake Ranch Reservoir to Black Road: closed. However, saw some people on the other side of the lake on Saturday, so either they just walked there for fishing or illegal - whatsoever, closed (as per website).
    JNT from Lake Ranch to Skyline: open, you can go up and down all day long.
    Skyline to Castle Rock: closed. Not sure about the respective part of the Skyline Trail, i.e. whether you can pass the road closure on it or not.
    Skyline to Black Rd: open on the road.
    B

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    Nice to hear that JNT is open even if the dirt road from Lake Ranch to Black is still closed.

    Skyline trail is open. You can pass the giant slide on it, for now. It may be closed later on when they're working on the giant slide. There's a lot of trees down on it when you get closer to 9. Epic poison oak too.

    Highway 35 is closed at Las Cumbres on the south side. You can drive or ride to the Sunnyvale Mountain trail head but since that's officially past the road closed signs you may get ticketed if you park there.

    A couple weeks ago it looked like they were about to start work on the Lake Ranch to Black dirt road. I was told a while back by a ranger that they hope to have it open in May but I have doubts.

    Black rd has more traffic on it than before the giant slide on 35. All the people who live up there and used to take 9 now come down Black.

    There's still random no notice road closures in the area to fix roads, power lines etc. Usually not on weekends though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbrdan View Post
    Lake Ranch down into Sanborn is open.
    I had complications so I'm not out yet. Anyone have pictures of the work they did on the lake ranch trail between the lake and Sanborn Road?

    Quote Originally Posted by BerndK View Post
    Must have been an impressive slide they removed from Lake Ranch Trail
    Next time you are there, can you snap a pic for us voyeurs?

    Quote Originally Posted by starvingdavid View Post
    I keep getting confused by this....
    JNT between the reservoir and Black Road is open?
    The JNT has two "legs" and there are as many as four to five legs emanating out of Lake Ranch. I just drew a graphic for you from memory and post it here for review of any errors.

    NOTE: I get in trouble when I post truthful detail so let me know if this oversteps the boundaries but it is the truth so we should not be afraid of the truth - should we?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BerndK View Post
    no, that´s exactly what the website says:
    Sanborn Rd to Lake Ranch Reservoir (pretty steep about half mile climb): open, big slide(s) removed.
    Connection from Lake Ranch Reservoir to Black Road: closed.
    I fixed the graphic a bit to make it slightly more realistic as to what the JNT actually is, since the JNT is three sections and the LRT is the fourth section in the park.

    Let me know if you see errors on this diagrammatic view of the Lake Ranch vicinity because the goal is to create the next graphic, which can be an update as to the trail status.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    Nice to hear that JNT is open even if the dirt road from Lake Ranch to Black is still closed.
    Based on what people said in this thread, I think this is the correct status of the current and future trails that are intended to be bike-legal trails inside the MPOS and Sanborn Park.


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    What is this "Future connector" that links lake to Montevina Ridge Trail? When is this happening? Any more info?
    This will allow for legal access from LG up to JNT, correct?

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    Quote Originally Posted by noblige View Post
    What is this "Future connector" that links lake to Montevina Ridge Trail? When is this happening? Any more info?
    This will allow for legal access from LG up to JNT, correct?
    There are a bunch of threads on the future connector so this probably isn't the right thread to go into the (very gory) detail (there is an entire 100-page or so park planning document posted already!).

    Here is a screen shot of the future trail from the MPOS thread:


    Suffice to summarize that there are multiple projects and multiple government entities involved including semi-public entities like the water company and private owners and MPOS and SCC and even the state, all of which have different charters, etc. and there are therefore a spate of legal issues that they are working on (e.g., a recent senate bill and easements on the private property) but when those legal issues are surmounted, then they have money issues to surmount (since there is no money allotted yet to build the trail).

    Assuming all that is ironed out (probably five to ten years?) the easy part is where the trail will go. It will start at the JNT at the Sanborn end of the lake and it will go up to the PG&E Service Road (which is currently closed to cyclists) and it will then go past the locked gate that delineates the start of a dozen private properties.

    The very detailed map that the SCC parks gave me showing all the property owners (which I can't distribute but which I can summarize) shows that the planned trail will go less than a half mile up the PG&E Service road (measuring from the lake) and then it will go into just two private properties in its way up the hill to the connector trail that currently exists between Bohlman and Montevina.

    While there are private paths in that vicinity, this will be a completely new public trail because it has to go through SCC property, then private property, then SCC property then private property and then MPOS property - and then - even so - at the top - it's still two more private properties and one MPOS property.

    (Note: This is just the summary.) :-0

    If we care about truth, it's important to realize that even what some people think of being the Bohlman part of this trail is on private property so they have to iron out that legal issue also as there is no easement for anyone but the property owners at the top of Bohlman for about a quarter mile or so.

    It's better on the Montevina side, where the public is actually allowed at the gate, and they can park within 20 feet of the center of the road as long as they're off the white stripe since that is in the county ROW.

    All of this is covered in other threads. One thread that comes to mind is this one:
    New status of MPOS dog rules and private property easements on El Sereno trails!

    But there are others with the actual documents and some which got closed because we gave you too many real details.

    NOTE: I just realized from your question and my correct answer that I didn't correctly draw the graphic for that last quarter mile at the top of Bohlman. I correct it below because only the land owners (one of which is MPOS!) are legally allowed on the last quarter mile between Bohlman Road and the MPOS gate as there are two private properties where MPOS is in the process of "perfecting" an easement for the public but it is not a fait accompli despite that everyone seems to act as if it is (which is legally a case in and of itself).

  48. #48
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    Minor update to the graphic.

  49. #49
    Dirty by Nature
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    Pie graph, please.



    (pie = truth)



    VV Thanks!
    Friends don't let friends ride e-"bikes" on dirt.

    Nature is not a sidewalk.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtvert View Post
    Pie graph, please.
    (pie = truth)
    It's hard to post the truth here because they closed a thread that had the truth already. People only want to make believe. I'm too aspergers to make believe. Sorry.

    Nonetheless, here is your requested pie chart.

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