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  1. #1
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    New status of MPOS dog rules and private property easements on El Sereno trails!

    Following up with what Moe Ped posted in mid January, this is an accurate update as of this week regarding new MPOS dog and bike-related easement topics...

    Quote Originally Posted by Moe Ped
    For my morning interweb exercise I thought I'd look up and see what MidPen currently has "on the books" in regards to El Sereno; they're planning to open more trails to dog walking and have gone to some lengths to accomplish this. This is the first time I've seen a graphic showing the effect of the easement-only areas of El Sereno and the effect the particular property owner has on access. In this case it's San Jose Water Co:



    SJWCo doesn't seem to mind bikes but is not cool with dogs (think dog poop in SJ drinking water!)

    For those that care this is from el-sereno-dog-access
    UPDATE:
    As of Wednesday evening's vote this week, there has been a new status of the decade-old once-arbitrary change in Midpeninsula Regional Open Space rules on dogs and private property easements on the Montevina Connector, Aquinas Trail, Serenity Trail and the Overlook Trail.

    Here's a verbatim quote from an email I just received:
    We won. I am happy to inform you all that we can now officially, legally, and without guilt, walk our dogs on the El Sereno Open Space once we get to the Bohlman gate. From there to either the Montevina gate or to the Sheldon gate (but not the Loma Vista gate) we can now (finally!) walk our dogs legally!

    On Wednesday night, by a unanimous vote, the board of directors for the Mid-Pen Open Space Preserves finally (after all these years of effort) removed the arbitrary restrictions for allowing dogs on the El Sereno preserve. (They don't even know why dogs were allowed, and then not allowed.)

    It took a lot of years, and community effort on both our Saratoga side and from all our friends on the Los Gatos sides, but we finally got it done.

    I, and all the dogs in this world, would like to thank everyone for all their work on this effort which started for us, in [redacted]s living room almost 5 years ago. I especially want to thank [redacted] for actually attending the meeting
    on Wednesday and reporting back to me. I was unable to be at this final meeting due to fallen trees on my property taking all my attention.

    p.s.; just a couple of notes; in the next few days, they will put stickers on the signs to notify people, and the actual signs will come later. Mid-Pen is only responsible for the land that they own, and since I mentioned that a few portions of the trails are not theirs, they can’t technically say it is OK to use or not use those portions, however none of the owners (mostly SJWC) are interested in keeping people off, and Mid-Pen is still securing the rights to these as we speak.

    As in all areas, they require us to be diligent about the rules, so please keep the dogs on a leash and held tight especially when other people are around or are on horseback or bicycles, and please please please pick up after your pet. Do not leave anything behind! Let’s not make them regret changing the rules.
    Here is a related photo of the dog rules (this one on the Saratoga side of the Overlook Trail (near Overlook Drive, which has very special easement conditions which apparently require a PERMIT for any access on Overlook Drive, even for cyclists and pedestrians, if you can believe that).

    Here is a photo taken on 1/26 on the Saratoga side of the MPOS where they had posted two sheets of paper explaining the pending vote (which didn't last long in the subsequent rain).
    NOTE: One sheet is on the ground to the left of the rearward sign.



    Here is that same set of announcements taken on 1/26 on the Los Gatos side of the MPOS explaining the pending vote and showing the same map of the public and private properties involved.

    Here is the Sheldon Road side of the MPOS at the Los Gatos town end of the Aquinas Trail:

    To be clear, this new rule change doesn't affect the Overlook Trail part of MPOS (which has its own separate dog and easement issues):

    The MPOS signs will all be changed from looking like this sign at Sheldon Road:

    To look like this sign at the Overlook Road side of the Overlook Trail:

    To be sure, the private property and selective easement issues are confusingly complex, but after speaking at length with Tom Lausten, Area Superintendent for Mid Peninsula Open Space (direct line 650-625-6596). and with many people at both Sanborn Park (e.g., Ranger Silva et al.) and the County Trails (e.g., Greg Bringelson et al.) and the County Parks (Antoniette Romeo, John Gallo et al.), I have a pretty good handle on what's public and what's private at all these Saratoga/Los Gatos trailheads from Ranch Lake to Black Road to Sanborn Road to Bohlman Road to Montevina Road to Sheldon Road to Overlook Drive and Overlook Road.

    [So, if you have an on-topic question or concern, just ask, and I'll try to answer it.]

    As just one example of the specific complexities involved, here is a map of the properties and easements involved at the top of Bohlman before the gate (note that there is no public access allowed officially) which was created from direct discussions with Tom Lausten at MPOS (and which explains their long-term trail plan, which solves this problem instantly).


    Unfortunately, based on all the incorrect information I've read in this forum and elsewhere on the net, I probably know the correct access permission and property status of the entire contiguous Saratoga/Los Gatos area involved better than most who have posted here (excepting perhaps Moe Ped but there may be plenty of others who know it as well or better than I do who haven't posted).


    Since there is so much private property (even what we think is Bolhman Road is private even at the paved end!), that's why the Master Plan involves cutting up from Lake Ranch to the Montevina Connector Trail as shown below.

    Let me know if you have any on-topic questions, because we are all constantly learning from each other what the true and correct situation really is and what it will and should be in the future.

    The new news here is that dogs used to be allowed on El Sereno, then (arbitrarily) they were disallowed, and now they're allowed again as of this very week.
    Last edited by woodrock; 02-24-2017 at 01:58 PM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodrock View Post
    ...So, if you have an on-topic question or concern, just ask, and I'll try to answer it...
    Are the San Jose Water Co. areas shown in this map:




    ...included in SB-492?

    Thanks,
    ///Charlie

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    What is the status/plan for Faultline trail? Can/will it ever be built and when?

    What are the easement restrictions issues along the spur between MidPen and Sanborn below Bohlman gate? Aerials show evidence of existing road grading across these regions. It appears easy to stitch this section together (on paper).

    Can you believe I got a $400 dog ticket (smiling ranger lady gave it to me) during the byzantine period after dogs were disallowed? She would not accept my sad story that dogs were allowed and that I did not know the rules changed. My MidPen volunteering days ended there.

    Finally what is status of Stewart Ridge area. There are some very interesting existing trails in them thar hills.....

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    Why don't equestrians have to wear helmets, much more dangerous for them than bike riders.
    I'm sick of all the Irish stereotypes, as soon as I finish this beer I"m punching someone

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skyline35 View Post
    Are the San Jose Water Co. areas shown in this map included in SB-492?
    In short, the answer has to be yes but I was unaware of that bill, per se, so your input is a great example of how we can all, together, piece out the truth (which is never simple).

    I'm basing my yes on the many conversations with MPOS and park personnel, and not with SJWC personnel (whom I haven't spoken to about this topic).

    However, thank you for bringing up that bill (which I was unaware of) because the bill you pointed to fits into everything that MPOS has been telling me for weeks (e.g., from Allen Ishibashi at 650-691-1200x546) who is their real estate guru.

    MPOS constantly tells me they are "in the process of buying" up all the affected lands, or in the process of "perfecting the easements" of the disputed lands, but at the moment, the only gates that actually have easements for cyclists are the Montevina and Sheldon gates.

    It also fits with the fact that SJWC won't protest the dog ruling, since, we can assume, they realize the land will be bought up anyway by MPOS, so, I guess that's why everyone tells me they don't agree, but they don't contest the dog ruling.

    Just as nonsensical as that seems, when you look at the details, the entire MPOS plan seems to be a similar patchwork assemblage of legal issues that everyone seems to just gloss over most of the time.

    For example, while I have seen cyclists and pedestrians on the Overlook Trail without cars being parked in the parking lot, as far as I can tell, the Overlook Trail has no legal access whatsoever to cyclists/pedestrians/equestrians. The only legal access is for vehicles with a permit to drive on Overlook Drive and to park at the Overlook Drive side of the Overlook Trail. It's a one-way-and-back trail with no exit, as far as MPOS can tell me.

    Each MPOS gate however has a different set of legal complications as far as I can tell. For example, the Sheldon Road gate seems to have access to cyclists and to pedestrians, but I can't find any indication that there is access for vehicles (so it's the exact opposite of the situation at the Saratoga-side Overlook Drive gate).

    Worse, the Bohlman gate has no legal access whatsoever - not to pedestrians, equestrians, cyclists, or vehicles. This is why it's so important that we work with MPOS to get access up from Lake Ranch to the Montevina Connector (parallel to the McGill trail but further north toward the top of the El Sereno Ridge which MPOS actually owns most of).

    This is an accurate map of the mess of property lines that exist at the Bohlman gate for example:

    By way of contrast, notice that it's easier for MPOS to erase the property lines coming up from Lake Ranch to the Montevina Connector instead (which is the current but unfunded plan).

    Quote Originally Posted by Tommybees View Post
    What is the status/plan for Faultline trail? Can/will it ever be built and when?
    When I spoke last with Antoniette Romiero, who is a real estate and signage representative for the county parks, she provided a map of the "proposed trails", but said they have no current funding.

    Her map was just for me but it's similar to the well known "master plan".
    Sanborn County Park Trails Master Plan Ch1-3A, & Ch1-3B.

    On that master plan they discuss these two trails (among others):

    1. Faultline Connector (8-10' width, 619 feet, 3% grade)
    2. Faultline Trail (4-6' width, 7,201 feet, 5% grade)


    • Section A (8-10' width, 5,576 feet, 1% grade)
    • Section B (4-6' width, 1,625 feet, 20% grade)
    • Section C (4-6' width, 2,475 feet, 15% grade)

    Note: I have no idea why the numbers don't add up correctly.
    The Bay Area Ridge Trail alignment varies from that described in the 1995 Countywide Trails Master Plan. The route uses the Faultline Trail and trails in El Sereno Open Space Preserve to reach Lexington Reservoir. Originally, this route was proposed to stay within Sanborn County Park traversing the Lyndon Canyon drainage that lies in the southern most region of the park and is above the San Andreas Fault. The route through Lyndon Canyon was abandoned early in the planning process due to geological hazards including the fault, large active landslides and the need for numerous creek and tributary drainage crossings. The alignment along the Faultline Trail and through El Sereno Open Space Preserve will achieve the goals of the Bay Area Ridge Trail and will provide stunning views of the Santa Clara Valley

    While no funding has been allocated for these trails, it's probably safe to assume the main proposed trails of interest in the Lake Ranch & El Sereno geographical area are the one unbuilt trail up from the PG&E service road in Sanborn Park (near Lake Ranch) to the Montevina Connector (at the top of El Sereno Ridge) and another unbuilt trail from the Sycamore Farms property (the abandoned "ghost town" on the west arm of Lexington Reservoir in Lyndon Creek Canyon) up the mountain along what the locals call the "Ghost Trail" to Montevina Road, and then across Montevina Road down into the Trout Creek Canyon Watershed and back up to connect with the Serenity Trail via the existing PG&E service road on the eastern ridge of El Sereno (which then connects to the Aquinas Trail).

    There is also a USGS "earthquake trail" description which you can find here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tommybees View Post
    What are the easement restrictions issues along the spur between MidPen and Sanborn below Bohlman gate? Aerials show evidence of existing road grading across these regions. It appears easy to stitch this section together (on paper).
    From what I know, there are no "easement restrictions" in so much as we, the public, have no easement to access any of that land, if I understand you correctly.

    Specifically, the last hundred feet (or so) of the paved Bohlman is private property with no easement for the public, as is most of the unpaved part, and the entirety of McGill Road both paved and unpaved (which eventually turns into Ambrose Road, which then hits Sanborn Road).

    Ambrose Road has a locked gate in the middle with a PG&E lock on it (there may be other locks) and the Sanborn Park cuts in and out of the dirt road at various points, the rest being private which mean we have no public easement whatsoever.

    It's the same with the McGill connector trail until it enters park property above the transmission tower just inside the park gate. And it's the same lack of public access on the PG&E service road that goes from Sanborn Park at Lake Ranch up to Montevina Road (including the short paved private road at the top called Sherry's Way).

    Quote Originally Posted by Tommybees View Post
    Can you believe I got a $400 dog ticket (smiling ranger lady gave it to me) during the byzantine period after dogs were disallowed? She would not accept my sad story that dogs were allowed and that I did not know the rules changed. My MidPen volunteering days ended there.
    That is an interesting story because you are completely correct that even MPOS management has no idea why dogs were allowed, and then dogs were not allowed. The ruling seems capricious to everyone, and, in fact, when they just now made dogs allowed, it took them five years, but they didn't actually do anything.

    We had many meetings with MPOS (they even came to our homeowners association meetings but they mostly wanted to shill for the $17/hundred-K assessment, which they eventually won).

    Quote Originally Posted by Tommybees View Post
    Finally what is status of Stewart Ridge area. There are some very interesting existing trails in them thar hills.....
    I haven't asked about the Stuart Ridge Trail but it's also covered in that Master Plan, so, it should fit into what Antoniette told me was "unfunded" but "planned".
    Stuart Ridge Trail E (4-6' width, 3,460 feet, 15% grade)

    The Juan Bautista de Anza Northern Recreation Retracement Route was planned to extend through the Stuart Ridge property as identified in the 1995 Countywide Trails Master Plan. This previously planned route (Route R-1A) was also dependent upon other easements or acquisitions. This trails master plan moves the retracement alignment fully into Sanborn County Park and uses planned trails to reach El Sereno Open Space Preserve. This new route should allow the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail to open to the public sooner. The originally planned Northern Recreation Retracement Route (Route R-1A) should be retained to provide other important park connections and trail user functions. At this time, existing deed restrictions limit a portion of this route to dual use for hiking and horseback riding. If opportunities arise to modify these restrictions, the community desires multiple use access along the original Route R-1A.
    Last edited by woodrock; 02-25-2017 at 12:42 PM.

  6. #6
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    After many discussions with Santa Clara County Parks personnel, MPOS rangers and real estate personnel, SJWC real estate personnel, Sanborn Park rangers, PG&E real estate personnel, and both the West Yard and East Yard of the Santa Clara County Roads and Airports Department, this morning I received what I hope is the final emailed update to my detailed probing questions attempting to clarify the various permissions and easements along the various public, semi-public, and private properties encompassed by what we could term the "El Sereno" watershed, bounded by Lyndon Creek and Lake Ranch on one side, and by Wildcat Canyon and Poet's Canyon on the other side, and bounded by Highway 17 on the third side, and roughly by Highway 9 on the fourth side of the rough square with Mount El Sereno roughly in the center.

    Here's a quick summary, where every location seems to have a different answer.

    Dogs on the MPOS Aquinas Trail, Serenity Trail, & the Montevina Connector Trail:
    Dogs are newly allowed, on leash as of Wednesday night last week. Temporary stickers will go up soon, with permanent signs to follow. Owners are responsible to pick up and properly dispose of all waste.

    Dogs on the MPOS Overlook Trail:
    Dogs are allowed, on leash and for once, the signs are correct. Owners are responsible to pick up and properly dispose of all waste.

    Dogs & MPOS-documented trails specifically on SJWC property:
    This is a weird one where SJWC currently won't "police" the Aquinas or Serenity Trail where the trail crosses SJWC property and neither will MPOS, even as SJWC says they don't want to allow either the trespassing or the dogs on their property. Since the lands will eventually be sold to MPOS anyway, the way it was explained to me was that everyone will look the other way, and the main thing that SJWC wants MPOS to do is NOT advertise that the trail crosses their property.

    Serenity Trail crossing over Highway 17:
    There is currently as much as $17M dollars funded to build the underpass that crosses highway 17 for animals and humans in the "vicinity" of Trout Creek. That underpass may happen as far south as Montevina Road near Lexington Reservoir, or Trout Creek further north, or even further north at Wildcat Canyon just south of Poet's Canyon (which is about where The Cats is).

    This underpass will most likely go where Trout Creek currently crosses highway 17, and up Trout Creek as little as possible, and then up the SJWC property under the power lines to the Serenity Trail. They will not use the PG&E spur if they can help it.

    Lake Ranch: Sanborn Road to McGill Road up Ambrose Road:
    There is no legal access whatsoever once you're off park property up to and including almost the entirety of Ambrose Road which (starts at the end of the paved portion of Sanborn Road) and the entirety of McGill Road (which starts at the other end of Ambrose Road), both of which are private roads, off limits to the public.

    Lake Ranch: John Nicholas Trail to PG&E Service Road in Sanborn Park:
    There is no legal access whatsoever outside the park, and within the park the PG&E Service Road, despite being signed otherwise, is off limits to cyclists, pedestrians, equestrians, and vehicles. [It's currently signed off limits to cyclists, but OK for pedestrians and equestrians which I am told by Patrick Silva and Greg Bringleson is "completely wrong".]

    Lake Ranch: John Nicholas Trail to PG&E Service Road to McGill Road:
    There is no legal access whatsoever outside the park, and within the park, once off the John Nicholas Trail, the PG&E Service Road, despite being signed otherwise, is off limits to cyclists, pedestrians, equestrians, and vehicles. [Within the park the PG&E Service Road is currently signed off limits to cyclists, but ok for pedestrians and equestrians which I am told by both Ranger Patrick Silva and trails coordinator Greg Bringleson is "completely wrong".]

    Lake Ranch: John Nicholas Trail to PG&E Service Road to Bohlman Road:
    While the goal is to connect from the PG&E Service Road to the Montevina Connector Trail (basically straight up the mountain), all current private property and keep out signs at the locked PG&E gates and those along the entirety of the PG&E Service Road are correct according to Antoniette Romiero who is only in discussion with the first two property owners about acquiring rights to their land in the future for that connection from Sanborn Park at Lake Ranch to MPOS at the Montevina Connector at the top of El Sereno.

    Lake Ranch: John Nicholas Trail to PG&E Service Road to Montevina Road:
    There is no legal access to anyone except PG&E personnel and PG&E vehicles. Even the county parks, SJWC, and the homeowners themselves are not allowed transit on the PG&E Service Road except on their own property.

    Antoniette Romiero of the county parks real estate department tells me that there are a total of a dozen private property parcels (and one Sanborn Park parcel) that the PG&E Service Road cuts through on its way to Montevina Road. The only easement on that trail is to PG&E for transit and maintenance. According to the PG&E real estate personnel (David Neal) even the landowners themselves are not allowed on any portion of that service road that they themselves do not own, as the service road exists only for PG&E use.

    The paved road at the connection to Montevina Road is called "Sherrys Way" but it is also covered under that PG&E easement since PG&E apparently built the road in 1965 and the private property owners apparently just paved over it for a short section according to PG&E records. Apparently the houses on Sherry's Way have easements for transit only up to their homes and no further according to what I glean from the tax assessor's office of Larry Stone and the county GIS mapping department.

    Sheldon Road ESOP gate to the Aquinas Trail:
    This is a "license" and not an easement, per se, which was agreed to when the Sheldon Road homeowners effectively lost a court case that the cyclists brought. The license is to ESOP and not to the cyclists, where that license does not allow any vehicles but does allow cycles and pedestrians on Sheldon Road during park hours of operation. Interestingly, that license does not allow access on Overlook Road - however that potential prescriptive easement could be perfected if push came to shove.

    Overlook Road ESOP gate to the Loma Vista Trail:
    There is no legal access whatsoever, due to Overlook Road up to and past Sheldon Road being on private property, and also due to this Overlook Road (left side, northern) spur being on private property.

    Overlook Road ESOP gate to the Overlook Trail:
    There is no legal access whatsoever, due to Overlook Road up to and past Sheldon Road being on private property, and also due to this Overlook Road (right side, southern) spur being on private property. This is a rare instance where the signs at the end of the trail indicating it's a dead end are correct.

    Overlook Drive ESOP gate to the Overlook Trail:
    This is a peculiar easement because MPOS actually owns property on Overlook Trail, where that easement is typical of private roads in that it allows MPOS themselves, their "guests", and their utilities (e.g., delivery vehicles, power company, maintenance crews, etc.) access.

    The only legal access to the public is by permit only, where that permit only applies to vehicles (not cycles nor pedestrians) to park at their property at the end of Overlook Drive. That permit effectively makes the public a "guest", where the "burden" on the easement is to the tune of fewer than 30 to 50 people a year who are granted permits.

    Since that permit parking requires the vehicle to get to Overlook Trail by a series of also-private roads, that permit comes with explicit instructions for exactly which roads can be driven on in order to access that parking lot at the end of Overlook Trail from the public road system.

    This makes Overlook Trail a dead-end trail, with only one entrance, which is only open to vehicles, and not to pedestrians nor cyclists. The signs on Overlook Drive which say "No cyclists" are correct, although they should also say "No pedestrians" to be fair.

    Montevina Road ESOP gate to the Montevina Connector Trail:
    This is the only gate that has complete public access up to the gate itself. The county ROW touches the gate. There is no MPOS parking, but since its' a county road, parking along the road is allowed as long as long as the vehicle is legally parked within the county right of way.

    Bohlman Road ESOP gate to the Montevina Connector Trail:
    This gate has no public access whatsoever. MPOS owns the penultimate property that is sandwiched between the last private property next to the gate and the 12 odd-shaped acres (shaped sort of like a huge C with county property and MPOS property in the inside of the C). Since MPOS owns a property on that road, MPOS has the ability to allow "guests", and they are in the process of perfecting the easement to allow the public to cross the two properties.

    Contrary to what I reported before (from a different MPOS official), the county ROW actually extends past the paved portion of Bohlman Road into a short distance around a bend of the unpaved portion of Bohlman Road, leading up to the gate but the county ROW stops far short of the MPOS gate itself.

    Let me know if you have any questions, as none of this is intuitive, but all of it is simple enough once you know it.
    Last edited by woodrock; 02-27-2017 at 02:37 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sfgiantsfan View Post
    Why don't equestrians have to wear helmets, much more dangerous for them than bike riders.
    go back to drinking your beer.

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    "You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to woodrock again."

    Great post, thanks for the info. A lot to chew on here and even a few hopeful signs (although I now know not to get my hopes up about completion times for any of the new connections...)

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    thanks guys

    I think this is good, but it's so confusing, I'm just going to ride Coe. I just point bike and go and hope I brought enough water.
    Lead by my Lefty............... right down the trail, no brakes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ziscwg View Post
    I think this is good, but it's so confusing, I'm just going to ride Coe. I just point bike and go and hope I brought enough water.
    You've reminded me that you can ride on what I call the "game trails" or "side trails" in El Sereno because, AFAIK, MPOS allows people to go "off trail".

    I haven't checked that though, so I should probably call Sanborn Parks (408-867-9959, parkinfo@​prk.sccgov.org) and MPOS (650-691-1200, info@openspace.org) to confirm if we're allowed to go off trail (on side trails).

    Here, for example, is an off trail set of photos taken earlier this year, which show the kinds of myriad trails that exist in the El Sereno Watershed, that I'm talking about.


    These trails are certainly traveled even though I've never seen another person on them (although all my rides start at dawn).


    Certainly you can see that "people" or "animals" have been using the trail by the weathered path easily seen, even as it skirts around tree canopies:


    At other points in these trails, you see evidence of trees that someone cut with saws at some time in the near or distant past:


    Even as I was on the trail, fallen trees block the path every now and then.


    But for the most part, they are a single-track reasonably well traveled mostly well maintained pathway throughout the mountains:


    Although they do have some decidedly cycle-unfriendly "decapitation traps" scattered about every now and then...

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    Regarding whether pedestrians, cyclists, or equestrians are allowed off the trail in MPOS and Sanborn Park, so far MPOS called me back and referred me to section 805.7 of the regulations:
    https://www.openspace.org/sites/defa...egulations.pdf

    805.7 Off Trail Use. No person shall enter or remain in an area off of a designated
    trail, when they are on District Lands in an area or preserve that has been
    designated or signed to prohibit off trail use. Violation of this sub-section is
    punishable as a misdemeanor.
    That actually doesn't answer the question because it doesn't say whether El Sereno is "signed to prohibit off-trail use" (I've rarely seen such a sign.)

    Once I saw a sign at the top of the Montevina Connector where it hit the Aquinas Trail, but that was only up for a short period of time.

    So I'm still waiting for an answer (but I think someone else, was it Moe Ped? who had already researched the off-trail rules for Sanborn and MPOS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by woodrock View Post
    So I'm still waiting for an answer (but I think someone else, was it Moe Ped? who had already researched the off-trail rules for Sanborn and MPOS.
    Here is the verbatim answer from MPOS, which essentially says that you can't ride your bike but you can hike (or walk your bike?) wherever you want as long as it doesn't have sign saying it's a sensitive area.

    Thank you for your inquiry about Section 805.7 in our District Regulations about off-trail use. I spoke with our Area Manager for Skyline, and he responded with:

    “It is a good question. The District does not generally prohibit walking off-trail. Bicycles and horses are always confined to designated trails which are both signed with directional signs and shown on our trail maps. Horses may also use disc lines.

    Some preserves or large areas considered sensitive habitat or that have unique management issues have been closed to all off-trail use including hiking. The most notable is El Corte de Madera where as part of our watershed protection plan, we felt it necessary to close off-trail travel to control the problem of illegal trails that were contributing sentiment to the impaired watershed. In the future, La Honda Creek will also be closed to off-trail hiking to reduce interference with the grazing operation. These designations are made by the Board and reconsidered annually.

    At El Corte de Madera, each access is signed with a red sign with white letters mounted on the post below each regulation sign. It would be hard to miss. If an area is closed to off-trail travel, there will be ample signing. There are also isolated areas within many preserves that are also closed for area restoration and they will also be adequately signed.”

    If you have any additional questions, please let me know.

    Thank you,
    Jordan McDaniel
    Administrative Assistant
    Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District
    330 Distel Circle, Los Altos, CA 94022 P: (650) 691-1200 I F: (650) 691-0485
    Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District | Welcome to your Open Space! I twitter: @mrosd

    I'm currently waiting for a response from Sanborn Parks on the same question.

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    Quote Originally Posted by woodrock View Post
    So I'm still waiting for an answer (but I think someone else, was it Moe Ped? who had already researched the off-trail rules for Sanborn and MPOS.
    I see you got your answer from MidPen; those reg's were my understanding.

    Not sure but my general feeling is that County Parks is a bit more stringent about off trail use; "stay on designated trails" meaning hikers too.

    County's Municode has this about bicycles in parks:

    "Sec. B14-42.2. - Bicycle trails.
    (a)
    Park trails and roads may be used in the following manner consistent with their posted designation.
    (1)
    The Director may establish bicycle trails in County parks.
    (2)
    The Director or designee may temporarily close a bicycle trail in order to ensure the safety of persons or property or to protect the environment.
    (3)
    The Director may temporarily prohibit the operation of bicycles on park roads and trails.
    (b)
    No person shall operate or possess a bicycle within a County park except:
    (1)
    On trails designated as "bicycle trails" or with other similar signage or symbol;
    (2)
    On trails and park roads that are the responsibility of the Department, as long as the operation of bicycles is not prohibited by appropriate signage.
    (c)
    No person shall operate a bicycle in a County park in a manner that is:
    (1)
    Negligent, unsafe or reckless, or in any way that endangers any person or property;
    (2)
    At a speed greater than 15 miles per hour;
    (3)
    At a speed which is greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, a park road or bicycle trial or at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property;
    (4)
    In violation of any applicable provision of the California Vehicle Code.
    (d)
    A person operating a bicycle in a County park shall yield to all equestrians and hikers who are crossing a bicycle trail, highway, street or road. When approaching equestrians or hikers from the rear, the person operating a bicycle shall audibly warn of his or her presence and, when passing, exercise due care.
    (e)
    Pursuant to Vehicle Code § 21212, persons under age 18 operating a bicycle, non-motorized scooter or skateboard must wear an ANSI, Snell, or other state-approved helmet for head protection on bicycle trails, pathways and promenades in County parks.
    (f)
    All persons age 18 years and over operating a bicycle must wear an ANSI, Snell, or other state-approved helmet for head protection on unpaved bicycle trails in County Parks."


    The "operate or possess" language is another way of saying you can't walk your bike off-trail.

    Somewhat related; geocachers can't place geocaches more than 20' from a trail.
    Content here does not officially represent the CA DPR.

    Windows 10, destroying humanity one upgrade at a time.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moe Ped View Post
    I see you got your answer from MidPen; those reg's were my understanding.
    You are always correct in that the MPOS rules are we can hike anywhere not specifically marked as a sensitive area, but we can't ride anywhere but on designated trails.

    The area of interest to me is from the top of Bohlman to Los Gatos in the opposite direction of the Aquinas Trail. That is, the Aquinas trail goes sort of south along the rideline before it plummets eastward down to Sheldon Road but I'm interested in the part off of Aquinas that doesn't exist, which heads north toward Saratoga, and then plummets down to Saratoga connecting at where Quito Road hits Pollard Road.

    There's no trail there, but it's a wonderful hike along the many game trails and creek bed of whatever the name of that creek is that starts at the top of El Sereno and crosses Quito Road just east of the Pollard Road intersection.

    I even ran into a pot farm encampment there, complete with a scale and car batteries and phone chargers and sleeping bags and bags of fertilizers and a makeshift dam and irrigation tubing, etc., (nobody was home).

    On offtrail hiking, I got another update today from MPOS specifically about El Sereno regarding sensitive areas when I asked if there were any current sensitive areas at this time.

    Thank you for the specific question about off-trail hiking in El Sereno. I spoke with the Area Manager for Foothills, and he responded with:

    "The District does not encourage off trail hiking in El Sereno for safety reasons including possible marijuana cultivation activities. I cannot comment on creek hiking outside of the preserve.
    So they won't say specifically is there are any sensitive areas around El Sereno, but currently I don't see any signs posted of sensitive areas in El Sereno other than on a few of the switchbacks where they don't want people taking shortcuts.

    Also near the connection of the Aquinas Trail and the Montevina Connector Trail was a sign for a while, with orange fencing, saying to keep out, but they removed that a few months ago (I presume the mountain lion had cubs again).

    Quote Originally Posted by Moe Ped View Post
    Not sure but my general feeling is that County Parks is a bit more stringent about off trail use; "stay on designated trails" meaning hikers too.
    I think you are correct but I have not gotten a ranger to call me back yet or email me back yet to confirm. Maybe I need to call Greg Bringelson instead?

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    I found out why I wasn't getting any response from the Senior Ranger Patrick Silva. He's no longer at Sanborn Park.

    This is what the listing looks like for the Sanborn Park web page:
    Park Office (408) 867-9959 parkinfo@?prk.sccgov.org
    Senior Park Ranger : Patrick Silva (669) 221-0070 Patrick.silva@prk.sccgov.org
    Senior Park Maintenance Worker : Jason Ebling (408) 314-5186 jason.ebling@prk.sccgov.org
    Well, it turns out that both those guys no longer work there, so I guess they don't update their web page all that often.

  16. #16
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    Since I wasn't getting any satisfaction in the mails, 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. Who would have known!

    The more I look at this property stuff, the more I realize nothing is obvious and the rules on everything is different.

    No two gates or trails seem to have the same owner, easement, and rules.

    Who knew that it's the SJWC who is responsible, according to him, for the maintenance of the spur from Lake Ranch to Black Road. So the SJWC is who we would need to petition to fix the trail that goes from Lake Ranch to Black Road.

    It turns out that the park is only responsible for the spur from Lake Ranch to Sanborn Road, where, according to Ranger Rodriguez, the park is already working on clearing up the landslide that I first reported the morning after it happened overnight, on January 12th.

    He said they are bringing the heavy equipment up from Sanborn Road, which makes sense.

    As for the third vehicle-passable dirt path coming out of Lake Ranch, PG&E is responsible for maintaining the spur that goes from Lake Ranch to Montevina Road, but the ranger 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 and he said he hasn't been up to Lake Ranch since the landslides prevented driving up there

    .Pssst: If you want to fish in the lake without a permit, now is the time!

    LeRoy also told me wisfully that Caltrans is trying to grab an easement from the parks near where the road collapsed near Las Cumbres (an area I don't know well). Apparently Caltrans is presenting the parks with a proposal soon where the parks isn't all that happy about losing their land for residents of Santa Cruz County.

    Does anyone know what area this is that he's talking about where SCC has a park near the collapse that people wanting to go into Santa Cruz County can cut through the park?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moe Ped View Post
    At a speed greater than 15 miles per hour;
    I usually go out at daybreak, but yesterday I was out later in the morning, where I saw for the first time a MPOS white pickup with a radar gun pointing at the downhill at St. Joseph's Hill.

    I asked and the ranger said he was enforcing the 15 MPH limit. The good news is that everyone seemed to be telling everyone else so nobody should have been caught unaware.

  18. #18
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    Update today from the Mercury News on the property Mid Penn owns at the end of Overlook Trail at the Overlook Drive side of the trail.

    Open space district bought $1 million Los Gatos home – and now will demolish it
    The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, a government agency based in Los Altos, bought the 1,440-square foot, 2-bedroom home with vinyl floors and a rickety deck at 16075 Overlook Drive in the hills east of downtown Los Gatos for $950,000. It spent another $93,429 fixing the deck and support piers.


    When its board purchased the Los Gatos home from the previous owners, Phil and Jean Hayes of Santa Cruz County, the district owned nine homes. Today it owns 34. Of those, 15 are rented by rangers and other staff and 18 are rented to the public at market rates, and one is set for demolition.


    Employee rent ranges from $484 for a two-bedroom home on La Honda Road in La Honda to $2,200 a month for a three-bedroom residence on Alpine Road in Portola Valley. Public rents range from $1,028 a month for a two-bedroom on Purisima Creek Road in Half Moon Bay to $3,969 for a three-bedroom on Lobitos Creek Road in Half Moon Bay. Most of the homes are in rural areas.


    When the Los Gatos hills home is bulldozed in a few months, the suddenly clear 1.5 acres on which it sits will offer sweeping views, Abbors said. But Hinkle, of the taxpayers association, said the agency could recoup all the money it has spent there so far simply by selling the land and the home, as-is. He said the district shouldn’t be buying houses at all.


    Abbors said that the controversy over the original purchase had an impact. Since 2005, the board, made up of seven elected members, has purchased only three homes on parcels of less than 40 acres, all of which were needed to provide public access to district preserves like Mount Umunhum, Russian Ridge and La Honda.







  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodrock View Post
    LeRoy also told me wisfully that Caltrans is trying to grab an easement from the parks near where the road collapsed near Las Cumbres (an area I don't know well). Apparently Caltrans is presenting the parks with a proposal soon where the parks isn't all that happy about losing their land for residents of Santa Cruz County.

    Does anyone know what area this is that he's talking about where SCC has a park near the collapse that people wanting to go into Santa Cruz County can cut through the park?
    Sorry I didn't see this earlier. I'm 95% sure this is the big slide on Skyline (highway 35) north of Las Cumbres. Earlier this year there were surveyor marks put up on the Skyline trail in Sanborn just south of the slide. It looked like they were considering moving the road to the east and would be taking park property including the trail which is close to the road there.

    But the work on the slide has been on going and it's all on the west side of skyline road, around the actual slide. So I think idea of taking the park land and moving the road was discarded.

    There's another road slide out (half a lane) closer to Las Cumbres, at the Sunnyvale Mtn trailhead. They scraped out about 15-20' of road side on the bank opposite the slide. There's an unofficial trail just above that but it wasn't endangered. (the unofficial trail is useful to access Sunnyvale Mtn trailhead during the week when the road construction people have Skyline closed).

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