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WHAT YOU CAN DO TO OPEN THE STOWE TRAIL (SYCAMORE CANYON) PDF Print E-mail

We've been asked by a few of you, "What can I do about the closure of the trail in Sycamore Canyon?" Well after a couple months of meetings with various officials and the fine work of a SDMBA volunteer who happens to be an attorney we've come up with what we think is the best plan of action for now. If something better comes up we'll certainly explore that option too.

We are asking you to write a letter of support for a plan here in the county. A local historic trial called the Stowe Trail that crosses the far edge of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar has come under scrutiny by the Marine Corps. They are patrolling their borders and may begin to cite trail users for trespassing. Our County Supervisor, Dianne Jacob has been working with the Corps for the last 10+ years to make a deal to get access for recreational users. We've hit a snag now and we feel it's time to kick it up higher. The Supervisor is heading to Washington D.C. in May and would like as many letters of support for her plan as possible. I've included the SDMBA's letter of support and the addresses of the generals to whom we're trying to get our message across. I've also included the email for Ms. Jacob's staff member who is collecting the letters.

Just a little house keeping. It's proper to address your letters using the full titles of the individuals addressed. They worked hard serving our country to get that title so their rank doesn't deserve to be skipped or abbreviated. Also, I'm respectfully asking that we stay on point here. We're talking about the Stowe Trail. Not Switchbacks or other trails that have crept into the base over the years. The Stowe was there before the land was even military so we're hoping that carries some weight. This is a win-win for the people and the Marine Corps. This part of the base is of little strategic importance to the base and is a pain to patrol. They don't need it and we'd like to have legal access to it.

Thank you in advance for your polite and respectful letters of support.

Brigadier General Vincent A. Coglianese
Marine Corps Installations West
P.O. Box 555200
Camp Pendleton, CA 92055-5200

And

Major General James A. Kessler
Assistant Deputy Commandant,
Installations and Logistics (Facilities)
3000 Marine Corps Pentagon
Room 2E204
Washington, D.C. 20350-3000

Please make sure to sign your letters. So that the County can also know how many letters are being sent to the Marines, when complete please send copies of your signed letters and mail, email or fax them to Supervisor Jacob's office care of  Janice Downs.

Janice Downs
Policy Advisor
1600 Pacific Highway, Rm 335
San Diego, CA 92101

The fax# 619-696-7253

From the County: We are proposing a license agreement that will authorize public use of the historic Stowe Trail that was originally established in the 1800’s and has been used by the public for decades. This trail is a major link between Goodan Ranch and Sycamore Canyon Preserve to the north and Mission Trails Regional Park and Santee Lakes to the South. The total area is 5.178 acres and approximately 3.56 miles long by 12 feet wide over the existing trail corridor on the eastern edge of MCAS Miramar.

This proposed license agreement that we are requesting support for:

1) authorizes non-motorized public use, during daylight hours, of the existing Stowe Trail alignment as shown on Exhibit A 2) provides improved security for MCAS by discouraging access to existing cross-trails through County’s installation of signage and fencing 3) indemnifies the federal government against claims for injury to trail users 4) transfers maintenance responsibilities of the trail to the County 5) serves both the military community and San Diego County at large by providing regional connectivity to the County’s Sycamore Canyon/Goodan Ranch Preserve, the Trans County Regional Trail, and the City of Poway to the north; to the unincorporated Community of Lakeside to the east; and to the City of San Diego’s Mission Trails Regional Park, the San Diego River Regional Trail to south; and to the adjacent City of Santee and Santee Lakes.

The letter SDMBA sent:

Sir, I am writing today on behalf of the San Diego Mountain Biking Association. We are a non-profit group that helps design, build and maintain trails throughout the County of San Diego. We represent the interests of and advocate for off-road bicycle enthusiasts (mountain bikers.) The SDMBA supports the continued efforts of County of San Diego Supervisor Dianne Jacob and the County of San Diego to work with the Marine Corps to open the historic Stowe Trail for safe and sustainable recreational use. The historic Stowe Trail travels through one of the only remaining north/south undeveloped canyons near the San Diego core. As such it can provide a natural surface corridor connecting open space to the north, such as Sycamore Canyon/Goodan Ranch Open Space Preserves in the Poway area with San Diego's East Elliot area and Mission Trails Regional Park. It provides an important link for bikers, hikers and equestrians between the City of Poway and the City of Santee. It can connect the Trans County Trail with the San Diego River Park Trail and can connect the future City of San Diego West Sycamore Park with its parent Mission Trails Regional Park. The City of Santee is a part owner of Goodan Ranch and the Stowe Trail makes it possible for the citizens of the City to visit the park that they partially own. We believe, as the County does, that selling the land or providing an easement over the land the historic Stowe Trail is on is a win-win for the Marine Corps and the citizens of San Diego County. We are familiar with the history of the negotiations that have taken place over the last decade and hope that you can help get them back on track. We believe that responsible use drives out irresponsible abuse. By having a continued presence of responsible recreational users on the far eastern borders of the base we can help provide added security for Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. When there is a presence of responsible users it deters vandalism, transient encampments, and other even less desirable elements. We support the County’s proposed solutions in the following order: 1) MCAS Miramar works to complete the original County and Marine Corps goal and transfers fee title of the trail and MCAS land to the eastern base boundary (approximately 284 acres) to the County of San Diego. 2) MCAS Miramar grants a trail easement to the County of San Diego. 3) MCAS Miramar grants a license to the County of San Diego allowing public use of the trail. We are certain that a mutually beneficial agreement can be achieved and look forward to working with the Marine Corps once the Historic Stowe Trail is legally open to the use of the public. Very truly yours.

 

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