By ,
Public Access Program Manager

Since its founding in 1977, POST has worked to safeguard open spaces on the Peninsula and in the South Bay, expanding our network of protected lands. A little more than four decades into this work, we’ve have saved more than 79,000 of land – open spaces that are now yours to explore.

As POST’s public access program manager, part of my job is to lead the organization’s efforts in planning regional trails — long distance routes that connect multiple open spaces and unite our network of protected land. It is deeply gratifying work as, for me, I see trails as the nexus between our protected lands and the personal connections we make with it. They are the avenues in which we create deep, meaningful relationships with our stunning landscape and nurture our physical and emotional wellbeing.

We are currently working to support the completion of five regional trails on the Peninsula and in the South Bay. I’m excited to share some more details on these trails, their history and POST’s involvement in these projects. There’s a lot to be excited about.

Here are the five regional trails we are currently working to help complete:

 

Three hikers walk a trail on Mindego Hill.

1. Bay Area Ridge Trail

Overview: The Bay Area Ridge Trail encircles the entire Bay Area, connecting the high points and ridges. 380 miles exist now and, once complete, it will circumnavigate the entire Bay Area.

Distance once complete: 550 miles

Percent complete: 68%

Managing agency: There is a consortium of land management agencies in all nine Bay Area counties working to complete this trail, and the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council is the group leading the charge to secure this trail.

POST’s involvement: POST has protected thousands of acres of ridgeline in the Santa Cruz Mountains that host 20-miles of the Bay Area Ridge Trail. A few examples include Russian Ridge, the Phelger Estate (future connection) and Windy Hill (our first acquisition) just to name a few. As with each of these projects, we continue to look for opportunities in our working area to support the completion of this regional trail.

 

A trail on a hill with trees in the distance.

2. Bay to Sea Trail

Overview: The vision for the Bay to Sea Trail is to create a continuous trail experience from the San Francisco Bay across the Peninsula to the Pacific Ocean. Once complete, this multi use trail — for walkers, hikers, bikers and equestrians — will also connect the urban areas of East Palo Alto, North Fair Oaks and Redwood City with the open spaces in the Santa Cruz Mountains and support regional connectivity by connecting to four other regional trail networks.

Distance once complete: 40 miles

Percent complete: The trail alignment is still very conceptual, however, it is estimated as much as 46% may be routed on existing trails.

Managing agency: Eleven public agencies, municipalities and private nonprofit organizations are supporting this vision. Much of the trail will cross POST-protected Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve, now managed by the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District. This trail is in the early stages so please stay tuned to learn more.  

POST’s involvement: POST is actively working to complete this trail by acquiring land to close trail gaps, leading agency collaboration and supporting the planning of critical urban trail connections through communities like Redwood City, North Fair Oaks and East Palo Alto.

 

View of the beach from atop a cliff at Cowell Ranch.

3. California Coastal Trail

Overview: Once complete, the California State Coastal Trail will parallel the state’s entire coastline.

Distance once complete: 1,200 miles

Percent complete: 50% in San Mateo County

Managing agency: The overall vision and implementation of this trail is led by the California Coastal Conservancy, a non-regulatory agency that works to protect the state’s coastal resources. However, numerous public agencies, such as California State Parks and the City of Half Moon Bay, manage segments of the trail in San Mateo County.

POST’s involvement: POST has protected numerous properties on the San Mateo coast that now support the California Coastal Trail, most notably Pillar Point, Wavecrest, Cowell Ranch and Pigeon Point. Most recently, we safeguarded Tunitas Creek Beach, which offers the potential to close a gap in the trail south of Half Moon Bay.

 

The sun sets over a multi-use trail on Coyote Creek.

4. Coyote Creek Trail

Overview: San Jose’s Coyote Creek Trail extends from the San Francisco Bay to the city’s southern boundary and then into Santa Clara County-managed land, winding its way through the heart of Coyote Valley.

Distance once complete: 30 miles

Percent complete: 70%

Managing agency: The City of San Jose Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department and Santa Clara County Parks and Recreation Department manage this trail.

POST’s involvement: Through funding and community outreach support, POST will support the development of the final undeveloped segments of this trail. POST’s close partnership with the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority to protect critical wildlife habitat in Coyote Valley will also safeguard the high-quality trail experience in the southern portion of the route.

 

A hiker looks up at towering redwoods.

5. Long Ridge to Pomponio Trail

Overview: The Long Ridge to Pomponio Trail would connect the ridgeline of the Santa Cruz Mountains with the Pacific Ocean at Pomponio State Beach.

Distance once complete: 25 miles

Percent complete: 56%

Managing agency: Like many of these regional trails, a number of organizations and public agencies would come together to manage this trail. During this current planning phase, POST is spearheading this effort.

POST’s Involvement: For more than a decade, POST has had a vision for this regional trail connection pursuing land and trail easement acquisitions along the way.

 

Learn more about our public access program here.

About Post

Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) protects open space on the Peninsula and in the South Bay for the benefit of all. Since its founding in 1977, POST has been responsible for saving more than 79,000 acres as permanently protected land in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. Learn more

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